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New Language and Culture Series on Anthropology News

Anthropology News has a new series that is launching this week on language and culture. Check out the latest piece from Jonathan D. Rosa, entitled Contesting Representations of Immigration. This piece is the first in a series of four pieces on the vital issue of immigration from the perspective of linguistic anthropology that will appear over the course of the next week.  It is also the inauguration of a new set of formalized discussions on specific issues related to language and culture.

Here is an excerpt from Rosa’s article:

Ongoing debates about U.S. immigration reform have sparked calls for the media and the public to refrain from using terms like “illegals,” “illegal immigrants,” “illegal aliens,” etc. to refer to unauthorized migrants. As scholars who study the ways that language constitutes culture and vice versa, it is intellectually and ethically imperative for linguistic anthropologists to contribute to this discussion.

Much of the current debate surrounding this issue focuses on whether the term “illegal” is a truthful characterization of certain people’s migration status. For example, in the explanation that accompanied a 2011 update to the Associated Press Stylebook, widely regarded as the U.S. news media industry standard, Deputy Standards Editor David Minthorn suggested that “illegal immigrant” should be the preferred term because it is “accurate and neutral for news stories.” In contrast, organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists have described “illegal immigrant” as a “politically charged” phrase that should be reevaluated for its potential violation of the widely embraced journalistic practice of assuming innocence until guilt is proven. Others have made the related case that “illegal” is at best a misleading generalization, at worst a slur. A person diagnosed with cancer is not described as cancerous; however, “illegal” becomes a way of characterizing not just one’s migration status, but also one’s entire person. This perspective has galvanized a campaign to “Drop the I-Word.”

The “Drop the I-Word” campaign resonates with a central tenet of linguistic anthropology: language is a not merely a passive way of referring to or describing things in the world, but a crucial form of social action. Thus we need to ask: What forms of social action take place in and through popular representations of immigration?

Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

Balancing Print and Online: More Anthropology News in 2013

*The following also appears in the October 2012 (53.8) issue of Anthropology News.

Before the internet, AN was instrumental in communicating deadlines and details, as well as discussing issues through commentaries and letters to the editor. However, the web’s accelerated pace of communication has made print AN content regarding upcoming events out-of-date by the time it gets in our readers’ hands. We also see that some of the most passionate discussions about anthropology occur online, where almost anyone can join the fray. A persistent question in the AN office for several years has been: how can AN remain a relevant resource and member benefit?

In 2011, we launched anthropology-news.org to provide faster publishing and more interactivity with AN essays. In spring 2012, AN conducted its regular readership survey. The previous one was conducted in 2008. In addition to our standard questions about reader satisfaction, we wanted to hear feedback about the best balance between AN in print and anthropology-news.org. We used those responses, as well as AN -related responses from other recent AAA surveys to guide us in moving forward.

2012 Survey Highlights

As in past surveys, members continue to highly value AN. The common refrain was that it helped members stay connected to anthropology overall by seeing what’s going on throughout the discipline. At the same time, many respondents struggled with what the AN editorial office also struggles with: a love of print but an understanding of its high cost for printing and distribution.

Anthropology-news.org is one year old, but we have to improve our communication about its availability, as only 38% of survey respondents had accessed the site at all in the four months before the survey. Numerous comments indicated a willingness to go to the website if they had known about it. Efforts to better communicate anthropology-news.org have begun with AN ’s Twitter feed that launched in May (@news4anthros), share buttons with each online essay, and monthly email alerts about content.

Continuous Online, Bimonthly Print

The challenge for planning AN in 2013 and beyond revolves around the critical need to balance the print-online relationship and develop AN ’s value for members without requiring a larger subsidy from membership. One way to maintain and increase AN ’s value for our members, supported by the survey, is to adjust it to be more visible, more timely, and more interactive than other AAA publications. We are already set up to do this online. When asked about AN print frequency options to help with costs, the most respondents (30%) supported eliminating print AN entirely. The second strongest response was 28% supporting AN in print six times a year. Regarding the current frequency, only 9% indicated support for keeping it at nine times a year.

Starting in January 2013, AN will publish essays and reports online first—and continually—on anthropology-news.org. AN staff will produce twelve thematic series and issues instead of nine. By publishing online first, the site will publish more short thematic series as well and be able to address more timely topics.

The AN print editions will feature the best of these anthropological contributions from the website and matters of record for the association. The print issue will have a bimonthly publishing cycle that runs throughout the calendar year, rather than a generally monthly one with a three-month summer hiatus. This change can also help AAA reach out to our members who work outside of the academy. The six print issues will be published at the beginning of January, March, May, July, September and November.

By flipping the model—online first, print second—we can publish more rich anthropological content in a more timely way with more voices, and then share in print the anthropology essays that turn out the best, spark the most conversation, or are shared the most by readers. This will enhance the AN website as a location for ongoing coverage with an increase in essays and discussions. All content will continue to be archived in AnthroSource.

The print issue will continue to include traditional newsletter content, remaining a conduit for association information. Some content may be published on anthropology-news.org and in print, such as the president’s column, association reports and death notices. These are items that generally do not appear on the AAA website or blog. Other content may be included just in print as part of the AAA historical record: election results, board minutes, donor recognition.

New AN

With this shift in AN’s publishing schedule, I’m also implementing a few editorial changes.

First, AN will increase to 12 issues per year at anthropology-news.org and on AnthroSource. Each issue will include all the main content (calendar and items from the right-hand sidebar omitted) published on anthropology-news.org in that calendar month. Essays (whether Opinion or In Focus pieces) will be selected for the print based on web metrics regarding usage, user feedback via online ratings and shares, pingbacks, discussion, and overall quality and length of the piece.

