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Posts from the ‘Speaking’ Category

Don’t Miss the Great Mathers Museum Building Debate


Built in the early 1980s, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures building is an example of Brutalist architecture, a modernist style reviled by some and revered by others. Two Indiana University historians with a research expertise in architecture fall squarely into one camp or the other. Eric Sandweiss, the current chair of the Department of History, and Michael Dodson, the current chair of the Dhar India Studies Program and a faculty member in the Department of History, have agreed to participate in a spirited debate on the relative beauty (or lack thereof) of the Mathers Museum building. In doing so, they will provide general insights into contemporary architecture and the contrasting and competing ways that beauty has been embraced, complicated, or rejected as a criterion for the evaluation and understanding of the built environment. The debate will be free and open to the public, and is sponsored by Themester 2016: Beauty, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the President.

See also the Themester and Museum events pages for this big event.

Tomorrow! Workshop on Social Media and Academic Freedom

Social media panel discussion flyer

On “New Forms of Scholarly Communication”

Presented below are remarks prepared for a meeting of Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) Department Chairs and Academic Associate Deans hosted by the IUB Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs. The focus of the larger gathering was a campus-wide discussion of tenure and promotion issues, with a special emphasis on current draft revisions to campus-level tenure and promotion guidelines. The task assigned to me was to reflect on the place of new forms of scholarly communication in the tenure and promotion mix. Other speakers were recruited to address diversity, interdisciplinarity, and public scholarly engagement. Speakers were grouped into two person panels and allotted five (and only five) minutes for a statement. Ten minutes of discussion was scheduled on each theme following the two presentations.

Because it was a campus-wide event and because it was anticipated by the vice provost that my co-presenter Ruth Stone would speak about issues in the digital humanities, I endeavored to draw my examples from further afield. The brevity of the assignment precluded discussion of many of my favorite examples and many relevant issues (ex: the role of scholarly societies or issues of open access) were not raised at all. To help my listeners find their way to the conversations that I evoked, I offer my text here with the links that oral presentation could not facilitate.

There are countless resources available for the purpose of gaining an introduction to the subject of change in scholarly communication. One very reasonable and appropriate overview–inclusive of a call for wider discussion among researchers–is available in Karla L. Hahn’s (2008) “Talk About Talking About New Models of Scholarly Communication.”

My thanks go to Vice Provost Tom Gieryn for the opportunity to make this presentation.

. . .

While I will use a few examples, my task is to reinforce four general themes that you are probably already are carrying into discussions with your departmental and disciplinary colleagues—change, genres, processes, and metrics.

Change. As reflected in the draft guidelines, junior faculty are pursuing careers that bear less and less resemblance to those of their mentors. As with most forms of cultural change, there will be losses and gains attendant to these shifts. Regardless of our own hopes and fears, we have an obligation to engage with the shifts happening to us. A fringe benefit of moments of discontinuity is that they help us focus more intensively on our persistent core values. How we do peer-assessment and how impactfulness is achieved and assessed are very much in flux, but their centrality as values is not. Read more

On Green OA and the Future of AAA Publishing at #AAA2011

Yesterday I participated in the forum on the “Future of AAA Publishing” that was staged during the 2011 American Anthropological Association meetings. I joined this event because I was asked to do so by Michael F. Brown, a fine colleague who would is working hard to be helpful in the organization’s scholarly communications vision quest. My prepared remarks from the event are offered below CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0). Readers of my statement will see that I did not really address the future as much as try to engage the muddled present. I care very much about the future of scholarly communications and am very interested in all the excellent thought that colleagues beyond anthropology and folklore studies are giving to cutting edge discussions of it. The context and venue for my remarks, as well as the five minute time limit on panelist statements, shaped how I used my time. I was trying to serve an educational role. Each panelist had a different piece of the story to reflect upon (association finances, tenure and promotion, international issues, etc.), thus there was not space or audience readiness for more complex matters, such as curatorial models of journal editing, metadata protocols, the weakness of STEM-centered philanthropic efforts in Africa, open source platforms, patron driven acquisition, non-disclosure agreements vis-a-vis big bundle deals, etc. Things are what they are.

Green Open Access Practices

Jason Baird Jackson

I want to thank the organizers of today’s event for their invitation to participate in this discussion. I have had a lot to say elsewhere [ex: my interview with Ryan Anderson on OA and anthropology] about publishing practices in our field and my remarks will be focused on a single node in the larger network of issues. I agreed to take on the slice dealing with green open access practices because this is a realm in which the matters before us are largely no longer policy setting debates but are instead questions of education and implementation. It is in this more modest context that I hope to contribute some observations that may be useful.

