(via media/anthropology and Open Access Anthropology blog) Where can I publish my papers online? A few weeks ago, I wrote about ResearchGATE and other initiatives. Now, SSOAR - the Social Science Open Access Repository is online. It is according to Kerim Friedman from the Open Access Anthropology blog, “the first general Social Science Open Access repository we’ve found".
The repository is multilingual with texts in English, Spanish, German, Polish and many other languages. There are already around 5000 papers available, around 84 of them are listed under Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology (84), whille searching for anthropology gives 96 hits.
SSOAR’s goal is to provide free electronic access to journal article preprints and postprints. Master’s theses are not included here, it seems. You can deposit the following types of documents:
Copyright permitting, you can deposit in SSOAR all quality-assured scholarly contributions which have already been published or have been accepted for publication in journals, collective volumes or journal-like series.
Journal contributions include scholarly articles, reviews, interviews and conference proceedings. By collective volumes we mean all text compilations such as handbooks, conference readers or proceedings. Contributions such as research reports, discussion papers and working papers from, for example, institutes’ series or research networks can also be deposited in SSOAR, and are, indeed, becoming increasingly significant. Such contributions can be monographic in nature or comprise several documents. Actual monographs (books, dissertations) may also be deposited, ideally in full.
SSOAR is a German initiative, “operated jointly by the Center for Digital Systems, the Institute of Qualitative Research (both are part of the Freie Universitaet Berlin), and by GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Open Access Anthropology gives an overview over other repositories.
Dai Cooper’s Anthropology Song has fascinated people all over the world. Around
10 000 39 000 people have seen the video on YouTube so far, it was sent around via facebook, twitter, mailing lists, and was already shown in many anthropology classes. Maybe nobody has better explained what anthropology is all about.
I got curious and asked her if I may interview her for antropologi.info. I’m glad, Dai Cooper, who is now doing a Masters in Anthropology at University of Toronto in Canada, said yes. So here is the (email-) interview:
- What a great song! Sounds like you’re a professional musician, do you sing in a band?
- Hah far from it! I bought my guitar for $60 at a second-hand shop in Vancouver about two years ago and taught myself to play a little, mostly watching YouTube tutorials and with occasional insight from guitar-playing friends. I’ve always loved singing just as an expression of self. I think everyone can sing, and it’s great when people feel empowered enough to do so. But I don’t think you need to be professional to create or appreciate music.
- How did you get the idea to writing this song AND uploading it to YouTube?
- I just started grad school in a new city, and to be honest, I came up with the first two verses of this song one morning after a long night of writing and little sleep. I was kinda charged up (and a tiny bit caffeinated), it was just before class, and the words just came to me. I got all excited and started playing around on the guitar with them. The tune got stuck in my head, and it quickly became almost an obsession to write down and work out all the new lines. I wanted to be able to express all the reasons why I love and am inspired by Anthropology. A day and a half later I sat down in my room in my new little apartment and turned on the camcorder.
- YouTube just seemed like the best way to make that expression of awesomeness available to whoever was interested in seeing it; I originally wrote it with mostly my family and my Anthro professors and friends from my alma mater back at University of British Columbia (UBC) in mind, but it seems to have really resonated with a lot of people beyond that.
- Why do you address your parents in the song?
- I love my parents, and they’re definitely the people who have supported me the most through my education. They always pay really close attention to the things I’m passionate about, and I’m really grateful for that. At the same time, it’s challenged me to ask myself some of the same questions that they’ve had so what exactly is Anthropology, anyway? Why are you studying it again? and I think in many ways the song addresses some of those same questions. So the song is sincerely dedicated to them.
- I also think it adds a humorous element to frame the song in a way that insinuates coming out as an anthropologist to your family having to dispel some misconceptions and explain some new ways of thinking.
- What kind of reactions did you get?
- Really inspirational ones! I was just expressing happiness and inspiration through the song, and apparently that’s made a lot of other people happy and inspired too, which is wonderful. Anthropology to me is all about human connexions, and it’s been so amazing to feel like people from all over the world have been feeling those connexions with each other through the song. I’ve had profs in my new Toronto department come up to me and exclaim, you’re the girl on YouTube! So apparently it’s a great way to meet people, too! In addition to strangers, I’ve also heard a lot of positive comments from people back home; old friends and people in my old department, who I felt really close to, and its great to renew those links as well.
- It sounds that you could be invited to sing your song at conferences. What do you think?
