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Help us name-storm

The AAA received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to build a book review prototype. But “Book Review Prototype,” as a name, lacks the je ne sais quoi  we need to describe a new digital platform that publishes open access book reviews and wraps up new Web 2.0 functionality (like commenting tools, cover .gifs, and links to purchase books).

AAA and the prototype’s new editor, Justin Shaffner, want to hear which name do you like?

AAA Welcomes Justin Shaffner as Book Review Editor for Digital Book Review Process

The American Anthropological Association has named Justin Shaffner as Book Review Editor for its new digital book review platform. This innovative project is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Justin ShaffnerJustin is currently completing his PhD thesis in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He previously studied anthropology and philosophy at the University of Virginia.

He brings to the AAA Book Review editorship nearly fifteen years of experience in academic publishing, as well as involvement in various other digital projects, such as the Open Anthropology Cooperative and The Melanesian. Some of the former includes working with Prickly Pear Pamphlets (1999-2004), helping to ­found two open ­access journals, OAC Press (2009-2014) and Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory (2011), and being assistant (2003-2005) and associate editor (2009-2015) for Anthropology and Humanism, the journal of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, a section of the AAA.

He conducted 18 months of fieldwork (2006-2008) with Marind speakers living in Middle Fly and Lake Murray region of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. His research focused on the experiences of kamok-anim, or community leaders, as they attempted to elicit and maintain productive relations across various global alliances, from regional ritual networks to relations with transnational mining and logging corporations, NGOs, and the state.

His doctoral thesis takes the Marind concept of “dema” (cf. Van Baal 1966) as a starting point to analyze and describe the trans-­Fly, which spans both sides of the international border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, as a complex regional system. Taking inspiration from the Melanesian philosopher Bernard Narokobi (1977), he attempts to take the concept seriously, not as a “religion” (cf. Jensen 1963), but rather as a geo­philosophy, or philosophy of nature, in its own right, one which affords an opportunity to re­describe the environment, history, and political economy of the region.

More recently, his ethnographic research has served as impetus for co-organizing (with Rachel Douglas-Jones, Casper Bruun Jensen, and Brit Ross Winthereik) a workshop in Copenhagen in 2015 on capacity building, “Hope and Insufficiency: Capacity Building in Ethnographic Comparison.” The international workshop, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, seeks to bring into dialogue scholars whose work offers a comparative basis for analyzing capacity building from which to advance the first edited volume dedicated to theorizing capacity building in ethnographic comparison.

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.

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.

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.

Analysis of the Publishing Program and its Future

The Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing (CFPEP) in conjunction with the AAA publishing staff just completed a year-long effort to canvass the program and its future. These inquiries were motivated by the recognition that the publishing program as it is currently configured is vulnerable to the changing environment for scholarly publishing. The results include 1) an analysis of AAA’s publishing program by an outside consultant, Raym Crow and 2) the summary of findings from the May 2012 publishing survey. Both documents and a cover memo are being released to AAA membership, in order to help the Association assess its current publishing model and suggest potential alternatives.

This research represents another effort in an ongoing conversation about the future of the publishing program, which has included two sessions at the AAA 2011 Montreal Annual Meeting (see: http://vimeo.com/album/1821564 and http://vimeo.com/album/1814558 to view presentations for which we received permission to record), and an October 2011 Anthropology News article that appeared in the “Association Business” section of the paper.

To access the cover memo, Crow’s report, and the survey findings, current AAA members may login and click on “My Information” (left-hand side). The findings appear under header “AAA Member Documents.” You may need to scroll down to view this area.

CFPEP and its parent committee, the Anthropological Communication Committee, and AAA publishing staff welcome suggestions, ideas, and proposals from any member and they may be submitted to Chelsea Horton of the AAA Publications Office (chorton@aaanet.org) by January 18, 2013.

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