Content on anthropology-news.org will continue to be publically available, open access to all. To accommodate the flipped publishing schedule and to conserve server space, online content will be open for approximately four months, rather than the current two months.

For annual meeting information, AN will continue to inform members about the annual meeting city, deadlines, major events, and the call for proposals. However, some information, such as time and locations of specific sessions, benefits from more accurate and up-to-date information by being available only online. We have already been encouraging section and committee editors to disseminate such details through their online AN columns and listservs to limit out-of-date information in print AN.

Section News will also change. Section editors will contribute columns online at anthropology-news.org, and may do so as often as any individual contributing editor would like. As with the other essays, those columns with a focus on anthropological work, commentary or analysis may be selected for any print issue. AN is also setting aside space for Section News three times a year specifically in print: in the March, July and November print issues. The survey indicates that members do not find print AN the primary way to advertise upcoming events or to remain in touch with their sections. Furthermore, 67% of respondents indicated strong support for having section columns online only. The primary means of communication for section meeting details should be through listservs and other online communication.

In addition to being able to publish at any time on anthropology-news.org, contributing editors and columnists will be given a higher word count for their regular columns. Each column can be up to 1,000 words, as opposed to the strict current limit of 700 words for print columns. Any column pulled from the website for print publication may be up to 1,000. And each of the three print columns Sections have per year may also be up to 1,000 words.

This new publishing schedule will help allow AN to reach out to more people, in a more timely, relevant way. We developed anthropology-news.org to facilitate the publication and sharing of essays about all facets of anthropology with anthropologists, and help raise the profile of anthropology among potential anthropologists, media and the general public.

As I write this, AN has a new essay on the website by Harjant Gill called “Unthreatening the Sikh Turban.” The lead-in is about the shootings at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5. The essay shares insight only an anthropologist (or possibly a folklorist) could articulate. There will be more breaking news stories that could use the anthropological lens. AN is here to help you share that with members and the public.

Anthropology News

Anthropology News

Anthropology News

News for Anthropologists

Security Measures Surrounding the 2008 Olympic Games

As athletes strive for the Olympic Gold this summer in London, Anthropology News takes an anthropological look into the Games.

Kevin Carrico reflects on the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in his article Celebration and Security. He was studying in China when the International Olympic Committee announced the host city of the 2008 Games. Carrico returns to China in 2008 to observe the Olympic experience for local Chinese outside of Beijing. The outcome of such research is surprising. Here is an excerpt:

Photo courtesy Kevin Carrico

In the summer of 2001, when the International Olympic Committee named the Chinese capital Beijing as the host for the 2008 Olympics, I was studying in the former southern capital of Nanjing. Despite marked geographical and temporal distance from the event, excitement and celebration reigned that July evening. Crowds cheered before televisions broadcasting the news live, drivers honked their horns in celebration, bar patrons engaged in repeated calls of “bottoms up (gan bei),” and acquaintances and friends repeatedly asked, “did you hear?” The geographical and historical gap between the two cities was sutured by a manufactured intimacy seemingly encompassing “China” as a whole, while the temporal gap was sutured by anticipation and already rapidly-growing expectations. Acquaintances, seemingly unfulfilled by the present moment, repeatedly encouraged me, “you’ll have to come back in 2008!”

Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

Read more Olympic articles in the new online summer edition of Anthropology News.

Anthropology News Gets Olympic Fever

Photo by David Poultney for LOCOG

Calling all sports fans! This summer Anthropology News has Olympic fever. In Anthropology News’ very first electronic summer issue, readers get an anthropological vista of the Olympic Games.

Over the course of the Games, we’ll highlight this AN Olympic series which includes articles about the professional athletes, paralympians, gender verification, spectators and security preparations to pull of such a spectacular international event.

Don’t want to wait to read it on the AAA Blog? Head over to the Anthropology News website now to read this summer’s issue!

AN Proposals on Power Due June 15

With the fall 2012 US national elections on the horizon, there are more and more conversations in the media about power. On the most basic level, the election is about who should set the country’s policies and direction. However, in the run-up to the election, organized groups are harnessing and wielding their influence and power as already seen through the primaries, advertising, and voting registration drives. But elections are hardly the only way people gain power and use it.

In honor of this year’s national election, Anthropology News invites proposals for a series on power. While stemming from the US elections, this series will go beyond politics and power. AN seeks proposals that may include, but are not limited to, explorations on power in terms of: governance; policy development; institutional power; activism; language; inequality; influence; gender; economic development; colonialism and imperialism; and in specific contexts, such as at the local, state, national, and international levels.  Proposals may also focus on specific empowered or disempowered groups,  or investigate interpersonal dimensions of power, such as among family, colleagues and community members.


We welcome proposals from current AAA members for In Focus commentaries, Teaching Strategies articles, Field Notes pieces, photo essays, photo features, news stories, interviews and more. Proposals for photo essays should also include up to five high resolution photographs (tiff or jpg), each with a caption and credit. Multimedia submissions are especially encouraged to be featured on www.anthropology-news.org. All accepted contributions will be published online at www.anthropology-news.org for up to 1,600 words for commentaries, with flexible space for supplemental artwork and other supporting files. Thematic contributions for print AN will be determined based on when completed In Focus contributions of 1,100–1,300 words in length are submitted.

Selected authors will be notified of their status in July and full articles will be due August 15.

To submit a proposal, either:

(1) Use the new online AN Proposal System for your 300-word abstract, brief biosketch, and more at www.aaanet.org/customcf/an/login.cfm;  or

(2) Email a 300-word abstract and 50–100-word biosketch to AN Managing Editor Amy Goldenberg

 Proposal deadline: June 15.

Follow Anthropology News on Twitter

Anthropology News is now on Twitter! Follow Anthropology News to keep up to date on the latest news, opinion pieces, announcements and much more at @news4anthros


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