- Hah actually several people have suggested that by now. I’d be super flattered if that happened! I did actually offer to play it at the AAA conference in December, it was half-joking, because I don’t think they’d take me up on it - but I’d just love to share the song and the sentiments behind it with anyone who likes it. It makes me happy.
- More ideas concerning music in anthropology, Public anthropology, and web 2.0?
- It’s interesting that you ask that actually, because one of the (many) inspirations that led up to me writing the song was watching Michael Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, which is all about web 2.0 and thinking about internet forums as social spaces that allow people to connect and communicate in new ways. I think an anthropology of those networks and online spaces is something were hopefully going to see much more of in the near future, as it’s a fascinating subject.
- In maybe a similar way, music is probably one of the more powerful (and older) ways people communicate their ideas and humanity across culture and space and time as well. I know there’s a whole field of study called ethnomusicology that I don’t know much about, but it sounds like it would be great to write a song about
- Your interestes in anthropology and research plans?
- My own research throughout my undergrad came to focus on the production and significance of social spaces. I’ve also been focusing largely on an indigenous group called the Toba in northern Argentina, and especially their movements toward urbanization in barrios or shantytowns surrounding the big cities, where I actually got to spend some time living last summer. If anything has taught me about love, humility, poverty, generousity, and my own life here in Canada, it’s been that experience. I’m hoping to return there to conduct some fieldwork for my Master’s as well.
- Why did you choose to study anthropology?
- I think a lot of the reasons why I study Anthropology now come out in the song: seeking peoples stories, rethinking perspectives, and a common humanity. But as far as how did I get started, probably 95% of the credit goes to my first-year introductory anthropology professor back at University of British Columbia (UBC), Gaston Gordillo (who later became my advisor there), who is just an amazing person, passionate about the discipline and students and encouraging people to (un)think, and who continues to inspire me to this day especially as I’m now a teaching assistant (TA) and taking on that educational role myself, I find myself engaging my own students in many ways that I learned from him.
- And now you’re - according to your song - soon on the way to Vietnam and Peru?
- To be completely honest, Vietnam rhymes with Barack Obamas mom But I’m glad it does, because one of my best friends is from there, and I actually would love to experience Vietnam. Peru I love. It’s a land of mystery to many, and also includes many stereotypes, but it has loved and challenged and embraced me in my travels through many highs and lows in my life. Perú te amo.
Thanks a lot for the interview!
UPDATE 24.10.09: Dai Cooper was asked to play this song at the AAA meeting in December!
UPDATE 27.10.09: Good question by a PhD student:
I wonder if a second part to this song isn’t needed? One that takes on board the critiques that have been written about anthropology and the types of knowledge that we produce about people. I am (…) aware of the problems of our discipline and having worked with people who have had to and who continue to live in the shadows of anthropological knowledge about them, I wonder if you don’t gloss over that slightly.
That’s awesome and possibly the best constructive critique that’s been said. I agree that, being from a pretty personal perspective, the song really romanticizes the discipline, and you’re right, the effects of the production and dissemination of anthropological knowledge are more complex. If you want to nurture a creative streak, you’re MORE than welcome to write a new verse (as it says in the comments ^^) and post it as a video response, that’d be AWESOME!
How do people in Britain use the internet? How do they behave online? The new Digital Anthropology Report. The Six Tribes of Homo Digitalis gives some answers.
The British communication company Talk Talk sent researchers from the University of Kent into the homes of people around the UK to ask them questions about their attitudes towards digital technology and to watch them use it. They also commissioned anthropology professor David Zeitlyn to analyse the findings.
They found that “homo digitalis” consists of Six Tribes with very different attitudes, usage patterns and modes of behaviour. Some of these tribes have embraced technology and put it at the centre of their lives. For other tribes, “the internet” is a rather frightening jungle.
The E-ager Beavers are the largest tribe by quite a distance, with 29% of the UK adult population. They use the internet heavily, but they are more passive users. They lack the confidence or the drive to get involved with uploading their own content or producing their own blogs.
The Timid Technophobes are the second largest group (23%). They have only limited internet skills and will only use it when they really need to. They still prefer to use pen and paper and prefer to send and receive letters. They don’t read blogs and are not interested in facebook either.
The tribe of the Digital Extroverts (9%) consists of people who are “always-on". They are active bloggers, use twitter, flickr etc. “Regularly updating their online profile is as much a part of their daily routine as eating.” The ability to interconnect and share data is a prerequisite.
