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).
Posts from the ‘Good News’ Category
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.
There is way too much stuff going on in my life and work these days. Most of it is really good stuff, but it is hard to keep up. Before moving on to new reporting, here are some good news highlights from recent weeks.
Colleagues and I shepherded into print the 50th volume (=golden anniversary) of the Journal of Folklore Research, for which I serve as Interim Editor. JFR 50(1-3), a triple issue (!), is a special one titled Ethnopoetics, Narrative Inequality, and Voice: The Legacy of Dell Hymes and is guest edited by Paul V. Kroskrity (UCLA) and Anthony Webster (Texas). The guest editors contributed a post about the issue for the IU Press Journals Blog and the triple issue itself is can be found on the Project Muse and JSTOR digital platforms. Thanks to all who have supported JFR over its first five decades.
The Open Folklore project recently released a new version of the OF portal site. The new site incorporates a range of new features and is built upon the latest version of Drupal. I hope that it is already helping you with your own research efforts. If you have not seen it yet, check it out at http://openfolklore.org/
The new issue of Ethnohistory is out and it includes a generous and positive review of Yuchi Indian Histories Before the Removal Era. The reviewer is Marvin T. Smith, author of several key works on the archaeology and ethnohistory of the Native South. Find it (behind a paywall) here: http://ethnohistory.dukejournals.org/content/60/4.toc
A while back, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures opened a fine exhibition curated by IU Folklore graduate student Meredith McGriff. It is Melted Ash: Michiana Wood Fired Pottery and it is a sight to behold. If you have not seen it, stop by the museum and check it out.
Open Access week just kicked off and there are a lot of activities planned for the IUB campus. To get things started my friend and collaborator Jennifer Laherty did an interview with WFHB. It is about 8 minutes long and it can be found on the station’s website: http://wfhb.org/news/open-access-week/
The very talented Bethany Nolan was kind enough to talk to me about Yuchi Folklore and to write about our discussion for her Art at IU blog.
The Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians just held its 17th (!!!!) annual Heritage Days festival. A few years ago a Miss Yuchi/Euchee was added to the festivities and the young women chosen have been great representatives of their nation. This year another awesome young woman was selected. Congratulations to A.S. on being selected for this big honor and big responsibility.
IU President McRobbie’s recent trip to South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana has proven incredibly timely for projects coming to fruition at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. The IU delegation began its trip with extensive consultations in South Africa and this linked up nicely with the Margaret Bourke-White exhibition that we opened today. In one of his many compelling stories from the trip, Ryan Piurek recounted the deep history of positive university involvement in South African partnerships and projects, concluding his story with reflections on the Bourke-White exhibition as a current collaboration, one that will see the exhibition travel to two South African venues.
The President’s trip is concluding with a visit to another African nation where IU has deep ties and a long history of collaboration–Ghana. At MMWC, we are very excited that the museum is also connecting with audiences, communities, collaborators, and research opportunities in Ghana. While the museum’s ties to Ghana and scholars of the nation are multiple, the story right now centers on the work of IU art history graduate student, and MMWC collaborator, Brittany Sheldon. With MMWC help, Brittany has developed an exhibition based on her research on traditional decoratively painted houses. The exhibition State of an Art: Contemporary Ghanaian Bambɔlse will be presented this fall at the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board. The exhibition features Sheldon’s photographs documenting the red, black, and white designs (bambɔlse) that adorn the earthen walls of houses in the Upper East Region in Ghana.
Congratulations to Brittany on her exhibition and good luck to her in her continued studies with Ghanaian artists and tradition bearers.
Congratulations to exhibition curator Alex Lichtenstein on the very successful opening, this evening, of “Photos in Black and White: Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid in South Africa.” More than 130 students, community members, photography enthusiasts, faculty members, Mathers Museum boosters, and Mellon Innovating International Research, Teaching and Collaboration (MIIRT) conference participants converged on the MMWC from 4 to 6 pm today to see, and learn from, Alex’s exhibition, to discuss South Africa, past and present, and to hear from Alex and two special guests from South Africa–Dudu Madonsela, Chief Curator at the Bensusan Museum of Photography in Johannesburg, and leading contemporary photographer Cedric Nunn. Thanks to everyone who participated in the opening and who lent support to the exhibition and its associated activities.
If you missed the opening, or just want to go further with it, you can check out the companion website, attend the upcoming symposium or film series, and, for the truly ambitious, see the exhibition when it travels to South Africa next year. The exhibition can, of course, be seen at the MMWC throughout the rest of 2013.
