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Posts from the ‘Good News’ Category

Reflections and Reports on Open Access Published in the New Issue of Cultural Anthropology (@culanth)

The new, May 2014 issue of Cultural Anthropology is out now. It is the second issue of the journal to be made freely available online, which means anyone with internet access can read it. (Hurray.) In support of the journal’s commitment to understanding and pursuing open access approaches to scholarly communication, the new issue has a dedicated section of peer-reviewed contributions focused on open access in the journal publishing realm.

I am happy be one of the contributors to this section. Ryan Anderson and I revised and updated an earlier interview on open access that we did together. We calibrated the new version to contemporary circumstances, included specific discussions of the Cultural Anthropology case, and sketched a critical anthropology of contemporary scholarly communications practices. It was exciting not only to revise the interview but to improve it on the basis of appreciated peer-review. We think of the piece as an experiment in genre too, as the interview was a textual co-construction in which we revised and altered each others’ words with the goal of creating the most useful resource that we could. It began as a true interview, but did not end there. (In this, its inspiration was an earlier Cultural Anthropology piece on open access “Cultural Anthropology of/in Circulation.”) The interview’s primary function among the other pieces is as an introduction to open access practices. We hope that it is useful in this role. We appreciate everyone who has already expressed kind appreciation for the piece.

There are many great pieces in the open access section (see list below). I am only now reading the other articles in the issue. Charles’ Briggs’s “Dear Dr. Freud” is compelling.

A key thing about the way that the Society for Cultural Anthropology is doing its journal and website is that the site is a rich hub for content both in support of the journal and extending well beyond it. Articles are often richly supplemented with interviews, images, and media and there are also opinion pieces, shorter works, photo galleries and much additional content. While Chris Kelty is present in the open access section of the journal, I want to call attention to his even newer opinion piece, which was published today. In it, he makes a strong case for the adoption of Creative Commons licenses for Cultural Anthropology going forward. I share his views.

There is lots to read in the new issue. Here are the open access pieces.

I really like the Glossary. It allowed me to get a definition of FUD into the pages of Cultural Anthropology! (Learning the term was the only good thing about the PRISM fiasco, an episode that seems so long ago now.)

The issue is receiving a good bit of discussion on Twitter but, as so often happens, there will probably be only a tiny amount of commenting on the journal site–even though there is great infrastructure in place to allow for it. I invite everyone to prove me wrong. Be brave and leave a comment on any of the papers.

Thank you to @culanth editors Anne Allison and Charles Piot for their hard work and for including the piece that Ryan and I did. Thanks as well to @culanth Managing Editor Tim Elfenbein for his hard work on the issue.

Cool News Briefs

Many graduate and undergraduate students received keen awards at today’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology Picnic. Congratulations everyone!

A couple of Fridays ago, all of the practicum students at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures made PechaKucha style (Ignite style, AFS Diamond style, etc.) presentations on the work that they have been doing throughout the museum. It was simply amazing! So inspiring. So well done. So impactful. This was our first semester hosting such an evening. The event will return in the fall. Learn more about MMWC practicum here: http://www.indiana.edu/~mathers/museumprac.html

Back in April, Art at IU featured the latest news from the MMWC Ostrom Project. The focus is on the exhibit Ojibwe Public Art, Ostrom Private Lives. Check it out http://viewpoints.iu.edu/art-at-iu/2014/04/14/ojibwe-art-collected-by-ostroms-on-display-now-at-mathers-museum/

One of that exhibition’s Co-Curators, School of Education Ph.D. student Sarah Clark has just launched a scholarly blog along with Dr. Adrea Lawrence of the University of Montana. The site is Education’s Histories. Its great. Check it out: http://www.educationshistories.org

I have not been able to keep up with all the good news from student rites of passage. Here is a catchup.

Teri Klassen is now Dr. Teri Klassen, after her successful Ph.D. dissertation defense. Her dissertation is titled: Quiltmaking and Social Order in the Tennessee Delta in the Middle 20th Century

Melissa Strickland and Meredith McGriff have earned their M.A. degrees in folklore.

Kelley Totten and Darlynn Dietrich have completed their Ph.D. qualifying exams and are now officially at work on their dissertations.

Sarah Gordon has her dissertation defense schedule for next week! Jon Kay has his scheduled for the first day of the fall semester!

Dr. Gabrielle Berlinger will return to Bloomington to join Dr. Klassen in this week’s graduate commencement ceremonies.

This is just a small sample of all the good stuff going on.

Update: I just saw that Dr. Candessa Tehee defended her dissertation today! So great.

Check Out the New Anthropod Podcast on Open Access

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).

Find it in context here: http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/492-8-can-scholarship-be-free-to-read-cultural-anthropology-goes-open-access

2013 at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures

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.

Good News Roundup

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/

In September, two scholars whose Ph.D. committees I chaired finished their doctorates. Congratulations to Dr. Flory Gingging and Dr. Gabrielle Berlinger!

I noted the award quickly previously, but I had a great time attending the Indiana Governor’s Arts Awards where Traditional Arts Indiana, led by my friend and colleague Jon Kay, was recognized.

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 and MMWC in Ghana

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.

House Painting in Ghana

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.

Brittany is in Ghana now and is documenting her continued studies on her blog. For details on the exhibition that she has worked with the MMWC to develop, see the museum’s website.

Congratulations to Brittany on her exhibition and good luck to her in her continued studies with Ghanaian artists and tradition bearers.

Bourke-White Exhibition Opening

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.

Artworks Features IU Folklorists Kate Horigan (on Urban Legends) and Jon Kay (on TAI)

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:

http://indianapublicmedia.org/artworks/tais-governors-arts-award-urban-legends-late-john-thom/

Yuchi Folklore: Cultural Expression in a Southeastern Native American Community

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.)

Cover of Yuchi Folklore

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.

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