According to Zeitlyn, your willingness to embrace technology and integrate it into your life will dictate your success in life far more than your social class will. As class structures change quickly, he writes in his analysis, the extent to which people use social networking and promote themselves online will become more important in determining their careers than what school or university they went to.
>> read the whole report (nice presentation with quiz and videos!)
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) and their publisher Wiley-Blackwell will be offering two months of free access to 10+ years of Anthrosource content during November and December 2009.
As a preview they invite us to view the Top 25 Anthrosource Articles of 2009 free of charge according to the AAA blog.
“It is our hope that this limited-time offer will encourage students and researchers from across the disciplines to discover anthropology’s rich legacy of scholarship as the study of humankind", the AAA writes.
The list of the Top 25 articles is interesting in itself. Here we find much stuff about islam, terrorism, genitical cutting, neoliberalism and human rights. A quite political list, in other words.
The number one hit is Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others by Lila Abu-Lughod. The article was written in 2002 and “explores the ethics of the current ‘War on Terrorism’, asking whether anthropology, the discipline devoted to understanding and dealing with cultural difference, can provide us with critical purchase on the justifications made for American intervention in Afghanistan in terms of liberating, or saving, Afghan women".
Number 7 hit is by the way Working for the Federal Government: Anthropology Careers by Shirley J. Fiske that also addresses the topic military anthropology.
A very exciting list, I’d love to start reading right away. A great idea to showcase what’s happening within anthropology. Let’s hope this will be a permanent offer!
The Swat Pathan have been the subject of classic ethnographies in anthropology for many years. Now they are at the centre of a bigger battle for control between Taliban, Pakistan, the U.S. etc. - a conflict that forced more than one million people to flee their homes.
What, if anything, can anthropologists contribute to understand and ameliorate the conflicts that rage in this region that in December 2008 was captured by the Taliban? In an interview with Gustaaf Houtman in the new issue of Anthropology Today, anthropologist Akbar Ahmed looks at the latest developments among the Swat Pathan.
He says, anthropologists can help in two ways - one of them is visiting Swat:
Anthropology can help on two levels. Anthropologists can use the internet, broadcast media and the press – and conferences – to argue for a strong, clean judicial and administrative structure in Swat. They can use their understanding of Swat social structure and history to explain why it collapsed and what can be done to replace it. They must not underestimate the power of outside comment on the bureaucrats and politicians of Islamabad. To their own home audiences, they can explain the significance of Swat in the larger context of Af-Pak (Afghanistan-Pakistan).
On another level, anthropologists can help by visiting Swat, in the safe areas of course, and arranging for colleagues and students to help in the reconstruction of the educational system. Girls’ schools in particular need to be rebuilt and then organized. A visit to Swat will thus not only provide moral satisfaction but also the promise of advancing anthropological knowledge of a fascinating area.
“Swat was an anthropologist’s paradise waiting to be discovered when Fredrik Barth first went there to conduct fieldwork in the 1950s", he says. “It was a remote, tiny and scenic state up in the foothills of the Himalayas in north Pakistan":
Here, the legendary Wali of Swat ruled over fiercely independent tribesmen who lived according to custom and tradition. Following his fieldwork, Barth wrote Political leadership among Swat Pathans (summary), published in 1959. In it he analysed the political alliances and networks around ‘the Pakhtun chief, with his following, and the Saint with his following’ (ibid.: 4). The book became an instant classic in the discipline and established Barth as a towering figure in it.
When Akbar Ahmed registered for a PhD in anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1973 he read Barth’s work on Swat “with admiration". But Barths “neat theoretical constructions” did not match the Swat society that he knew through his wife Zeenat, who was from Swat, so he went on to research and write Millennium and charisma among Pathans: A critical essay in social anthropology that was published in 1976.
Since then many articles and several books have been written about Swat. One of the two he mentions is written by a native female anthropologist of Swat Amineh Ahmed (his daughter actually). Her book “Sorrow and Joy among Muslim Women The Pukhtun’s of Northern Pakistan” gives us, he says, “fascinating insights normally denied to men".
How has Swat changed from the time of Barth, Gustaaf Houtman asks. Akbar Ahmed answers:
Barth wrote over half a century ago. Swat then had a clear-cut political structure in place: the central authority of the Wali in alliance with the powerful Khans. Religious clerics worked for the Wali in his mosques or were hired locally by the Khans. There was little challenge to the Wali’s rule. He could impose his will on the state. He introduced compulsory education for both boys and girls. He invited Catholic nuns to open a girls’ school and gave them protection. He encouraged archaeologists to come and dig for ancient Greek and Buddhist statues and stupas. The magnificent statue of Buddha at the entrance of Swat came to symbolize the spirit of the state and its ruler.