The latest episode of WFIU’s program Artworks does a great job of introducing the work of two of my IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology colleagues. Kate Horigan discusses so-called urban legends, the subject of one of her current courses. On the occasion of Traditional Arts Indiana being recognized with a Governor’s Arts Award, Jon Kay describes its many projects around the state of Indiana. No point of my writing about it, when the great show is there ready for you to listen to. Find it here:
A quick note to report that Yuchi Folklore: Cultural Expression in Southeastern Native American Community is now in print and available from the University of Oklahoma Press (its publisher), Amazon.com, and other booksellers. Any royalties that the book might generate will be forwarded directly from the publisher to the Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians for its use in its cultural and historical preservation efforts. (So anyone who purchases the book is helping a not-for-profit university press with special interest in the peoples and histories of Oklahoma, and (if the book can first cover its production costs), also contributing in a small way to the cultural work of the Euchee people.)
Two of the book’s chapters were co-authored with Mary S. Linn, whom I want to thank for joining me in the effort. We both have benefited tremendously from the kindness and support of numerous Euchee (Yuchi) individuals and their help is hopefully meaningfully represented in the volume. None of our Euchee friends are responsible, of course, for the book’s shortcomings.
Chairman Andrew Skeeter (Euchee [Yuchi] Tribe of Indians) and Daniel Swan (Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History) provided generous blurbs appearing on the book’s back cover and two smart reviewers for the press provided great feedback which, I hope, was meaningfully put to use in my revision of the book. Thanks to them all as well.
The University of Oklahoma Press was a joy to work with and I very much appreciate its great efforts on my behalf.
Rather than summarize the book here, feel encouraged to check out its page at the University of Oklahoma Press.
“But now the greatest wonder is in Uncle Sam’s fair land…”
Someone needs to write a song in the style of Woodie Guthrie’s tunes celebrating the impressiveness and impact of the Grand Coulee Dam (I am not big on damming rivers, btw) about the new Green open access policy of the University of California system. Congratulations to the UC faculty on this monumental and impactful accomplishment. Thanks especially to Chris Kelty for his adept leadership. It is hard enough organizing an OA mandate effort on a single research university campus, but doing all of a unique system like the University of California is simply astounding.
Here is the announcement:
University of California Faculty Senate Passes Open Access Policy
Professor Christopher Kelty, UCLA
Professor Richard Schneider, UC San Francisco
Professor Robert Powell, Chair, Academic Council
The Academic Senate of the University of California has passed an Open Access Policy, ensuring that future research articles authored by faculty at all 10 campuses of UC will be made available to the public at no charge. “The Academic Council’s adoption of this policy on July 24, 2013, came after a six-year process culminating in two years of formal review and revision,” said Robert Powell, chair of the Academic Council. “Council’s intent is to make these articles widely—and freely— available in order to advance research everywhere.” Articles will be available to the public without charge via eScholarship (UC’s open access repository) in tandem with their publication in scholarly journals. Open access benefits researchers, educational institutions, businesses, research funders and the public by accelerating the pace of research, discovery and innovation and contributing to the mission of advancing knowledge and encouraging new ideas and services.
Chris Kelty, Associate Professor of Information Studies, UCLA, and chair of the UC University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC), explains, “This policy will cover more faculty and more research than ever before, and it sends a powerful message that faculty want open access and they want it on terms that benefit the public and the future of research.”
The policy covers more than 8,000 UC faculty at all 10 campuses of the University of California, and as many as 40,000 publications a year. It follows more than 175 other universities who have adopted similar so-called “green” open access policies. By granting a license to the University of California prior to any contractual arrangement with publishers, faculty members can now make their research widely and publicly available, re-use it for various purposes, or modify it for future research publications. Previously, publishers had sole control of the distribution of these articles. All research publications covered by the policy will continue to be subjected to rigorous peer review; they will still appear in the most prestigious journals across all fields; and they will continue to meet UC’s standards of high quality. Learn more about the policy and its implementation here: http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/openaccesspolicy/
UC is the largest public research university in the world and its faculty members receive roughly 8% of all research funding in the U.S. With this policy UC Faculty make a commitment to the public accessibility of research, especially, but not only, research paid for with public funding by the people of California and the United States. This initiative is in line with the recently announced White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directive requiring “each Federal Agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to results of the research funded by the Federal Government.” The new UC Policy also follows a similar policy passed in 2012 by the Academic Senate at the University of California, San Francisco, which is a health sciences campus.
“The UC Systemwide adoption of an Open Access (OA) Policy represents a major leap forward for the global OA movement and a well-deserved return to taxpayers who will now finally be able to see first-hand the published byproducts of their deeply appreciated investments in research” said Richard A. Schneider, Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and chair of the Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication at UCSF. “The ten UC campuses generate around 2-3% of all the peer-reviewed articles published in the world every year, and this policy will make many of those articles freely available to anyone who is interested anywhere, whether they are colleagues, students, or members of the general public”
The adoption of this policy across the UC system also signals to scholarly publishers that open access, in terms defined by faculty and not by publishers, must be part of any future scholarly publishing system. The faculty remains committed to working with publishers to transform the publishing landscape in ways that are sustainable and beneficial to both the University and the public.