Jen Cardew has done a great job in recording and publishing speeches held at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). Several new podcasts (mp3-files from the session "Global Health in the Time of Violence") can be downloaded. She has even written an introduction in podcasting and blogging.
As she explains in a comment on Savage Minds, her project was "quite easy and cost effective".
Are we on the way to "Open Access Conferences"? As already announced, several sessions at the conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) will be published as podcasts. Jen Cardew who has taken the initiative to this project reports that all presenters (except for one) were very happy to have their speeches to be recorded:
Presenters were; Paul Farmer, Phillipe Bourgois, Merrill Singer, Linda Whiteford, Carolyn Nordstrom, Barbara Rylko-Bauer, Didier Fassin, and Jame Quesada, all of whom were excellent speakers with excellent things to say. The room was packed and I believe there was 300+ people at any given time. These are the rockstars of anthropology. All of the presenters were thrilled to have their speeches recorded for the podcasting project and they even had me announce the project to the group. The fact that all of these presenters were excited about the opportunity to be recorded made the project worth it to me in itself. It actually was quite an honor
It was very reassuring to see that the anthropologists were open to new technology, as we are not known as a "techy" or "progressive with new technology" field
There are also some students doing informal interviews and some minimal coverage of the conference, which will be published on the web, she writes. Their goal was to seek out how anthropologists are using technology.
Read more on her blog
It's only a few weeks ago that anthropologist Michael Wesch explained in an extremly popular YouTube-video how collaborative web technologies change scholarship. Now Jen Cardew at Synthesis of Thoughts tells us that several sessions at the conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) are set to be recorded and published as podcasts.
A new website is set up: http://www.sfaapodcasts.net/ The first podcast will be up by April 7th.
That's good news. Last summer, anthropologists were criticized for being the last primitive tribe on earth because they didn't embrace the possibillities provided by the digital era. Several times, I've written about how difficult it is to get information about what's going on on conferences.
(via del.icio.us) After his video about collaborative tools on the web (like blogs, wikis etc), Michael Wesch has become the most talked about anthropologist on the internet. In an interview with John Battelle's Searchblog, Wesch explains his interest in what geeks call web 2.0:
For me, cultural anthropology is a continuous exercise in expanding my mind and my empathy, building primarily from one simple principle: everything is connected.
For me, the ultimate promise of digital technology is that it might enable us to truly see one another once again and all the ways we are interconnected. It might help us create a truly global view that can spark the kind of empathy we need to create a better world for all of humankind.
He made his first website in 1998 and saw "a tremendous potential for transforming the way we present our research". Since then, he tells us, he has had a passion for exploring the latest technologies and how they an be used to communicate ideas in more effective ways.
Farther down in the comment field he explains:
The radically collaborative technologies emerging on the Web create the possibility for doing scholarship in the mode of conversation rather than argument, or to transform the argument as war metaphor into something that suggests collaboration rather than combat.
Personally, I prefer the metaphor of the dance and that we are all here in this webscape dancing and playing around with ideas. The best dancers are those that find a way to “lose themselves” in the music – pushing the limits of the dance without fear of tripping or falling because they know that it is all part of the dance.
As said, his video was widely debated, for anthropological comments see among others: mike wesch rocks the video essay (Savage Minds), Mike Wesch's Web 2.0 video makes waves, expands our understanding of this digital phenomenon (Anthropology.net), Anthropologists on Web 2.0 (TechnoTaste) and Internet 6 or Web 2.0: Video Edition (Disparate, Alexandre Enkerli)
His video is part of his work at the Digital Ethnography working group at Kansas State University.
Last year, Wesch was guestblogger at Savage Minds and blogged about new teaching methods.
(post in progress) 2005 was the year anthropology finally became visible on the internet. 2006 was the year of a more public, political and open access anthropology?
More and more anthropologists want to make their research available online. Two years ago, the open access movement was only known to some geeks. Now, more and more academics know of its existence and support its agenda. I've even read about Norwegian researchers who boycott publishers that don't support Open Access (only in Norwegian). Recently, Norwegian libraries rejected Blackwell journals because of high prices and at the same time promoted their digital archives.
The bloggers at Savage Minds and Anthropology.net campaigned for more open access with New Open Access Anthropology Website, mailinglist, chat and t-shirts including a blog.
A new Open Access journal called After Culture - Emergent Anthropologies was announced and a few months ago, I've discovered Anpere - Anthropological Perspectives on Religion another new Open Access Anthropology Journal and shortly afterwards lots of new theses on indigenous research in MUNIN - the digital library of the University in Tromsø (Northern Norway).
Earlier, the American Anthropological Society was heavily criticized for its opposition to Open Access. Concerning their reluctance to use digital technology to disseminate knowledge, Jane Mejdahl from the new Danish Anthropology group blog Matters Out Of Place wondered if anthropologists were the last primitive tribe on earth. To promote anthropological blogging, anthropology.net established the first Anthropology Blog Carnival.
