I really enjoyed listening to the new Anthropod podcast on open access in anthropology. Focusing on the move of Cultural Anthropology to an open access model, hosts Bascom Guffin and Jonah S Rubin have done a great job with the podcast. I urge everyone to check out their well produced conversations with Sean Dowdy (of Hau), Alex Golub (of Savage Minds and many OA discussions), Brad Weiss (past SCA President), and Timothy Elfenbein (Cultural Anthropology Managing Editor).
From a call for applicants being circulated by the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology, Harvard University…
The Undergraduate Degree Program in Folklore and Mythology is seeking applications for a College Fellow to teach three undergraduate courses in the field during the 2014-15 academic year. The remaining 25% of the appointment will be reserved for the Fellow’s research program. The Fellow may also be asked to advise one senior thesis and to evaluate senior theses. Applicants must have a doctorate in hand by the start of academic year 2014-15. The appointment is for one year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. Please submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae, along with a list of proposed courses, by March 15, 2014. We encourage applications from candidates in Departments including but not limited to Folklore and Anthropology, as well as in Departments of Languages and Literatures, and in Area Studies.
Harvard is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Applications from women and minorities are strongly encouraged.
Instructions on how to apply may be found here:
[The letter in which I first saw this opening explained that the due date had changed to the March 15, 2014 date shown above. Applicants will wish to get to the bottom of the question of due date.]
I would like to share news of the formation of an interest group in an area of interest that I know I share with many Shreds and Patches readers. The group is known as the “Digital Practices in History and Ethnography” Interest Group and it is a constituent interest group within the Research Data Alliance (RDA), an international initiative to facilitate the development of effective data practices, standards and infrastructure in particular research areas, and across research areas. The RDA aims to enhance capacity to archive, preserve, analyze and share data, and to foster collaboration across research communities. My DPHE colleagues and I invite you to join this interest group, and to participate in its online discussions. Biannual RDA meetings are an opportunity to meet face-to-face with others in our area, and with researchers in other areas.
The RDA website describes RDA’s full array of interest and working groups, and the mission, structure and process of the RDA. You can join the DPHE interest group at no cost by following these steps:
1. Navigate to the RDA website. https://rd-alliance.org/
2. Register in the top right hand corner of the site.
3. Once you’ve finished your registration and are logged in, navigate here: https://www.rd-alliance.org/internal-groups/digital-practices-history-and-ethnography-ig.html
4. In the middle of the page, click Request Group Membership
5. Answer the form question with a yes, and then you should be subscribed.
The second RDA Plenary was held in Washington D.C. September 16-18, 2013. Our group discussed its mission and plan at a session on Wednesday afternoon, and circulated a list of discussion questions for on-going consideration by the group.
We’ve now started a discussion thread about metadata in historical and ethnographic research.
We’ve also scheduled held several project review sessions and plan to continue holding these events online in coming months. Early sessions in our series have looked at the
Perseids project (A Collaborative Editing Platform for Source Documents in Classics) http://sites.tufts.edu/perseids/
Nunaliit Atlas Framework http://nunaliit.org/
As detailed here, Garett Montanez and I will present tomorrow (2/13) at a project share (1 pm, eastern time) event focused on the Open Folklore project. The presentation will be online and is free and open to anyone interested.
The DPHE group will be pursuing additional project-focused presentations, as well as open discussions of common interests and concerns.
My fellow DPHE IG co-chairs Mike and Kim Fortun (RPI) and I look forward to your participation. Please let us know if you have
“The Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University invites applications for two one year positions as Visiting Lecturers to begin Fall 2014. We seek candidates with graduate training in folklore as well as experience in the teaching of introductory folklore classes and readiness to teach in one or more of the fields of narrative, belief, folklore of the United States, material culture and ethnographic methods.” Find more detail on the AFS website.
“Staten Island Arts, an arts service organization and presenter, seeks a Staff Folklorist to run a year-round Folk & Traditional Arts Program. Reporting to the Executive Director, Staten Island Folklife works directly with traditional artists and their communities to present, document, and safeguard the traditional cultural resources found throughout the borough. Over the past four years, Staten Island Arts Folklife has been under the direction of a single folklorist, and has established itself as a source of innovation, in the field of public sector folklore.” Find more details on the AFS website.