Despite organizationally opposing so-called green open access mandates (ex: AAA 2006; Calpestri 2006; Davis 2010), the American Anthropological Association is already a green open access [-friendly] publisher (AAA 2006). I am very proud of the association’s leadership in this regard. We were ahead of the curve when, in 2005, the association adopted an author agreement that allowed association authors to circulate post-prints in conformity with standard green OA practices and in compliance with the mandates that govern the work of some of our colleagues (AAA 2006). In adopting a green author agreement, the AAA joined the approximately 63% of scholarly journals that similarly allow authors to circulate their work down the green open access path (RoMEO 2011). But what does this mean? How does one do it? Read more

A Day of Pre- Pre-conference Activities at #AFS11

Today, out of town folklorists started appearing around Bloomington for a series of events designed to rally the local troops and welcome the earliest of the visitors coming to Bloomington for the American Folklore Society meetings. I spent the early afternoon in a fruitful Open Folklore planning meeting, but my colleagues welcomed Dr. Fekade Azeze, Associate Associate Professor of Ethiopian Literature and Folklore, and Coordinator of the Folklore Graduate Programme, at Addis Adeba University in Ethiopia. USC Folklorist Tok Thompson moderated a discussion with Dr. Azeze at midday and then he delivered a lecture on customary dispute resolution in the afternoon. I made it to the talk and it was very stimulating material. Dr. Azeze described the customary legal system of two of the largest Ethiopian peoples and situated these practices in the contemporary context, describing efforts to study such systems as a means of indigenizing the national legal system, which is largely founded on non-Eithiopian principles and practices.

Immediately after the lecture, there was an opening reception for the Faces of Fieldwork exhibition curated by Pravina Shukla, Michael Lee, and Carrie Hertz and on exhibition at the Mathers Museum. The portrait photographs submitted by the contributing ethnographers were stunning, the exhibition was well mounted by the Mathers staff, and the reception was a nice opportunity to experience the exhibition and welcome guests to town for the meetings.

I had to get home for family responsibilities, by a departmental reception for early-arriving alumni (Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology) was held. I am sure that a good time was had by all.

Tomorrow things begin in earnest, with pre-conference tours both on-campus (IU research collections and archives) and off (Southern Indiana regional sights focusing on the limestone industry). The meeting will open formally tomorrow night, with the highlight being Henry Glassie’s plenary lecture and a big welcoming reception. I will spend the day in an AFS board meeting.

Safe travels and welcome!

The Zoot Suit Kid Goes Global: From Tango to Hip Hop

The Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology has recently announced the 1st Annual Richard M. Dorson Memorial Lecture with Dr. Roger Abrahams.

“The Zoot Suit Kid Goes Global: From Tango to Hip Hop”

Tuesday, April 5th
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Wells House, 1321 E. 10th St.

The lecture series is named for Richard M. Dorson, who is credited with establishing folklore studies as an academic discipline in the United States through his many years directing the IU Folklore Institute, beginning in 1956. He later chaired the Folklore Department, until his death in 1981. For these efforts, he has been called the “father of American Folklore.”

In this lecture, Roger Abrahams brings into focus the development throughout the post-emancipation era of high-flash street-corner groups that have emerged in virtually every port of call in the commercial Atlantic world. Abrahams argues that there is a pattern linking these manifestations, though they are commonly regarded as being unique to one metropolitan area or another. Each has founding legends, stories of the great song-makers, dancers, stick-fighters, and so on. This research tests the argument between those who have argued for the retention of African cultural traits and those who have argued for culture-loss under enslavement conditions. The West Indian performers with whom Abrahams has worked maintain that their repertoires are played not only for enjoyment but more importantly, as embodiments of the history and the strength of ties within the community. The burden of the argument, at last, is that doing folklore involves both extensive live-there field work and comparative study to situate what it is that you have collected.

Roger D. Abrahams is a prominent folklorist whose work focuses on the expressive cultures and cultural histories of the Americas, with a specific emphasis on African American peoples and traditions. He is the Hum Rosen Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania where he taught in the Department of Folklore and Folklife. He is the author of a large number of books, among which Everyday Life: A Poetics of Vernacular Practices is a recent title.

A light reception will follow Dr. Abrahams lecture.

AcademiX Presentations on Open Access Now Online

I am happy to report that the videos from the AcademiX 2010 conference on “Learning in an Open-Access World” are now online.  One can get to them via this page on the site or one can just go into iTunes University in iTunes and search on AcademiX or a particular presenter’s name. While they are embedded in iTunes, they are free to all those who wish to consult them.  As discussed here earlier, my presentation is titled: “Innovation and Open Access in Scholarly Journal Publishing.” The other presenters and their titles are:

  • John Wilbanks (Creative Commons) Commons-Based Licensing and Scholarship – The Next Layer of the Network
  • Ben Hawkridge (Open University) New Channels for Learning – Podcasting Opportunities for a Distance University
  • Kurt Squire (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Education for a Mobile Generation
  • Nick Shockey (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) The Digital Natives are Getting Restless – The Student Voice of the Open Access Movement
  • Richard E. Miller (Rutgers University) and Paul Hammond (Rutgers University) This is How We Think – Learning in Public After the Paradigm Shift

I hope that our presentations are useful to the community in their this new form. Thank you to Apple for hosting the gathering and making these materials freely available online.

