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Webinar on Publishing Alternatives

Join us and learn about three very different means of distributing information, creating community, and publishing. This webinar will be moderated by Hugh Jarvis, long-standing member of the publishing future committee and features the following speakers:

  • Matthew Gold, Associate Professor of English & Digital Humanities, and Chris Stein, Director of User Experience for the CUNY Academic Commons, will speak about CBOX, free community engagement software that plugs into WordPress, to support shared spaces for communities like MLA Commons and CUNY Academic Commons.
  • Amy Harper, Associate Professor of Anthropology and co-editor of Voices, whose journal runs at extremely low-costs and is self-published by its section, Association for Feminist Anthropology.
  • Brian Hole of Ubiquity Press, whose author-pays open access platform has converted several journals to this model, including Papers from the Institute of Archaeology.

Register to join us on Tuesday, January 21st at 12:00 pm, Noon, Eastern time zone.

Department Enrollments Grow, But Also Lose Ground

Undergraduate enrollments in anthropology in the US grew between 2000 and 2010, but not as much as enrollments overall. Between 2000 and 2010, departments self-reported growth of anthropology undergraduate enrollments. Specifically, for the 222 departments that provided AnthroGuide data in both years, undergraduate enrollments grew by a total of 32% over the decade. In the same years, the National Center for Education Statistics reported overall undergraduate enrollments increased by 37%. So even as anthropology enrollments grew, anthropology departments–on average–may have lost ground in terms of their share of the student population.

Why do you think other departments may be outpacing our discipline?

AAA collects its data through the AnthroGuide, an annual reference published in print and online (members can access the statistics and detailed listings of anthropological experts after logging in; everyone can access the eAG program finder.) In addition, the Association offers the Department Services Program, to provide support for department chairs, including collecting some statistics. AAA also created some resources to help students and their parents understand the value of the discipline:

What is your top priority for what else AAA could do to help?

AAA Annual Meeting Mobile Application: A Brief Survival Guide

Before we begin, a little bit about myself: my name is Andrew Russell, and I began working for the American Anthropological Association in early August.  I came from an anthropological background, and will be the first to admit I had no idea what really went on at the AAA on a daily basis. Now that I’ve stepped “behind the curtain” I am amazed by how efficient and passionate the AAA staff is. Now in my third month, I realized it might be a good opportunity to take a journey with the many members of the AAA, and anthropologists in general.  What does it take to run an academic association? What goes on, on a monthly basis?

As you can imagine, with the November Annual Meeting looming over us, October is a hectic month for the meetings department. Anything that has been waiting to go wrong, has been waiting for October.  But fear not— your trusty meetings department at the AAA is on the case.

October marks the finalization of the program and abstract.  In recent years AAA has sought to bring a more holistically green approach to the meeting, one way is to cut down on the amount of printing we do(It also saves you money). I can assure you, however, we worked tirelessly to make these behemoths the best quality they can be.  That means, putting together a cover design that both represents the wonderful city we are guests of and the meeting itself.  This year we went with the iconic lion statues of Chicago. No offense to Bean lovers, but it’s a good fit, lacking in what I had assumed might come off as regal iconography.

But what is to replace the program?  A mobile application of course, a feature which will hopefully be recurring for meetings to come.  For those of you who have been coming to these events for a while, you may recall (try to forget for us) there was a mobile app a few years ago.  This is certainly not that mobile app, and its features are vastly improved.

The mobile app will be available for Android and iPhone/Pad users, downloadable from their respective stores for free. But what will be included in it, you might wonder. The simple answer is: everything. Everything you might need for the conference at least.

The mobile app is broken up into six sections which I will go over briefly here.

screenshot_1Agenda: This menu will display list of sessions for each Date, as well as a Program sorted alphabetically. Selecting a date will list the sessions for that data. Selecting a session will navigate to the session details screen. The session location will link to a floor plan provided by AAA. After viewing a session, you can add it to your schedule, which will store it on the mobile app. And of course, you can share session information amongst anyone else who has the mobile app— sending a message to their registered email.
Exhibitors: while this might not affect many folks, it’s important to note that a huge reason the AAA is still able to develop these meetings is because of support from exhibitors.  They often come to the Annual Meeting to show off the latest in technological advances and ideas.  The exhibitor section of the mobile app will provide you with names, dates, and map layouts of where to find exhibitors.

Attendees: This will display a list of attendees. This list will display attendee name (first, last) and company name, attendee name sorted alphabetically on last name.  Sorry— you can’t stalk your professor, attendees’ email address and phone number are not displayed until the attendee has turned on display of email address and/or phone number under his/her privacy settings. A search will be available on the attendee list to search for attendees within name and company. That being said, the mobile app will act as a messaging device within the meeting. You’ll be able to send a message via the attendee detail screen.  You can also request an appointment through a similar manner.
Information: Here is where you’ll find the FAQ for the meeting.  Ideally, this will answer every question you could possibly want to know about the annual meeting. The questions were collected from our staff, so I’m sure we’ve missed a few things.  During the meeting, we’ll provide you with an email address to send further questions— who knows, your question might be confusing enough that we put it up on the FAQ.  FAQs thus far include, getting to the meeting, workshops, installments, student Saturday, and an in-depth explanation of the mobile app itself (hey you never know).

