Posts Tagged ‘public anthropology’

Answers in the blogsphere – forget the databases

Little did I know Marc Herbert, who recently let me know about a call for papers for a new online journal, runs a fantastic site that deals with exactly the issue I’ve been pondering. For one, I love his use of wiki’s over blog posts for managing information. I need to get out of this confining blog structure asap. I wonder how many gold mine blogs I’ve been missing out on.

Why do anthropologists blog? Check out Marc’s anthropology 2.0 site.

Then go read Max’s post “Path’s Ahead” , which discusses why a public anthropology is important – as a means of reformulating the disciplinary focus, encouraging public engagement, and basically making anthropology something interesting outside the brains of professional anthropologists. I find it particularly interesting to note that theres no quick way to do this, and I’m glad there are no expectations for student blogs like this one to actually encourage public interest! 😛

Also, here is a great post from Max about blogging – asking the same questions I have been about who aside teachers and students might be interested in anthropology. He points out that to some extent, it is written for himself. This is very true of my blog, and I do think its helped me focus ideas for my research. And on the issue of public anthropology, blogs are perhaps the richest source for information.

During a discussion related to my mini-ethnography “Why Do Anthropologists Blog?”, one interviewee [lol dare I say informant in public???] felt that to a large extent blogging was part of our mass media, fame, superstar culture where we all want to make it big. This was a fun perspective to consider, even though I do disagree with it. [and if MTV wants to interview me I’m available]. A quick visit to the stats page is also quite ego calming.

Another fantastic resource discussing public anthropology can be found on the Remixing Anthropology blog. Kimberly Christen discusses her upcoming presentation:

“Within these new scenarios for collaboration and exchange come questions (and anxieties) about the properness of sharing—what information can be shared? What should be shared?”

I’ll be very choked if these presentations don’t get broadcast online!

a thought for who?

Alexandre Enkerli, ethnomusicologist, brewmaster, and blogger extraordinaire, recently commented on the possibilities for managing online content distribution in terms of confidentiality and trust. As I look into online communities, playing around with this blog and other peoples, I’ve certainly found it interesting and difficult to moderate what I say. I can’t tell who I’m talking to, and its been a learning experience figuring out the proper contexts to write. Enkerli has created a number of different blogs, and writes on a diverse set of topics. I joked around on one of his casual posts, and after reading it felt I didn’t do it justice in terms of maintaining a formal tone. Blogging anthropology challenges disciplinary boundaries in very interesting ways – especially when it comes to knowing how to relate to each other. Enkerli writes on numerous topics in multiple languages, some very academic, others very casual, and he does it all on the same blog.

What differentiates a comment on blog, from a comment with that same person in a conversation offline. Do anthropological blogs have particular demands for commentators? When mixing styles of messages, how can we target the appropriate audience? It’s not just a matter of writing privately, and publicly.

What exactly will academics gain from increased feedback with those outside the halls of universities? (pardon me as I fart in the air, but I need to get this proposal together asap, and this happens to be whats on my mind). Is it worth exposing formal academic thought to casual feedback? Are the walls of the ivory tower (authority, prestige, discipline) there to protect intellectuals from hordes of casual barbaric commentators? At the same time, lots of very thoughtful discussions are carried on in the midst of casual banter. Am I wrong to differentiate casual from thoughtful? Is thoughtfulness a kind of formality? The demand for thoughtfulness anyways. [this all somehow relates to the part in my proposal asking how anthropological knowledge is distributed online – and how disciplinary boundaries are changed].

To try and get a more rational perspective I need to go back and find out why exactly disciplinary boundaries are problematic. Currently “I know” that we need to be more interdisciplinary, and “I know” we should publish things open access. Unfortunately I can’t support my feelings very well. Off to the databases…