Oh So Anthropological

Your source for all things Anthropology

104 notes

theolduvaigorge:

Why do academics blog? It’s not for public outreach, research shows

Blogging is touted as bridge between academia and the world but study finds it functions more like global common room


by Pat Thomson and Inger Mewburn

“Academics are now urged to blog. We are told that having to write for ordinary readers will help us to write in plain English, clarify our ideas, enhance our reputations and expand our knowledge as well as our audience. Blogging is presented to us as a way to bridge the apparent divide between academia and everyone else.
We both blog and unlike many of our colleagues we don’t need to be convinced that it is worthwhile. However we were less convinced that the academic bloggers we encountered were all in it for reasons of public outreach, or to refine their thinking, and we certainly weren’t convinced that they wanted fame. So we set out to have a preliminary look at what was going on in academic blogs.
We had a number of challenges in setting up this small-scale study. We had no funding so interviews were out; we had to rely on published blogs alone. And we had to decide what counted as an academic blog. This was not as easy as you might think, given the growth of professional and managerial roles offered inside universities today, which often involve some kind of research or teaching. We opted for the blogger who stated an institutional affiliation, had some kind of academic purpose and was connected to other academic blogs. We called the bloggers who weren’t professors, lecturers or fellows ‘para-academics’. We couldn’t get a representative sample as there is no handy index of blogs, the numbers change all the time, and frankly, there were just too many. And because we speak English, our choices had to be blogs we could actually read.
By using various online listings of academic blogs, we eventually compiled a list of 100 we could use as a sample set. Of these, 49 were from the UK and 40 from the US, five from Canada and six from Australia. 80 were by teaching and researching academics, 14 from para-academics and six from doctoral researchers” (read more).
(Source: The Guardian)

theolduvaigorge:

Why do academics blog? It’s not for public outreach, research shows

Blogging is touted as bridge between academia and the world but study finds it functions more like global common room
  • by Pat Thomson and Inger Mewburn
Academics are now urged to blog. We are told that having to write for ordinary readers will help us to write in plain English, clarify our ideas, enhance our reputations and expand our knowledge as well as our audience. Blogging is presented to us as a way to bridge the apparent divide between academia and everyone else.

We both blog and unlike many of our colleagues we don’t need to be convinced that it is worthwhile. However we were less convinced that the academic bloggers we encountered were all in it for reasons of public outreach, or to refine their thinking, and we certainly weren’t convinced that they wanted fame. So we set out to have a preliminary look at what was going on in academic blogs.

We had a number of challenges in setting up this small-scale study. We had no funding so interviews were out; we had to rely on published blogs alone. And we had to decide what counted as an academic blog. This was not as easy as you might think, given the growth of professional and managerial roles offered inside universities today, which often involve some kind of research or teaching. We opted for the blogger who stated an institutional affiliation, had some kind of academic purpose and was connected to other academic blogs. We called the bloggers who weren’t professors, lecturers or fellows ‘para-academics’. We couldn’t get a representative sample as there is no handy index of blogs, the numbers change all the time, and frankly, there were just too many. And because we speak English, our choices had to be blogs we could actually read.

By using various online listings of academic blogs, we eventually compiled a list of 100 we could use as a sample set. Of these, 49 were from the UK and 40 from the US, five from Canada and six from Australia. 80 were by teaching and researching academics, 14 from para-academics and six from doctoral researchers” (read more).

(Source: The Guardian)

(via theladygoogle)

48 notes

Nike, the shoe company, has come out with a television commercial for hiking shoes that was shot in Kenya using Samburu tribesmen. It combines broad shots of brightly clad, dancing men and women, and close-ups of the colorful new boots. There are no words until the very end. Then the camera closes in on the one tribesman who speaks, in native Maa. As he speaks, the Nike slogan, ‘Just do it,’ appears on the screen.

Problem. Lee Cronk, an anthropologist at the University of Cincinnati, says the Kenyan is really saying: ‘I don’t want these. Give me big shoes.’ Nike admits its film crew improvised after having trouble getting a Maa version of the slogan. But, says Nike’s Elizabeth Dolan, ‘we thought nobody in America would know what he said.’

New York Times (February 15th, 1989)

I think this commercial is hilarious because of the contradictions that are simultaneously at work. American exercise weenies are urged to “Just do it (but only with our product).” At the same time, a Kenyan, a member of a people group that consistently breaks world marathon records despite their “third world status,” is saying “The heck are these things? Give me something useful.” The fact that the shoes in question aren’t running shoes is immaterial. For cultural, practical, or personal reasons, the Kenyan in this commercial scoffed at a western product a lot of us might have been proud to own back in the day, and Nike tried to pass the dismissal off as an endorsement. That amuses me.

