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2012 AAA Annual Report

The 2012 AAA Annual Report is now available online.2012Annual Report

What do Anthropologists Say about Same-sex Marriage?

As the marriage bill heads to the U.K. House of Lords for its second reading, Roger Lancaster contributes an anthropological perspective on marriage as a labile institution, designed to meet societal needs and necessarily not tethered to a heterosexual dyad in his latest Huffington Post article. His words offer a trenchant rebuttal to the director of Catholic Voices and the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose positions all appear in a provocative and engaging new volume: The Meaning of Matrimony, just published by Civitas. The UK debate coincides with anticipation that the U.S. highest court will rule on Windsor v. U.S. – Defense of Marriage Act before the term ends in late June.

In addition to this newly released volume, AAA is keeping anthropological perspectives at the forefront of these debates in the debut issue of Open Anthropology, a compilation of 11 articles that similarly show how mutable and varied domestic arrangements are.

 

Heritage Distancing

Have you read Douglas Reeser and Claire Novotny’s recent Anthropology News article on heritage distancing? The article, Destroying Nohmul, describes the destruction of an ancient Maya site in Belize. Read the entire article on the Anthropology News website, below is an excerpt:

A work crew excavating the Nohmul site to be hauled away as road-fill.Photo courtesy of  CTV3 Belize News.

A work crew excavating the Nohmul site to be hauled away as road-fill.Photo courtesy of CTV3 Belize News.

The bulldozing and destruction of the ancient Maya site at Nohmul, in the Orange Walk district of northern Belize, has recently received widespread international attention. The largest structure of the ancient ceremonial center was reduced to rubble for use as road-fill by a local contracting company, a widely condemned act that will likely result in minimal consequences for the perpetrators.  This incident, and others like it, are examples of the vulnerability of major historical sites, demonstrates the importance of the archaeological landscape for communities, and brings up issues of cultural heritage and engaged anthropology.

Nohmul was a medium-sized city founded in the Middle Preclassic period (650 BC – 350 BC). Interestingly, its fortunes waned during the Early Classic period (AD 100 – 250), when it was all but abandoned, only to be re-occupied during the Terminal Classic (AD 900 – 1000), when ties to the Yucatan peninsula are evident in its architecture and ceramic assemblage. Nohmul is one example of Maya longevity, memory, and re-use of important sites. When they re-occupied it in the Terminal Classic is was already an ancient place – at least 1000 years old. Nohmul has been a marker of place, history, and ancestral heritage for more than 2,000 years (see Hammond et al.).

Though a small nation, the Belizean landscape is blanketed with ancestral remains of the ancient Maya, from densely populated cities like Caracol to villages such as Chan in the Belize River Valley, as well as countless unnamed hamlets throughout the country. As the Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Jaime Awe, pointed out in a recent interview with Belize’s Channel 7 News, the size of the Institute of Archaeology is miniscule compared with the archaeological resources they are tasked to manage, and Awe’s frustration over the events at Nohmul is palpable in the interviews he has given to the press. This is not to minimize their significant efforts  – last year archaeologists from the IA successfully and efficiently excavated late Preclassic period archaeological remains encountered during road construction in downtown San Ignacio. They also actively oversee and grant permits to numerous archaeological research projects taking place throughout the country.

Anthropology Weighs In On the Marriage Debate in New Public Journal

OpenAnthropology728x90_2Open Anthropology is the newest publication of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). It is a digital-only publication that will be provided to the public free of charge. This is the first AAA publication that uses responsive design and is readable on mobile devices, such as iPhones.

In providing this journal to the public, AAA is alerting its members and other interested audiences that it is committed to examining new approaches to journal publishing, and that some of these potential options include “open access” models for in-demand content.

In its inaugural issue, Open Anthropology editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY) curates AAA’s finest articles on marriage and other arrangements. In the issue’s ten articles and two book reviews, Waterston provides a cross-cultural sampling of the anthropological research on the subject. Waterston notes that in this issue, “Cutting through the nonsense thought and dangerous talk, anthropologists set the record straight on marriage and other arrangements.”