Our Circulatory System (or Folklore Studies Publishing in the Era of Open Access, Corporate Enclosure and the Transformation of Scholarly Societies)

The following essay is adapted from a talk given on March 6, 2009 as part of the symposium “The Form of Value in Globalized Traditions” organized by the Center for Folklore Studies at the Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio. At the time, I discussed my participation in this event here. This essay builds upon three reviews of open access issues in folkloristics that I authored for the weblog Open Access Anthropology in winter 2008 (Jackson 2008a, 2008b, 2008c). Inspired this week by the Hacking the Academy project and by Ted Striphas’ recent examination of scholarly communications issues within the field of cultural studies (Striphas 2010a, 2010b), I decided not to leave the essay sitting on the back-burner. In lieu of doing something more formal with it later, I am publishing it here in the hope that it will prove useful to a colleagues in folklore studies and neighboring fields.

Our Circulatory System (or Folklore Studies Publishing in the Era of Open Access, Corporate Enclosure and the Transformation of Scholarly Societies)

Jason Baird Jackson
Indiana University, Bloomington

The system of scholarly communication in which folkloristics is a small but important part is quickly changing in some dramatic ways. The phenomena falling under this rubric become more diverse and interconnected everyday and the good and bad news seems to come at an every quicker rate. To begin with a tangible example, a key publisher in our field and the home to three of its four main English-language introductory textbooks is Utah State University Press. When I prepared this essay in the spring of 2009, our field feared that the press would cease operations in the context of its university’s response to the current global economic crisis (Howard 2009; Jaschik 2009; Spooner 2009). On the brink of disappearance, Utah State University Press was instead made a unit of its university library (Utah State University 2009). It is not unique in undergoing such a dramatic transition. The present economic climate will almost certainly accelerate further various processes of change that were well already underway. Many of these shifts are positive, but whether for the good or for the bad, they are prompting some fundamental reconsiderations of: (1) of the genres of scholarly production, (2) of the paths down which we circulate our work, (3) of the publics whom we seek to address, (4) of the hierarchies of value that we used to judge and reward good work, (5) of the partners with whom we collaborate, (6) of the technologies that we harness, and (7) of the means by which we pay the bills.
Read more

Scholarly Publishing and Scholarly Values Revisited

This is a note (1 of 2) to report on my two speaking events this week. I had wanted to write more of them, but business and a weak internet connection at my hotel have kept me from it until now. Here are some notes on the first of these two events.

Earlier in the week I was a guest of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I had been invited to be the keynote speaker for a ” A Forum for Authors and Creators of Academic Works.” The event was titled: Scholarly Publishing and Scholarly Values: Choosing our Future and it was organized by a great group of UMN folks committed to work on scholarly communications issues. It was an honor to be asked to participate in this event and I learned a great deal from my time talking with everyone there. On Monday night I was treated to a wonderful meal and a small group discussion of the UMN campus context and big picture of scholarly communications at the university. On Tuesday at lunch, I met with the UMN Scholarly Communications Collaborative and we had a pleasant meal filled with a great and (for me) very informative conversation about changes and developments in scholarly communication. After lunch was the event itself. I spoke of my experiences working as a scholarly editor trying to make sense of the changing publishing landscape, with special attention to open access efforts and the factors that are shaping them. I offered a number of provocations/predictions and tried to address the questions that were posed for the event as a whole (listed here). The event was recorded and streamed to folks who could not fit into the room at the library. It is now available online at: An important part of the forum was hearing from three faculty discussants and participating in a wide-ranging discussion with the in-person and online audiences.

One of the discussants was Gabriel P. Weisberg, a senior art historian at UNM who has been very involved in the founding and continuing good work of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Visual CultureThis is an impressive gold open access journal now publishing its 9th volume. Professor Weisberg described the history of the journal, its successes and niche, and reflected upon questions of long-term sustainability in OA journals published outside the framework of commercial or society publishing.

Another discussant was Neil E. Olszewski, a UMN professor of plant biology. He provided a scholarly society perspective, reflecting on his work as a member of the publications committee of the American Society of Plant Biologists, a society that is confronting the same issues that are posing challenges for those North American scholarly societies who have come to depend on publishing revenue to support non-publishing activities. Professor Olszewski is also the incoming chair of the UMN library committee, a parallel role to that which I have served in at IUB over the past year.

The final discussant was geneticist Stephen C. Ekker. In addition to publishing extensively in the gold OA journal PLoS One, he is the Editor-in-Chief for Zebrafish, a journal published by one of the remaining small science publishers Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

With this rich and diverse background, the panelists made a range of important observations on the changing landscape of scholarly communications and were able to very effectively engage with the excellent questions posed by the audience. I learned a great deal from their observations and appreciate their generous response to my own reflections.

My thanks go to Dean of the Libraries Wendy Pradt Lougee, to her exceptionally talented staff and colleagues, to the UMN Provost and other event sponsors, and to the engaged audience that came out for this event. The organizers did a wonderful job and it was an honor to visit such a dynamic scholarly community.

Scholarly Publishing and Scholarly Values: Choosing our Future

I am very pleased to have been invited to the University of Minnesota to speak to the faculty and librarians there about scholarly communications. I will surely share reflections after the event but I wanted to pass on the details now. I really look forward to talking to, and learning from, everyone there. I am very appreciative of this opportunity. Find the details here.

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