From the end of Matthew Pratt Guterl’s essay “Debt“:
There are many major issues with higher education, but the solutions to most of them are well beyond the reach of tenure-stream faculty. Chairs and department members can’t generally compel deans to do much of anything, because decisions about financial reallocation aren’t usually made by deans – they get made by Provosts and Presidents, by big donors, by trustees, and by students, who can always take their precious credit hours elsewhere.
There is, though, a metaphorical debt to be paid here. We owe graduate students a clear shot at a degree without an interest rate on the back end (so, a reasonable stipend, workshop space, and research support, but also financial counseling and informal support mechanisms). We owe them some very straight talk early in their coursework about an exit strategy if they aren’t going to make it. We owe them a direct path to the degree, and structures and cultures that make it possible for them to complete their work in decent time. We owe them degrees with somewhat flexible career outcomes. And we owe it to them to match the size of our incoming cohorts – as best as we possibly can – to the job market success of recent graduates, and not chiefly to the sometimes self-indulgent abstractions of graduate teaching.
These things are within reach. These things can be done.
Matt’s essay is part of a larger ongoing conversation happening with extra vigor, and also extra despair, right now. (I am not going to provide a pile of links here. If you are involved in training graduate students, are a graduate student, or think you want to be a graduate student, you should be plugged into this conversation. If you have not found it on your own, you should be reading Inside Higher Education and those parts of the Chronicle of Higher Education that you can access (it is not all freely accessible and not everyone has access to an institutional subscription). You should also be following the discussion on Twitter (@sarahkendzior and those whom she is in dialogue with would be a good start) and elsewhere on the open web.)
The timing of the debt discussion is particularly appropriate because right now, in research universities around the United States, academic departments with graduate programs are reviewing applications from would-be masters and doctoral students. Such departments face many hard to answer questions. Who to admit and why? How many students to admit? Of those admitted, how many will come? Will we provide financial support for some or all of those we admit? How long will it take for an admitted applicant to accomplish the learning and career goals that they are describing in their application? Can we adequately mentor and train the person we are learning about in a large but partial PDF file? What will the career prospects be for these applicants two or six or eight years from now? How is my university changing and how is the world changing and how will these changes shape the experiences of, and prospects for, these applicants?
In my own department, I am deeply involved in this process right now. No one can know exactly how to answer such questions or to perfectly do this work–and it is really work. When it is done and some of those applicants join us next fall, I will try my best to fulfill those obligations that Matt outlines in his essay. At least those things seem clear.
On Savage Minds, Alex Golub very generously celebrates the recent publication of a large quantity of open access journal articles in anthropology and neighboring fields. I wish to add one point. I am talking to you under-informed, confusion-promulgating open access skeptics.
Not one of the journals that Alex highlights in his new post (to which we can add the remarkable Hau, the focus of other recent posts (1, 2) on Savage Minds) relies upon author fees to achieve this abundance. It is fair to say that the growing embrace of gold and hybrid open access by large commercial publishers (old and new) has very properly accelerated discussion of author-side charges and their very significant downsides. This shift has also erased older binaries and made it harder to talk about open access more broadly. But those wishing to advance the pro-/con- discussion of gold open access have an obligation to understand facts on the ground and to stop prematurely overgeneralizing on the basis of ignorance. The widespread conflation of all forms of gold open access with author-pays gold open access is not only unhelpful, it is an insult to all of those academics (and others) who take time out from their own work to help review and publish the writings of their colleagues in free-to-all-internet users and free-to-author ways. It is also unfair to those generous agencies and individuals in the world who are donating cash and services and attention and expertise to the building out of a progressive open access publishing ecosystem.
The community of people engaging with open access questions critically, and even skeptically, needs to grow and I want to welcome rather than discourage newcomers. But, if you cannot take the time to study the subject of open access in sufficient depth to make evidence-based pronouncements, then you should stop talking and start listening.
Coda: In my world, the conflation is most often an honest mistake by well-meaning people but it is also sometimes intentional FUD. One illustration of the rhetorical steps one takes to malign gold open access through conflation are illustrated by Konrad M. Lawson in today’s ProfHacker post. (See also Open Access: Six Myths to Put to Rest.)