Politics and Public Anthropology
Last year, anthropology seemed to have become politicised. American anthropologists stood up against torture and the occupation of Iraq and used anthropology to show that the Bush administration is lying about the "war on terror" in the Sahara.
Furthermore, anthropologists criticized both the erosion of free academic speech in the USA, how censorship threatens anthropological fieldwork and the neoliberalism in academia, when Walmart's management principles run an anthropology department.
In 2005, many debates arose on how CIA sponsers anthropologists to gather sensitive information. In 2006, we could read about anthropologists who are engaged for the US war in Iraq and "embedded anthropology" in the Canadian military.
It's difficult to say if anthropologists have been more visible in mainstream media during the last year. We might remember that Didier Fassin criticized anthropologists for their silence during and after the riots in France. Maybe Indonesia can be an example. To link themselves to the non-academic world, anthropologists discuss politics and succeeded according anthropologist Fadjar I. Thufail. In Mexico, anthropologists who demonstrated against human rights abuses were beaten by the Mexican police.
Conferences and cosmopolitanism
Personally, I was engaged in discussions about conference culture. My post How To Present A Paper - or Can Anthropologists Talk? received more comments than any other post before. Shortly afterwards I went to the conference Anthropology and Cosmopolitanism at Keele University where I heard many weak presentations and wrote the post What's the point of anthropology conferences?. My summary was later published in Anthropology Today and was commented by Don Moody. Concerning presentations, "the cure is a strong chairman and a system of lights", he wrote.
I've written lots about cosmopolitanism, for example For an anthropology of cosmopolitanism or Thomas Hylland Eriksen: Cosmopolitanism is like respecting the ban on smoking in the public. Owen Sichone showed at the conference that poor African migrants are no less cosmopolitan than anthropologists and David Graeber argued that democracy is no 'Western' idea and questioned the terms "Western civilisation" or "Western values".
There were of course lots more interesting news last year.
I especially enjoyed reading Jan Kåre Breivik's book about deaf people as a forgotten cultural minority and Marianne Gullestads most recent book where she defines the five major challenges for anthropology
2006 is also the year when Clifford Geertz has passed away.
Another example of how religious and cultural practices change: A soon to be released survey of religious practices in Morocco will show that the majority of Moroccans prefer to pray alone, and use audiovisual media and the internet for information on their religion, according to Magharebia.com:
About 65% of those interviewed pray on a regular basis and a significant portion of Moroccans practise their religion in an individual manner, rather than collectively. As for sources of religious knowledge, the survey has demonstrated the ever-growing role of satellite channels, audiovisual media in general, cassettes and the Internet. These channels have become essential sources, taking the place of traditional written sources, to the level of 85%.
The survey also picks up on the shrinking role of institutions providing religious teaching in the acquisition of religious knowledge. These institutions, such as the family, the mosque, the school, the brotherhood etc., do not play the role they used to play in giving Moroccan people a grounding in religion.
As for the status of women, the survey highlights the ever-growing role of women in the field of religion.
The survey was carried out by three Moroccan researchers -- sociologist Mohamed El Eyadi, political analyst Mohamed Tozy and anthropologist Hassan Rachik -- who were assisted by a team of field workers.
anpere - Anthropological Perspectives on Religion is the name of a new journal that is freely available for everybody. It is edited by anthropologists Pierre Wiktorin and André Möller from Lund University (Sweden).
The aim of anpere is to offer a flexible and relevant channel for researches as well as lay people interested in questions pertaining to the anthropology of religion.
anpere do not stick to the traditional way of publishing, as it will publish as soon as any text is ready to meet the public. This means that we may publish three articles a day or three articles per month, depending on the quality and quantity of the articles received.
In order to faciliate the life of our valued readers, we will gladly send you an e-mail each time a new article or review is added on the anpere site.
The articles are written both in Swedish and English. At the moment there are three papers in English:
There are even lots of photos, among others related to Ramadan.
By the way, one of the editors, André Möller, maintains an interesting Indonesian Islam Blog.
Columbia University Press recently approached Savage Minds, asking if we would like to review new books from their catalog", Kerim Friedman writes and begins reviewing the first book "The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on popular politics in most of the world" by Partha Chatterjee.
I (and some other anthropology bloggers) have received this email by Columbia University Press (CUP) as well and you can expect reviews of their anthropology books here on antropologi.info as well (the first book has arrived).
"The new trend is getting bloggers to write about you", according to marketing consultants. This seems to be true as I was approached by an Norwegian publisher only a few days later and the first review was published by guestblogger Syeda Rahima Parvin (in Norwegian). Earlier this year, a museum in Germany has taken contact with me.
Of course, journalistic standards apply here in the same way as in newspapers (no advertising!).
There has been some discussion on this subject, see: