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American Anthropological Association opposes collaboration with the military

2007-11-16

Anthropology 2.0: Rethinking Why and How "Information is Power."

"Anthropology 2.0: is an Internet-based movement working towards advancing the discipline of anthropology through information and communication technologies (ICTs) infused with a common understanding that anthropological knowledge should be freely accessible to all in a legal and ethical manner. The blog entries below attempt to explore these issues within the discipline as well as how ICTs are shaping cultures worldwide with a keen eye towards poverty alleviation, economic development, social networks and the betterment of our livelihood.

"Information R/evolution" - Thursday, Ocotber 19, 2007
From the creator (anthropology professor Dr. Michael Wesch) of the engaging Web 2.0 video on YouTube earlier this year comes twonew videos. The first looks at information and how we organize and understand it. The second explores U.S. students in the college classroom. I like both, but I am partial towards the second one since I am teaching an undergraduate anthropology class. I intend to show my students the video today and Ilook forward to their feedback.

Four Stone Hearth - Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Four Stone Hearth is a dynamic way for anthropologists and other enthusiasts of anthropology to debut their thoughts and writings through a blog carnival, which hosts different websites each month. This months' proposed topic dealt with “Anthropology 2.0,” which P. Kerim Friendman described in a SavageMinds.org blog dated March 13, 2006. Friedman is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan, who uses the term Anthropology 2.0 when referring to
the collaborative use of ICTs in contributing towards anthropological knowledge as a whole and
the importance of a providing anthropological treatments of ICTs via more timely publishing venues than paper journals, which can take too long to publish, rendering new scholarship of ICTs outdated


I wanted to explore further the ideas raised by Friedman in this blog carnival (though all anthropological topics were welcome). I also suggested this topic because I submitted a request to present a poster at the upcoming American Anthropological Association’s conference. The poster is about anthropology blogs and I thought it would be interesting to include a section of how various anthropologists who blog treat the issue of the impact ICTs (computers, cell phones, the Internet and radio) are having on the theories, methods and practice of the discipline of anthropology. If you are not a member of Four Stone Hearth (FSH) and are interested in joining, then please visit its website. Thank you to all who provided me with submissions, to co-administrator of FSH Martin Rundkvist for keeping it going, and to Kambiz Kamrani, the other co-admin. of FSH, for all he has done in promoting anthropology on the Internet.

From Jason Simms of http://h2anthro.org/
First, technology has and will continue to change fieldwork. Technologies such as blogs, cameras that instantly post images online with full GPS info, live streaming video, and so forth empower scholars
to record and report in so many new and exciting ways that are far cries from "record fieldnotes, type them up, write a paper" methodologies. Similarly, because anthropologists are "on the ground" in some of earth's "worst" places for genocide, famine, poverty, power differentials, etc., these technologies allow us to "get the word out" in powerful and timely ways that we impossible even five years ago. In that way, we can act as "first responders" who alert the international and media communities to situations that may not attract as much attention as they should...

From Tim Jones of
http://remotecentral.blogspot.com/2007/05/bruniquel-cave-beginning-or-end-of-era.htmlBruniquel Cave - Beginning And End Of An Era: Having previously discussed Fumane Cave, which contains what might be the earliest evidence of cave art at around 35,000 bp, I next want to travel back in time another 12,600 years to Bruniquel Cave, in the Lot region of south-western France, in which traces of what might be Neanderthal ritual or symbolic activities have occurred...

From Martin Rundkvist of
http://scienceblogs.com/aardvarchaeology/2007/05/book_review_cambridge_history.php
Book Review: Cambridge History of Scandinavia
Archaeology consists of a myriad of weakly interconnected regional and temporal sub-disciplines. My work in Östergötland is largely irrelevant to a scholar in Lapland and entirely so to one in Tokyo. Larger interregional syntheses are rare and tend to be read mainly by undergraduates who have yet to select a specialty...

From Afarensis of
http://scienceblogs.com/afarensis/2007/04/30/the_first_fossil_hunters_paleo/
Book Review: The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times
In his introduction to The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times., paleontologist Peter Dodson writes:
As a child I greatly enjoyed Greek mythology (always in preference to its more derivative Roman counterpart). I might also mention that my father, a biologist, majored in ancient Greek in college. I devoured Edith Hamilton and Bulfinch and D'Aulaire.
I could say something similar about myself. I have always been fascinated by ancient Greece, even taking ancient Greek in college (rather than German like most of the rest of my anthropological peers). I have read Hamilton and Herodotus, Dodds, Euripides and Harrison, and so on ad infinitum . So when I first first heard of a book that combined my two interests of old bones and ancient Greece I was immediately interested...

From Alun Salt who thoughtfully organized the following:
Digging Digitally - WOW! News from the AIA (Archaeological Institute of America)
http://www.alexandriaarchive.org/blog/?p=58
While the AAA drags its feet the AIA are pushing ahead with their plans to improve Open Access to publications.