Content in Open Anthropology will be culled from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and will be freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue will be dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications. “We hope that Open Anthropology will help make anthropology and anthropologists more visible outside the academy and expand our role in important social issues and policy discussions” says AAA President, Leith Mullings.

Open Anthropology is available at http://www.aaaopenanthro.org.

We Run For Boston

BostonHave you seen the latest article by Robert R. Sauders on Anthropology News? It’s a powerful piece about the rise of solidarity activism in the aftermath of tragedy, entitled “We Run for Boston“. Below is an excerpt:

On April 15, 2013, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon commenced with a starter’s pistol for mobility-impaired entrants at 9:00am; yet, unlike previous years, the 2013 marathon ended at 2:50pm when two explosive devices were detonated within a few hundred yards of the finish line. The bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon left three people dead – 8 year-old Martin Richard, 23 year-old Lu Lingzi and 29 year-old Krystle Campbell – and wounded more than 175 people. Due to the design of the bombs, many of the victims suffered severe shrapnel wounds to their lower extremities, with some so injured that amputation was necessary.

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Boston, people from across the United States and around the world expressed their shock over the brutality of the bombings, their anger with those who would perpetrate such actions and their sympathy with those who suffered injury and trauma. As medical professionals treated the wounded and law enforcement began the arduous process of collecting evidence to identify those responsible for the bombings, hundreds and thousands of ordinary people began organizing solidarity and fundraising efforts through social media tools. Within only a few short hours after the bombs ripped through Boylston Street, small groups dedicated to standing united with the Boston Marathon victims as well as with the city of Boston began appearing on Facebook, Twitter, blog and websites.

Read Sauder’s entire article on Anthropology-News.org.

Resources for Understanding Islam

Eight modules, with discussion topics and links to a TED lecture, have been collated by TED Studies and Wiley-Blackwell on the theme “Understanding Islam” and there’s an iTunesU course app for the iPad, too.

As a collection, these modules seek to transcend stereotypes about Islam; emphasize the positive roles of faith in Muslims lives, such as promoting compassion; and describe how many faithful are working to create positive role models. One of the companion articles on the site–ungated until December 31, 2013–is by anthropologist Gregory M. Simon, whose American Ethnologist article describes many of these same themes: Islamic faith as far from monolithic and ultimately reflective of deeply human struggles. The community in West Sumatra he studies in this article frame their religious experiences as central to development of their self identities and morality.

These resources are well worth examination by professors teaching religion classes, but also those teaching psychological anthropology and classes on the culture and history of the Middle East.

What’s the AnthroGuide All About?

AnthroGuide Through the YearsWhat is an “AnthroGuide” anyway? At its core, the AnthroGuide is the premier directory of anthropological institutions and professionals, including universities, community colleges, government organizations, museums, companies, and non-profits. It cuts across all types of anthropology and offers something for every type of anthropologist: students, professors, practicing anthropologists, anyone you can think of. If you have an interest in anthropology, chances are the guide is a perfect resource for you.

So we’ve established that it’s interesting, a fascinating book and an invaluable online resource. But I can guess what you’re wondering. Why should your institution bother listing; what would you get out of it?

Good question! Here’s your answer: a lot. Okay, that doesn’t quite explain what makes the AnthroGuide great, so I’ll give you the details.

Containing a wealth of information about their favorite topic, the AnthroGuide easily captures the attention of students everywhere. For a university, it’s a surefire way to draw in more students. For a company or non-profit, it displays a side of your institution that people may not have known and attracts quality interns, employees, and volunteers. How does the AnthroGuide do all of this? Simple! It gives you the opportunity to tell everyone about just how amazing your institution is, to lay out all of the details and show what makes it special. You have the opportunity to brag about any facilities, resources, or libraries at your disposal and any degrees or special programs you offer. Better yet, your internships, field schools, and support opportunities have a place in an AnthroGuide listing as well. This knowledge is often the deciding factor when choosing a university. The icing on the cake here is that all of this can be found online: an easy, straightforward search can put this information within a student’s grasp.

