At the 2012 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association we hosted the first business meeting of the Digital Anthropology Group. I ran the meeting like a focus group and the forty or so anthropologists in attendance, from grad students to senior professors, participated with gusto.
Growing out of conversations about Digital Anthropology here on Savage Minds the focus questions were arranged around six prongs. I know forks usually have four prongs… but DANG is a really big fork, okay? The purpose of the exercise was to discover what DANG’s mission should be for each theme and to come away with an actionable project.
You can access the notes on the topics we discussed via 01anthropology:
In the coming weeks I’ll share with you our observations about the information we collected and reproduce the suggestions we came up with. In opening up the conversation to the Savage Minds community I am hoping to revive interest in a Digital Anthropology by including more voices.
I am also hoping to cheer, flatter, and shame my colleagues into contributing their time and talents for the future success of the Digital Anthropology interest group. Without a doubt my top priority at this juncture is to keep the momentum we gained from meeting in person from dying out before we meet again in Chicago, 2013.
To move from success to success we should find where the excitement is. So let’s start where there seemed to be the most energy. One of the reasons I love Internet people like us, is that we can all pitch in a little time and work together to achieve something that would otherwise be a lot of work.
The study of online communities and Internet culture/ sociality
Of all the topics we discussed at the business meeting the cohort of anthros interested in the study of online culture was the most energetic. I observed that they were mostly younger individuals and they were joined by a representative from the Society for Visual Anthropology. She came bearing the news that the SVA was interested in offering DANG an invited session for 2013.
Two goals were suggested in this important area of anthropological study. First was the creation of a code of ethics for Internet research and for the use of new technology in “traditional” fields of study. In addition it was suggested that we take steps to create a lexicon, ala Keywords, to collect important terms in order to facilitate professional communication by codifying terminology.
We have a great opportunity to create an invited session with the SVA for the 2013 annual meeting and maybe those papers could grow into full-fledged articles as a special themed issue of something.
Blogging, tweeting, and their kin
A number of seasoned bloggers congregated around the issue of how the Internet was changing the way professional anthropologists communicate, share, and collaborate. After the brain storming session, it was suggested that we create an anthropology blog aggregator that could use the popularity of high profile bloggers to bring more clicks to lesser known authors by putting them in juxtaposition on the same page.
It was also suggested that we create a venue for some kind of blog award. Every section and group in the AAA brings attention to itself and its subject by highlighting their best work. We should do this too as a way of getting more anthropologists to blog and to heap praise and CV lines upon deserving bloggers.
We talked about more than this, but let’s start here. Anyone interested in hooking up with SVA? Opining on ethical concerns of digital anth? Making a Keywords for social science on the Internet?
How about starting a greatest hits aggregator? Or setting the criteria for blog awards?