FieldNotes: for the Anthropology of British Columbia
Googling During Lectures and
More Thoughts on Laptops in the Classroom
http://www.anthroblog.tadmcilwraith.com/2007/04/13/googling-during-lectures/
http://www.anthroblog.tadmcilwraith.com/2007/05/02/more-thoughts-on-laptops-in-the-classroom/
Two posts considering the problems of teaching in the 21st century when students have other ideas about what constitutes attention.

GIS for Archaeology and CRM - Archaeology and 3D Model of Areca Mill, Valley Forge, PA.
http://www.gisarch.com/2007/04/13/archaeology-and-3d-model-of-areca-mill-valley-forge-pa/
Reconstructions have become a bit more viable thanks to Google Earth and SketchUp.

Past Thinking - Realtime Photorealistic 3D Environments
http://www.pastthinking.com/blog/2007/04/18/realtime-photorealistic-3d-environments/
The graphics engine for new game Crysis suggest that VR could be about to become a lot more R.

Clioaudio - Confused by Shadows
When plans don't have a north indicator it's time to turn to Google. Are any of these plans the wrong way round?
http://clioaudio.com/2007/05/05/confused-by-shadows/

Archaeolog (Krysta Ryzewski) - Creative Documentation and Archaeological Practice: Surveying Archaeologists on Film
http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/archaeolog/2007/04/creative_documentation_and_arc.html
Thoughts on archaeologists watching a film featuring archaeologists. How do archaeologists view themselves?

Back Garden Archaeology - Test Pit 2
http://bwarchaeology.blogspot.com/2007/04/ive-started-on-test-pit-2-photo-above.html
Part of a fascinating series of posts about an investigation by an amateur archaeologist with a great photo of a test pit.

Bad Archaeology - Interpreting DNA Evidence
http://badarchaeology.blogspot.com/2007/04/interpreting-dna-evidence.html
The problems of reading ancestry as a departure from a static point.

John Hawks - Biocultural breakdown
http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/meta/biocultural_breakdown_harvard_2007.html
The decline of four field anthropology. We will soon be meeting round a three stone hearth?

Samarkeolog - Estonia: cultural heritage; political violence
http://samarkeolog.blogspot.com/2007/04/estonia-cultural-heritage-political.html
Violence over the removal of WWII memorials. Communist symbols remain extremely potent in the Baltic republic.

Testimony of the Spade
Some notes on Iron Age Dolmens in Sweden
More thoughts about Iron Age Dolmens
http://inventerare.wordpress.com/2007/04/29/some-notes-on-iron-age-dolmen-or-froboketype-froboketyp-grave/
http://inventerare.wordpress.com/2007/05/03/more-thoughts-about-iron-age-dolmens/
What makes a dolmen a dolmen? Is an open dolmen significantly different from a closed dolmen?

The Central Archaeology Group - The Archaeological Process in Ontario
http://centralarchaeology.blogspot.com/2007/04/archaeological-process-in-ontario.html
The Archaeological process varies immensely from place to place, this is how it works in Ontario.

The Assemblage - Museum bodies
http://politicalarchaeology.wordpress.com/2007/04/28/museum-bodies/
How should human remains be treated. Is it sensible to relocate them halfway round the word? Does it make a difference if the bones are being returned?

Can Technology Change What It Feels Like to Be An Anthropologist? - Tuesday, May 8, 2007
The Society for Applied Anthropology sent me an electronic invitation on Sunday to join their virtual community that is run by Ning.com. I was so enthusiastic at the prospect of "liazing" with other applied anthropologists that I signed up right away. A couple dozen others had already joined and I knew two of them....which is surprising since I am a relative new comer to the field. I checked it tonight and over 100 people have signed up.

My initial reaction was feeling jazzed at the prospect of collaborating with other anthropologists with whom I otherwise would not meet. Then I found myself asking a bunch of people I already know to become my virtual friend. Why was a I doing that when I can just email or call them to find out what is new with them or if they want to work on a paper or other project together? Perhaps the initial allure of wanting virtual friends was leading me to click away on their picture or name, asking them to include me in their social network. Will the social networking sites hosted by professional anthropological associations change how anthropologists carry themselves and what it feels like to be an anthropologist?

I ask this because of a book I am reading by Heather Horst and Daniel Miller titled The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication. The authors explore the cell phone in Jamaica from the perspective of development anthropologists. In the introduction, they describe one of chapters that will "provide readers with a sense of how Jamaicans carry themselves in relation to the phone, and the ways in which the phone changes how it feels to be Jamaican" (2006:4). I have not finished the book so I don't know what the authors conclude, but I welcome your thoughts by clicking at the end of this page in the comments section.

Human Rights & Google Earth - Thursday, April 12, 2007
Tom Spring of PC World wrote an article about the power of Google Earth in bringing depth to understanding human rights atrocities through three-dimensional mapping. I have discussed in other posts the uses of technology in raising awareness about human rights abuses, specifically the work of Witness.org. Google's use of geographic information systems (GIS) highlights the importance that GIS can play in ethnographic research by considering the role of measurable space when situating anthropological research questions. GIS can also provide new methods for social network analysis.