And, lest it needs to be said, *all* of us are weenies compared to Kenyan runners. :)

(Source: eelhound, via 19thschuylerplace)

227 notes

ucsdhealthsciences:

The need for needles: Vaccines and rising infection rates
Measles was once a rite of passage during childhood. Nearly every American kid was infected by age 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And each year, on average, 48,000 children were hospitalized, 7,000 experienced seizures, 1,000 suffered permanent brain damage or deafness and 450 to 500 children died.
These numbers dropped precipitously, virtually disappearing, after the first effective measles vaccine debuted in the early 1960s. In the United States, a routine and required vaccine regimen has almost eradicated the infectious disease.
But not entirely. Indeed, measles are making something of a comeback, in no small part, say health experts, due to declining vaccination rates. Last year, for example, the National Committee on Quality Assurance, said the number of children in private health plans who were properly immunized declined by as much as 3.5 percent. The phenomenon is not unique to measles. It’s happening too with other infectious childhood diseases, such as whooping cough and mumps.
Mark Sawyer, MD, is a professor of clinical pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. We asked what’s happening, why and what happens next.
Question: It seems significant numbers of people these days are refusing or avoiding vaccinations that were, in the past, routine and commonplace. From your perspective, what’s the explanation? 
Answer: This is a complex phenomenon that boils down to people getting partial, and in some cases, inaccurate information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent. Much of the misinformation is found on the Internet, where it can be difficult to separate accurate from inaccurate information.
In all cases, the risk of being exposed to and developing a disease – even among conditions that are now rare – is much greater than the potential health risks of the vaccine designed to prevent that disease. When people are given accurate information, they choose to get immunized. People should find a provider they trust to discuss their concerns and help them sift through whatever information they have heard.
Q: One complaint among parents is the concentration and number of vaccinations mandated during their children’s first years of life. What are the prospects for effectively spreading vaccinations over a longer period or reducing the number of shots required?
A: I don’t see that happening because the basic approach to the recommendations for when vaccines are given is to protect children as soon as they can be protected. By spreading out vaccines, you leave children unprotected. Why would we want to do that?  There is no evidence that giving vaccines together the way we do causes any ill effects. In fact, some argue that by spreading out shots so that every time a child comes to their doctor they get another shot is more traumatic than giving them all at once.
Q: What are the consequences of diminishing numbers of people getting vaccinated?
A: The short answer is simple: We are seeing more disease.  Measles cases are increasing. Pertussis is increasing. Other diseases will increase. All of the infections we immunize to prevent are still around, and they know no borders.
The protective value of vaccinations lies in part in a concept called “herd immunity,” which means that when a significant percentage of a population is vaccinated – the herd, so to speak – it provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. In other words, chains of infection are disrupted because large segments of the population are immune. The greater the number of people vaccinated, the less likely someone without immunity will come into contact with an infectious individual.
Conversely, if the number of individuals vaccinated declines, the chance of an infection spreading in the herd rises. 
Q: Do you think the rising numbers of cases of measles, whooping cough and other diseases routinely prevent through vaccination is evidence that we’re approaching some sort of tipping point?
A: Yes. Just look at the countries of Europe who have major measles epidemics because they let their level of vaccination drop.  The US will be there soon.

ucsdhealthsciences:

The need for needles: Vaccines and rising infection rates

Measles was once a rite of passage during childhood. Nearly every American kid was infected by age 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And each year, on average, 48,000 children were hospitalized, 7,000 experienced seizures, 1,000 suffered permanent brain damage or deafness and 450 to 500 children died.

These numbers dropped precipitously, virtually disappearing, after the first effective measles vaccine debuted in the early 1960s. In the United States, a routine and required vaccine regimen has almost eradicated the infectious disease.

But not entirely. Indeed, measles are making something of a comeback, in no small part, say health experts, due to declining vaccination rates. Last year, for example, the National Committee on Quality Assurance, said the number of children in private health plans who were properly immunized declined by as much as 3.5 percent. The phenomenon is not unique to measles. It’s happening too with other infectious childhood diseases, such as whooping cough and mumps.

Mark Sawyer, MD, is a professor of clinical pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. We asked what’s happening, why and what happens next.

Question: It seems significant numbers of people these days are refusing or avoiding vaccinations that were, in the past, routine and commonplace. From your perspective, what’s the explanation? 

Answer: This is a complex phenomenon that boils down to people getting partial, and in some cases, inaccurate information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent. Much of the misinformation is found on the Internet, where it can be difficult to separate accurate from inaccurate information.

In all cases, the risk of being exposed to and developing a disease – even among conditions that are now rare – is much greater than the potential health risks of the vaccine designed to prevent that disease. When people are given accurate information, they choose to get immunized. People should find a provider they trust to discuss their concerns and help them sift through whatever information they have heard.