On top of all that, an AnthroGuide listing includes any faculty and staff member you want. Not only does it contain their names, but it’s also the perfect place to spotlight their degrees, areas of knowledge, and academic interests. Naturally, this proves useful to students trying to decide on a graduate program, but it can do even more than that. This information is also at the fingertips of people who want to collaborate on papers, projects, or grants but don’t know where to find that perfect partner. By having your faculty members or staff researchers listed, you’re doing yourself and your fellow anthropologists a favor, making your names visible, front and center. It’s much easier to be involved in collaborations when people can find your name!

Bottom line here? The AnthroGuide has something to offer everyone, listers and readers alike. Institutions can bring in more students. Students can find their perfect school. Institutions can proudly announce their faculty. It’s one of the few true win-win scenarios! So what are you waiting for? The next step is easy: sign up for the AnthroGuide today! Simply send an email to guide@aaanet.org and we’ll be thrilled to help you create a listing!

Anthropology Resource Tool Expands Research Options

Need to expand your research options? Subscribe to the AAA Online Research Library.

The Online Research Library is a fantastic service, but not just for the unaffiliated. The New York Review of Books and The Economist are part of this publications packet. Access to these publications and the hundreds of journals from different disciplines makes broad and deep research efficient even from field sites. This is one of the most exciting services I have seen from any professional association. -Igna

Many applied anthropologists, who do not have access to a college or university library, have found the AAA Online Research Library to be an excellent resource.

As an applied anthropologist without an University affiliation, research journal access is vital to my work. As more anthropologists work in applied settings, this need will only grow. It’s great that the AAA is being proactive in addressing this need. It definitely adds value to my AAA membership. – Betsy

You can review the database list of more than 5,000 titles prior to purchasing unlimited access for one year.

I run a nonprofit, online, participatory, ezine that focuses on human ecology, izilwane.org, and the online research library is very useful to us. Every nonprofit that focuses in any way on anthropology should have access to this library. Having access to this library would allow all nonprofits to spread the word that we anthropologists are not only academics but that we are also out there in the world making a difference. – Tara

Subscribe to the AAA Online Library today!

AAA’s Society for Cultural Anthropology Paves New Way For Anthropological Publishing Program

CulAnth

In its latest efforts to respond to today’s evolving publishing climate the American Anthropological Association (AAA) celebrates the decision by one of its most influential sections to undertake efforts to expand the way its signature journal  is made available to scholars, researchers and the general public.

In 2012 the AAA Executive Board invited its sections to submit creative publishing proposals. The Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) responded with a proposal to transform Cultural Anthropology to an open access format. The plans, while still under development, will provide Cultural Anthropology at no charge to readers beginning in 2014.

While the publication will soon be available open access via Cultural Anthropology’s website, www.culanth.org, it will also remain available via AAA’s AnthroSource, the premier online portal serving the research, teaching and practicing needs of anthropologists.

AAA is very excited for the opportunity to test this format. This experiment will pave a path for the publishing program to learn best practices and responsible approaches towards a sustainable publishing model.

For additional details, please read the latest SCA press release.

AAA Releases Statement on OSTP memorandum

The U.S. President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently released a policy memorandum directing each Federal agency with over $100 million annually in research expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to federally funded research results. The American Anthropological Association applauds the OSTP’s collaboration-based approach to increasing access by working with the federal research funding agencies, and by encouraging these agencies to embrace the challenges and public interests that are unique to each field. The American Anthropological Association believes that when it comes to increasing access, it is highly appropriate to take into account the knowledge cycle, researchers who are not funded by the Federal Government, and the need to protect sensitive cultural data. Our members look forward to providing meaningful input over the next six months to the agencies’ plans to contribute to innovative breakthroughs through access to scientific data and research findings.

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