Museum Anthropology Review (MAR) has just published a new double issue—its first themed collection. Volume 7, number 1-2 of MAR collects papers originally presented at a January 2012 workshop titled “After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge.” Hosted by the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and funded by the (U.S.) National Science Foundation and the Understanding the American Experience and World Cultures Consortia of the Smithsonian Institution, the workshop was organized by Kimberly Christen (Washington State University), Joshua Bell (Smithsonian Institution), and Mark Turin (Yale University). The workshop brought together scholars from indigenous communities, cultural anthropology, folklore studies, ethnomusicology, linguistics, and collecting institutions to document best practices and case studies of digital repatriation in order to theorize the broad impacts of such processes in relation to: linguistic revitalization of endangered languages, cultural revitalization of traditional practices, and the creation of new knowledge stemming from the return of digitized material culture. Like the workshop itself, the peer-reviewed and revised papers collected in MAR ask how, and if, marginalized communities can reinvigorate their local knowledge practices, languages, and cultural products through the reuse of digitally repatriated materials and distributed technologies. The authors of the collected papers all have expertise in applied digital repatriation projects and share theoretical concerns that locate knowledge creation within both culturally specific dynamics and technological applications.
Find this special issue of MAR online at: http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/mar/issue/view/233
As it has always been, MAR is an open access, peer-reviewed journal free to all readers. With volume 8, to be published in 2014, MAR is becoming the journal of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. It will continue to be published in partnership with the Indiana University Libraries with assistance from the IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and other partners.
Its time for graduate students with material culture interests to think about, and follow through on, applying to participate in the 2014 Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology. This is a four-week training program focusing on the methods needed to incorporate museum collections into broader research efforts in cultural anthropology and in cognate ethnographic fields such as folklore studies.
Funded by the National Science Foundation and held at the Smithsonian Institution, the program covers students’ room, board, and tuition. Housing is provided as is a small stipend for food and other local expenses. Participants are individually responsible for the cost of travel to and from Washington, DC. This is an intensive residential program and the participants are expected to devote full time to the training. Anyone working with, or interested in working with, material culture collections in their research should check out the program. Details are on the SIMA website.
Applications are due on March 1, 2014.
For other NSF funded training programs in cultural anthropology, see the Methods Mall website.
The Mathers Museum of World Cultures (MMWC) is Indiana University‘s museum of ethnography, ethnology, and cultural history. Yesterday, the museum began its 51st year. Today I begin my second year as the museum’s director. It was an honor to have been named to this role and, as I reflect on my first year, I am really happy about where the museum is in its journey.
In a pair of posts, I would like to reflect upon the year just concluded and the year ahead. Not everyone is an excited about the details as I am, so I will place them below the “more” button. For those just skimming, I wish to thank you for keeping up with Shreds and Patches and for supporting the MMWC and the various projects that I am involved in. Thanks go as well to the museum’s staff, collaborators, students, policy committee members, donors, friends, funders, visitors and supporters. I extend special appreciation here to the leadership of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (the IU unit of which the MMWC is a part) and to Director Emeritus Geoffrey Conrad. Read more
Museums of Ethnography and Cultural History Celebrate Fiftieth Anniversaries and Welcome New Directors
I will say more detailed things about the Mathers Museum of World Cultures during 2013 in later posts. Here I just want to flag a few happy curiosities.
Today is the last day of 2013 and 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. This fact made it an extra wonderful year to begin service as the museum’s Director. The exhibition Treasures of the Mathers Museum was the centerpiece of our celebratory activities and a new strategic plan was the fruit of our reflections on the past and our goal setting for the future. We have made good progress on our goals for the second half century, but that is for a future post.
We were not alone among museums of ethnography, cultural history, and world cultures celebrating golden anniversaries in 2013. Joining us in such celebrations were the Fowler Museum at UCLA, the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology, and the Cherokee Heritage Center. (2013 saw other notable 50th anniversaries in the broader museum world, including the 50th anniversary of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee/Milwaukee Public Museum museum studies program.) Congratulations to all of the half century celebrants, especially to these museums in our corner of the field.
2013 was also a year for new directors among such museums. I am happy to be among them. My friend Candessa Tehee and I shared the experience of becoming directors during a 50th anniversary. Candessa is the new Executive Director of the Cherokee Heritage Center. Robert Preucel was named the new Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University and Patrick Lyons was named the new Director of the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona. The Cherokee Heritage Center was not the only Cherokee museum to get a new director, The Museum of the Cherokee Indian named James “Bo” Taylor as Executive Director. I am sure that I missed someone (please add them in the comments), but I want to wish all of these new directors well. It is an exciting time for our field and I look forward to seeing where we all collectively go during 2014.