A quote from the article follows:

"Google Earth has added a Global Awareness layer to its maps program that lets you learn about the crisis in Darfur. By selecting the Global Awareness layer (in the lower left-hand corner of Google Earth) you can fly over enhanced satellite images of the war-torn region. Sprinkled over the map are icons that link to photographs, data, videos, and narratives of eyewitnesses to the genocide.

Using Google Earth I not only learned something about the 1600 villages destroyed in fighting between government militias and rebels, I was also able to learn about the conflict from the ground level via video clips, compelling photographs, and narrative text. Each Google Earth placemarker includes a "How Can I Help" link with links to relief organizations and government Web sites."

SfAA Annual Conference Updates - Thursday, March 29, 2007
Yesterday was the first day of the annual conference for the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) in Tampa, Florida. My friends (classmates at USF) and I led a panel discussion about communicating anthropology to a greater public. The audience members were really receptive to our talk and some of them expressed their own frustration in trying to inform others that they do more than “bones, stones and Indiana Jones”. One person said how she choreographs modern dance and informs those who watch her work that she is an anthropologist and her work inspires her dance.

Students from Wayne State University delivered a strong presentation on virtual research methods and the relationship between journalism and anthropology. One of the audience members discussed perceptions of intergenerational understanding for ICTs. She said that for many people who are younger (> 30s) ICTs are their primary language, where as people who are older acquire an understanding of ICTs as a secondary language.

I spoke to students from the University of North Texas, which is the first U.S. institution to offer online Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees in applied anthropology. One of the students, Jen Cardew, is using SfAApodcasts.net to broadcast some of the presentations online. They students I spoke with are articulate and passionate about advancing the application of anthropological theories and methods.

The Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs had an excellent session where presenters and audience members sat together in a circle and after each presenter spoke we (the audience) shared our comments and concerns. We discussed some of the following things:
1) There is an important need to include globalization theory and discussions of globalization in general within our courses. A student said the same thing about economics as he felt this subject constantly arises in class but there is no substantive conversation about it from either professors or students.
2) One professor discussed the importance of assigning undergraduate students the task for writing a resume. The idea is for them to reflect on what they have/are learning in their anthropology courses and the skill-set they are building. The assignment also encourages them to focus on what they seek to do after graduation.
3) A student from Sonoma State University in California said how he and other students have a self-directed course where they meet to share ideas about their respective disciplines and how each are approaching common problems or are integrating similar methods or ideas across their disciplines. He is learning a lot from the course.
4) The same student also mentioned a very creative approach for course evaluation. He and other students engage in anonymous focus groups, providing important feedback about their learning experiences that allot greater details beyond what many professors receive from standardized bubble sheets asking students to rank their class.

Lastly, the issue of marketing the discipline of anthropology arose. There seemed to be mixed feelings in the room about either the use of the word "marketing" as opposed to "branding" or "image problem" or the idea of marketing anthropological research in general. A senior member from the American Anthropological Association (AAA) was there and said that AAA has marketed anthropology in the past, but had no success from this effort. I would like to learn more about AAA’s work in this regard. I shared with the audience some of the things we discussed in the panel discussion my classmates and I provided earlier that day.

I posted below the gist of what I said in that panel:
A strategic marketing campaign coordinated among three groups of anthropologists and their respective organizations who work together to publicize the work of anthropologists and their discipline: practicing anthropologists (would be supported by the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology or NAPA), applied anthropologists (backed by the SfAA) and academic anthropologists (assisted by AAA).

The idea would be for anthropologists supported by these respective institutions to market the discipline collectively to a greater public. College campuses would be among the first places to see this unfold with anthropology professors holding various activities to attract undergrad and grad students to the discipline. AAA supported public relations kits that highlight the relevant and myriad work of anthropologists could be used for such presentations. The AAA’s current initiative on www.understandingrace.org would be exhibited as well as other initiatives that include the four fields of anthropology as well as applications of anthropological knowledge outside of the discipline.

SfAA would support applied anthropologists in engaging media, non-profit, business and government organizations by publicizing meaningful work of our discipline that can be used outside of academia. SfAA would also help anthropologists by supplying templates and training for writing press releases of their research findings and help in disseminating this information via non-anthropological publications and websites, including YouTube clips. Applied anthropologists would encourage their non-applied and practicing colleagues to consider publicizing their work for non-anthropological and non-academic audiences.

NAPA would provide public relations kits to practicing anthropologists for approaching their employer’s respective human resource officers. The purpose would be to make the human resources officers aware of the broader training of anthropologists. This would also include initiatives to start internships for anthropology students. Practicing anthropologists could partner with their academic colleagues to speak with university and high school students about exploring careers as anthropologists and share with them resources for further information via the NAPA, SfAA and AAA websites.

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