Q: One complaint among parents is the concentration and number of vaccinations mandated during their children’s first years of life. What are the prospects for effectively spreading vaccinations over a longer period or reducing the number of shots required?

A: I don’t see that happening because the basic approach to the recommendations for when vaccines are given is to protect children as soon as they can be protected. By spreading out vaccines, you leave children unprotected. Why would we want to do that?  There is no evidence that giving vaccines together the way we do causes any ill effects. In fact, some argue that by spreading out shots so that every time a child comes to their doctor they get another shot is more traumatic than giving them all at once.

Q: What are the consequences of diminishing numbers of people getting vaccinated?

A: The short answer is simple: We are seeing more disease.  Measles cases are increasing. Pertussis is increasing. Other diseases will increase. All of the infections we immunize to prevent are still around, and they know no borders.

The protective value of vaccinations lies in part in a concept called “herd immunity,” which means that when a significant percentage of a population is vaccinated – the herd, so to speak – it provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. In other words, chains of infection are disrupted because large segments of the population are immune. The greater the number of people vaccinated, the less likely someone without immunity will come into contact with an infectious individual.

Conversely, if the number of individuals vaccinated declines, the chance of an infection spreading in the herd rises. 

Q: Do you think the rising numbers of cases of measles, whooping cough and other diseases routinely prevent through vaccination is evidence that we’re approaching some sort of tipping point?

A: Yes. Just look at the countries of Europe who have major measles epidemics because they let their level of vaccination drop.  The US will be there soon.

(via anthropologyadventures)

26,998 notes

5centsapound:

Andrew Putter: Native Work (Capetown, South Africa)

Gallery Statement:

This new installation comprises 21 black-and-white photographs of contemporary black Capetonians, in ‘tribal’ or ‘traditional’ costume in the genre of the iconic ethnographic photographer Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin. These are displayed in a grid alongside the same subjects photographed in colour, where the sitters chose what they wished to wear based on how they see themselves.

'Cognizant of the dangers inherent in Duggan-Cronin's colonial, ethnographic approach to making images, Native Work nevertheless recognises an impulse of tenderness running through his project,’ writes Putter in an article about his project published recently in the journal Kronos: Southern African Histories. ’By trusting this impulse in Duggan-Cronin’s photographs, Native Work attempts to provoke another way of reading these images, and to use them in the making of new work motivated by the desire for social solidarity, a desire which emerges as a particular kind of historical possibility in the aftermath of apartheid.’

By exploring his own complex feelings towards an ideologically tainted but aesthetically compelling visual archive, Putter enters the fraught terrain of ethnographic representation to wrestle with himself about his own complicity, as an artist and a white South African, in this troubled visual legacy. Art critic Alex Dodd writes that this new work ‘constitutes one of those rare instances in which it becomes unmistakably clear to the viewer that the primacy of authorial intention has everything to do with the subtle alchemy that determines the meaning and affective power of images. In this case, the immense respect and tenderness that went into the making of the photographs registers visually as a kind of auratic quality of dignity that shines through each and every portrait.’

(via ohmythoughtsiconfess)

42 notes

theolduvaigorge:

American Anthropologist’s “Particular Problem” with Biological Anthropology
by Julienne Rutherford
“We in the Biological Anthropology Section have nearly constant discussions about increasing our numbers and integrating our impact within AAA. We act as ambassadors for AAA and the American Anthropologist at our specialist conferences, and we are building an impressive social media presence preaching the AAA gospel. So it should have been heartening to read AA’s Editor-in-Chief Michael Chibnik’s recent assertion that he is committed to publishing work by biological anthropologists. Indeed, the September 2013 issue is notable in publishing an entire forum by biological anthropologists, including Alan Goodman’s presidential address from 2007, which itself hearkens at least thematically to Jim Calcagno’s article- “Keeping Biological Anthropology in Anthropology, and Anthropology in Biology”—that appeared in the same journal a decade ago.  However, Chibnik strikes a troublingly marginalizing tone in what was framed as an inclusive call for papers. To be a good fit for AA, Chibnik suggests a piece should be “understandable to nonspecialists and [lack] the extensive use of terms unfamiliar to most of our readers. This poses particular problems [emphasis added] for biological anthropologists, whose work often entails specialized techniques about which most sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists know little. Biological anthropologists therefore need to be particularly careful to write in a way that is comprehensible to the generalized readership of the journal” (Chibnik, 2013.American Anthropologist 115[3]: 357).
I think it’s fair to assume that the techniques used by many sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists are very specialized.  And I would further argue that the terminology and writing used by sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists are often very obscure and sometimes even incomprehensible to specialists in other subdisciplines. To put the onus only on one subfield to be intelligible may be part of the reason some of our colleagues don’t feel particularly welcome within AAA or excited about publishing their most thoughtful work inAA. (Note: I myself have been published two times in AA under the former editor, and in neither case was I charged with the special task of being “particularly careful” to be understood)” (read more).
(Source: Anthropology News)

theolduvaigorge:

American Anthropologist’s “Particular Problem” with Biological Anthropology

  • by Julienne Rutherford

We in the Biological Anthropology Section have nearly constant discussions about increasing our numbers and integrating our impact within AAA. We act as ambassadors for AAA and the American Anthropologist at our specialist conferences, and we are building an impressive social media presence preaching the AAA gospel. So it should have been heartening to read AA’s Editor-in-Chief Michael Chibnik’s recent assertion that he is committed to publishing work by biological anthropologists. Indeed, the September 2013 issue is notable in publishing an entire forum by biological anthropologists, including Alan Goodman’s presidential address from 2007, which itself hearkens at least thematically to Jim Calcagno’s article- “Keeping Biological Anthropology in Anthropology, and Anthropology in Biology”—that appeared in the same journal a decade ago.  However, Chibnik strikes a troublingly marginalizing tone in what was framed as an inclusive call for papers. To be a good fit for AA, Chibnik suggests a piece should be “understandable to nonspecialists and [lack] the extensive use of terms unfamiliar to most of our readers. This poses particular problems [emphasis added] for biological anthropologists, whose work often entails specialized techniques about which most sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists know little. Biological anthropologists therefore need to be particularly careful to write in a way that is comprehensible to the generalized readership of the journal” (Chibnik, 2013.American Anthropologist 115[3]: 357).

I think it’s fair to assume that the techniques used by many sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists are very specialized.  And I would further argue that the terminology and writing used by sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists are often very obscure and sometimes even incomprehensible to specialists in other subdisciplines. To put the onus only on one subfield to be intelligible may be part of the reason some of our colleagues don’t feel particularly welcome within AAA or excited about publishing their most thoughtful work inAA. (Note: I myself have been published two times in AA under the former editor, and in neither case was I charged with the special task of being “particularly careful” to be understood)” (read more).

(Source: Anthropology News)

(via 19thschuylerplace)

304 notes

Why is it important to publish in a nonprofit journal?

climateadaptation:

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene is one of my favorite science journals. All articles are open-source - meaning they’re free - no registration or fees. They focus on environmental scientific research in an “era of accelerated human impact.” Humans have disturbed virtually every natural system on earth.

So, how do we share knowledge about scientific research? Currently, there’s a maturing debate about whether scientific research should be free or paid. I’m quite interested in this debate. Especially since my tax dollars pay for much of this research, but I don’t have access to it. In fact, most science is publicly funded by taxpayer dollars typically through universities and direct government grants. The balance of journals get their funds from subscriptions, which average about $5,000 per year. Yes, you can subscribe to Scientific American for $25, yet the annual ‘script for the Journal of Coordination Chemistry is $11,000!

When a researcher publishes their findings, scientific journals charge the public very high fees for access, which prevents the majority of the world from learning more.

I think this is reasonably indefensible.

One article from the journal Nature typically costs $20 to $30. One of my articles published with International Journal of Climate Change costs $10 (I share it for free with those that ask).

The debate is so powerful that The Guardian newspaper created a special section called Open Source Scientific Publishing. It focuses on the changing landscape of scientific publishing, and the debates make for fun, if not serious, reading.

And there is a protest movement by senior scientists to boycott some of the bigger scientific journals in favor of open source, free access publications. The University of California has also joined the fight, protesting these high fees.

Some have argued that science journals are more interested in selling subscriptions, where they favor “superstar” researchers who can capture more fees over less flashy researchers. Competition among science journals is a surprisingly ugly business.

So, should science be free? I think so.

For my part, I favor peer-reviewed, open-source science publication generally, and the journal Elementa specifically. Elementa is a non-profit publisher of science with overlap in my field of climate change and climate adaptation. The partners are BioOne, Dartmouth, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.

Take a minute to read what the editors of Elementa have to say about why open source science matters and why it should be free to everyone.

(via anthropologyadventures)

289 notes

GIVEAWAY! Archaeology/Anthropology Hand-crafted Tool Roll!

dead-men-talking:

allthingsaafs:

allthingsaafs:

To celebrate the launch of our Etsy shop, which you can visit here https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AllThingsAAFS, we are giving away one of our hand-crafted ‘Archaeology Traveller’ small finds/anthropology tool kits (pictured below)!

image

The tool kit includes:

12x Stainless Steel Small…

There is one week left to enter our Giveaway!! So get liking and reblogging to double your chance!

It’s so beautiful.

Check it out, guys!