I was fortunate in having visited Swat during the rule of the Wali, after he was removed and after his death. Over the last few decades I have seen a steady decline. The Wali’s rule was replaced by officials of the government of Pakistan. Pakistani bureaucracy became increasingly known for its incompetence and corruption. A disputed case between two parties which would have normally taken a couple of hours in the Wali’s courts would now drag on for years. The Khans too began to leave Swat for the bigger cities of Pakistan. Absentee landlords soon found their authority challenged. Their relationship with their tenants began to break down.
Why could this happen. Into the vacuum created by the disappearance of the Wali and the fading of the Khans stepped the religious clerics, he explains:
Mullah Fazlullah grew in importance over the years and gained notoriety in Pakistan through his FM radio station: to Swatis he came to be known as ‘Radio Mullah’. He thundered against the corruption and incompetence of the administration. He incited tenants against the Khans and their un-Islamic ways. He said he would bring the Sharia or Islamic law which would ensure justice and law and order for ordinary people. Swatis flocked to the Mullah’s standard. Women gave him their jewellery, with prayers that he succeed in his mission.
The Taliban now saw Swat as a safe haven and flocked to it. They came from the tribal areas in Pakistan and beyond. Soon Swatis were getting a taste of life under the Taliban. Over 200 girls’ schools were closed. The Wali’s special projects, the convent and statue of Buddha at the entrance to the state, became targets for Taliban wrath. The Taliban now felt confident enough to march into neighbouring Buner. They were within striking distance of Islamabad, the capital of a nuclear state.
The Pakistani military was alarmed, as was the US administration. The Pakistani army launched a military operation and Washington promised financial and military aid. As a result almost the entire population of Swat fled to neighbouring districts in the south. Swat was then sealed off from the outside world and an ominous silence descended upon it. Reports suggested that Swat society was being turned upside down.
Swat has seen the dramatic decline and collapse of all the pillars of authority over the last decades. Today’s Swat has neither the authority of the Wali nor that of the central government that replaced it, nor of the Khans. The Taliban, who dominated Swat for a few months, giving a taste of their brutal administration, have also been toppled. The only authority in Swat today is the army. There are already rumours of mass graves and extra-judicial killings in Swat. Some blame the Taliban, others the army. Neither is popular.
This is only an excerpt of the interview.
Unfortunately it is available online for subscribers only. Just found out (via media/anthropology) that it is a free article. Read Swat in the eye of the storm: Interview with Akbar Ahmed here.
Anthropology Today has by the way started up at forum for readers and authors at http://anthropologytoday.ning.com/ And the Swat Pathans have their own Facebook group - a global network “to unite against the stereotypical portrayal of Swatian and to let the world know the true beauty and harmony of the people and area".
Akbar Ahmed is an active blogger. He runs his own blog called Latest News and Commentary by Akbar Ahmed and has also started a (group) blog about his recent project Journey Into America, a new book and film, an anthropological study of American identity as seen through the eyes of Americans – both Muslim and non- Muslim (is also reviewed in Anthropology Today).
In my archive, I found also an interview with anthropologist Saadia Toor about the situation in Swat.
My most recent post Army-Anthropologists call Afghans “Savages” received a lot attention, so it might be necessary to write a new post after the debates in the comment field and via email.
It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald reporter misunderstood. The part about the The Zadran who are called “utter savages” and “great robbers” who live in a country that was “a refuge for bad characters” is not written by contemporary Human Terrain Team (HTT) army anthropologists. The quote is 90 years old!
As I was told, the HTT-report was quoting an old British ethnography “to highlight the terrible quality of historical documents on the area".
If you google “Zadran” and “utter savages”, Google Book Search directs you to Historical and political gazetteer of Afghanistan Volume 6
by India. Army. General Staff Branch, Ludwig W. Adamec (1985).
Adamec compiled his data from a 1919 British ethnographic survey.
The HTT-report quoted this book extensively - but as I was told - in order to question such notions as the Zadrans as savages.
I hope this is correct. For there are other researchers who use the same sources less critically.
Googling “Zadran” and “Savages” directed me also a a kind of fact sheet about the Zadranby the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies, Naval Postgraduate School that states:
They are probably a very small tribe living in very small villages; some of them cultivate the little land they have, but they appear chiefly to depend on their flocks for subsistence. They live, some in houses and some in tents. It was said that they are “great robbers”, and their country was formerly refuge for “bad characters”.
