The Anthropology Year 2005
Here's a try to sum up the anthropology year 2005 based on entries in this blog (in English). A look back might be useful especially if you are as disorganized as I am and tend to forget everything. This is a post in progress!
Among the most discussed topics last year we find the African village at the zoo in Augsburg in Southern Germany. Earlier last year, the tsunami disaster triggered similar debates on racism and colonialism.
Much debates arose on CIA sponsers anthropologists to gather sensitive information and related Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of Their Curious Relations. On Savage Minds, a post on Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel" and the reasons for differences in progress for different societies received 128 comments! Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber was fired from Yale and the research by an undercover anthropologist among her own students raised discussions on the ethics of fieldwork.
2005 can be characterized as the year anthropology finally became visible on the internet.
A large rage of new websites and blogs popped up as for example the group blog Savage Minds, Tad McIlwraith's Field Notes, John Norvell's initiative AnthroBlogs - a community of nine anthropologist-bloggers, Wolfgang Wohlwend's blog Anthronaut, the relaunch of anthropology.net with lots of new bloggers and most recently the fieldwork blog Cicilie among the Parisians by Cicilie Fagerlid - to name a few. Furthermore, the question How can we create a more plural anthropological community? was raised.
Open access to research material is crucial here and this topic was widely discussed Although a survey by the American Anthropological Association revealed that there's a minimal willingness to post one’s own work online, more and more papers do appear online. Kerim Friedman put his dissertation in Anthropology online before it was published as a book. The most recent Open Access initiative is the full text journal: Ecological and Environmental Anthropology at the University of Georgia.
Anthropologists have also been more visible in the media and managed to react when their knowledge was needed on the aftermath of the Katrina disaster. And within a short time, a new website was launched: Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences. They showed how in this case applied anthropology becomes aid.
Earlier last year, Anthroscope - a new anthropological radio show was launched.
The engagement for "ways to advance a more relevant and public scholarship" was actually the rewarded when Luke Eric Lassiter received the Margaret Mead Anthropology Award for his Collaborative Ethnography.
Lots of articles appeared in newspapers on business anthropology, so that Grant McCracken asked: "Ethnography a Buzz Word in the Industry - Where is the Quality Control?".
There have been lots of interesting studies, stories and books, among others the article Somali immigrants share New England's small-town values or Stories of an African Bar Girl - "an ethnography done by an illiterate" or studies on gun enthusiasts.
Very useful: Alex Golub made a list on popular ethnographies.
Here on antropologi.info, a post on the Internet Gift Culture and on Thomas Hylland Eriksens book More and more anthropologists, but they're absent from public debates - "Engaging Anthropology" the interview six anthropologists on anthropology and internet and a new anthropology search page and aggreagator anthropology newspaper received some attention while the new forum in English hasn't been used at all (much activity on the German forum, though).