Announcements: Announcements will be a quick and easy way for the AAA to get information out to you.  This could range from a fire alert to free pizza— so make sure not to ignore these notifications.

screenshot_2My Meetings: The nexus of everything to mobile app has to offer.  Here you can view appointments and sessions added to your schedule and remove items from said schedule; this included free form additions.  Your schedule will also be updated periodically based on information you have provided the AAA. This section will also include appointments, where you can view appointment requests and approve or deny requests and also view status of your own requests.  For those of you who might be a little more disorganized (or who just like to be really on top of things) we also provide you with a To Do List. Here you can view the exhibitors added to your To Do List and remove items from the To Do list. As with the appointments, this can be free form items.  My Meetings will also include the messaging system used to contact anyone else with the mobile app. Last but not least, you will also have access to
“My Profile.” Where you can control which email notifications you receives (appointments, messages, announcements). Ability to view email address and phone number is turned OFF by default.

Hope this clears things up. The mobile app is currently available for android and iPhone users and can be picked up at the iTunes store here: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=692800377&mt=8

Of course, this is really our first go at the mobile app experience, and it’s an evolving process– so feel free to suggest corrections by sending them to aaameetings@aaanet.org.

The Annual Meeting is only a few weeks away, come prepared!

Eye-opening anthropology

AAA debuts new video abstracts. Teresa Figueroa Sanchez comments on her Anthropology of Work Review article about “California Strawberries” and R. Brian Ferguson talks about his work, “Blood of the Leviathan.” The latter (originally published in American Ethnologist) is part of a collection “On Violence” in Open Anthropology. So, what can video abstractsdo that the written word does not? These short takes let authors personally explain their work. As visual documents, they provide a way for non-specialists to quickly understand the central themes. Students might well find these clips fascinating in terms of making research projects “real,” by showing how these anthropologists came to their projects and how anthropologists craft their research. I hope you’ll watch these productions, tell us what you think, and enjoy these efforts to open up anthropology.

The Second Issue of Open Anthropology is Here!

Open Anthropology 150x150Violence is the theme of the second issue of Open Anthropology. The collection “On Violence” offers information, revelations, historical facts, descriptions of context and portraits of situations over time and place, a sampling of anthropological findings on the subject. Ten articles, two book reviews, and “The Editor’s Note” comprise this anthology written by anthropologists across time, sub-discipline, and journal title culled from the full AAA collection. 

“Taken as a whole, this collection deepens understanding and draws attention to the critical ingredients in the making of violence, a phenomenon ubiquitous in the contemporary world,” notes editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY). Synthesizing major anthropological viewpoints on the topic, Dr. Waterston identifies a key feature of violence and raises central questions that anthropologists answer:  “Domination is a critical element. In what specific way is the playing field of social life uneven? Who uses violence, of what types, and to what ends?”

Content in Open Anthropology is selected from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue is dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications.

Anthropology Added to Appendix of C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards

C3 Framework for Social StudiesThe National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has released its C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards, which includes as appendices companion documents for anthropology, sociology, and psychology. The AAA Education Task Force and Ad Hoc Anthropology Companion Document Review Committee prepared the Anthropology Companion Document for the C3 Framework, Appendix D (page 77) in the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards (PDF).

This companion document provides an Introduction to the Disciplinary Concepts and Skills of Anthropology, four concepts of the discipline and provides connections to the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards.

According to NCSS:

The C3 Framework was purposefully designed to offer guidance for state social studies standards, not to outline specific content to be delivered. For states utilizing the C3 Framework, the ten themes of the 2010 NCSS National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies:
A Framework for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment will be useful for the process of identifying specific content to be delivered and concepts to be acquired. The four dimensions of the inquiry arc in the C3 Framework correspond well with four sets of learning expectations presented in the National Curriculum
Standards for Social Studies

  • Questions for Exploration
  • Knowledge: what learners need to understand
  • Processes: what learners will be capable of doing
  • Products: how learners demonstrate understanding

Who Teaches the Teachers?

In 2008, the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education surveyed more than 3,000 PhDs to help “assess the career paths of PhDs and the quality of doctoral education in U.S. social science programs.” Many of their findings are very interesting in their own right, but Table 17 is the starting point for this post: only 37% of the respondents reported that there was formal instruction in teaching available in their doctoral programs; fewer than that (34%) reported formal supervision and evaluation of their teaching.

This raises the question: How, where, and when do most anthropologists who go on to teach learn how to teach?

Assuming that the answer is that most anthropologists are self-taught in the ways of the classroom through failure and success, I thought our autodidacts might be interested in some resources.

This 1999 Science article offers some good reflections on the topic. Its suggestions for resources include: Talk about teaching with your colleagues.

For some, with limited departmental or extradepartmental possibilities, this is harder to do and these readers might want to check out the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange to help pool and share ideas. Contribute your assignments, ideas, and syllabus. Investigate new readings and fresh discussion ideas. Contact your fellow teachers.

For others, this chatter might be virtual. The RAI developed a teaching forum. A huge number of our members have blogs (Anthro Brown Bag, Living Anthropologically, and Neuroanthropology come to the fore of my mind because they have content on teaching) for exploring and honing pedagogical ideas.

In the meanwhile, maybe you want to share your story of how, where and when you learned how to teach anthropology.


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