Here, these 90 years old characteristics are presented as facts.
What kind of institution is the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies?
Here is an extract from their self-description:
The Program for Culture & Conflict Studies (CCS) conducts research in support of United States initiatives in Afghanistan. Our research provides comprehensive assessments of provincial and district tribal and clan networks in Afghanistan, anthropological assessments of Afghan villages, and assessments of the operational culture of Afghan districts and villages.
(But although they conduct “anthropological studies, none of their researchers seems to be an anthropologist)
Then I stumpled upon a comment by a former army HTS-
anthropologist researcher in Afghanistan on the Open Anthropology blog. He writes:
“These insurgents are throwbacks to the Stone Age with very different ideas and convictions than we have. (…) Want to talk to them about gay rights, women’s rights, democracy, live and let live, respect for the rights of others, etc. with these insurgents? Go ahead!”
Maximilian Forte, editor of Open Anthropology, comments:
One of the things achieved by the new imperialism is an ideological expansion: the high civilizations and monotheistic religions, such as those of Islam, were the focus of Orientalism in the 1800s and much of the 1900s. So called “primitive tribes” were a concern of the kind of Savagism at the heart of early anthropology. What statements like yours do is to combine/confuse the two, and that is novel. Now there are no other civilizations, no competing ideas of complex society, it’s just “us” and the rest are “savages.”
There we have the term again! Savages!
UPDATE: I’ve found the book in question - the Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan, Volume 6, in our library and found out that the quote about those “utter savages” is even older. The book refers to Mountstuart Elphinstone, who lived between 1779 and 1859 and later became the Governor of Bombay. The whole quote goes like this:
Elphinstone says their manners etc resemble the Wazirs, and Broadfoot, those of the Kharotis, from which we must infer that they are utter savages, and, as Elphinstone says more like mountain bears than men.
According to the Gazeteer of Afghanistan, the Zadran “are of no importance whatever, and only in the case of the Dawar route being used to Ghazni…".
And here from the preface of the 1985 version som general information about the Gazetteer of Afghanistan:
This work is based largely on material collected by the British Indian Government and its agencies since the early 19th century. In an age of Imperalism, Afghanistan became important as the “Gateway to India” and an area of dispute between the British and Russian empires. It is therefore not surprising that much effort was expended by various branches of the British Indian government to amass information regarding the country’s topography, tribal composition, climate, economy, and internal politics.
Thus, an effort which began with military considerations in mind has now been expanded and updated with maps and data complied by both Western and Afghan scholarship to serve the non-political purpose of providing a comprehensive reference work on Afghanistan.
READ THE COMMENTS BELOW - AND THE UPDATE “Army-Anthropologists don’t call Afghans “Savages”
Do you want to know what anthropologists who work for the US military in Afghanistan write about the people America is at war with? I resist to believe it but according to the Sydney Morning Herald they call some Afghan societies “utter savages".
Here is an excerpt from the report:
“The Zadran have been written up as a small tribe, but they are the biggest in the south-east. Their manners resemble the Waziris [who straddle the nearby border with Pakistan] and the Kharotis [also concentrated in the east], from which we may infer that they are utter savages. They live in small villages … they are great robbers and their country was a refuge for bad characters.”
Sydney Morning Herald correspondent David Brill who has travelled to Afghanistan’s south-east talked to an anonymous American analyst who refuses to endorse the report’s terminology and can’t believe what he is reading there.
“I have been working in Afghanistan for 25 years. They might look like savages, but they have a sophisticated political understanding. ‘There is great hostility to the Americans, but it is not because the people are savages.”
The ‘’savage’s'’ point, and Ruttig’s, is that America’s military tactics have created so much local hostility that it has become difficult, if not impossible, for the locals to accept the US presence and what Washington calls “aid". The “savages” told Ruttig that they had no option but to join a tribal uprising after a controversial civilian “casualty” (meaning the locals were killed by Americans)
A few days ago, anthropologist Hugh Gusterson explained Why the war in Afghanistan cannot be won (by the Americans, I assume)
PS: Maybe this issue makes more sense when we remember what the researchers in militarized institutions like the Centre for Studies in Islamism and Radicalisation write about “Americas enemy”.
UPDATE: Much new information: “Army-Anthropologists don’t call Afghans “Savages”