*North American Dialogue; with apologies in advance for acronym abundance
Savage Minds welcomes guest blogger Lindsay A. Bell
I recently became the Associate Editor of North American Dialogue (NAD). Part of the AAA Wiley-Blackwell basket of goodies, NAD is the peer reviewed journal of the Society for the Anthropology of North America (SANA). I was brought on to help with the journal’s “brand issues”; namely its recent conversion to a peer reviewed publication and its history as being, um, well CUNY-centric. I am pretty excited about working with SANA on NAD. As a relatively recent section of the AAA, SANA has done much in the way of establishing anthropologies of North America as politically and theoretically important. As the incoming Associate Editor, I am hoping to pick your savage minds about publishing, social media and related issues. In particular, for those of you whose work is North American (and we mean that as broadly as possible), what would you like to see from this publication? From the digital gurus in the crowd, I want to hear about how or if social media should be used to draw a broader public to scholarly work?
The good news is the journal is open access and fully digital. With relatively low costs associated with publishing, we aren’t under the same pressure as other smaller sections/publications to prove our sustainability over the next few years. Even if we are not in jeopardy of foreclosure, for intellectual, political and financial reasons, we would love for NAD to be more widely read and cited. Your musings on the matter are thus most welcome.
A bit of backstory on SANA may be useful for those unfamiliar with this section of the AAA. In 1990, a Society for the Anthropology of the United States and Canada (SAUSC) was founded. After the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed, the geographic limits of the section expanded to include Mexico. When the section formed, it was estimated that 50% of US anthropologists were working “at home”, yet the section’s founding members expressed that their work was often marginalized, under-funded and considered “too applied” to be of theoretical significance.
North American Dialogue was created as nascent section’s newsletter and was initially a forum for anthropologists both inside and outside of the academy to exchange ideas and focus the agenda for domestic research. Flash-forward to the 2000s and the section has grown from 150 members to around 400 (small if you consider how many of us work on the continent). The newsletter moved to a peer-reviewed format in order for writers’ contributions to be acknowledged by their institutions and for their pieces to find wider readership.
In my first SM post, I don’t want to open the entire Future of Scholarly Publishing can of worms. I am too new to these debates to have a firm position. My ambitions for exchange are rooted in more immediate concerns. As we wade our way forward, we want to know more about ways of making social media do “more work” without making too much work for our mini editorial team (ok, there are two of us). After interrogating some of the good people over at Cultural Anthropology, it seems that social media can and does do a good job of directing traffic to their site and publication. They have a much broader reader base to draw from than NAD and a nicely organized editorial Intern Program to help with the labour of online additional content. We wonder what strategies might be particularly useful for smaller sections?
If you are reading this, the chances are high that you are pretty skilled with the Internets and may have some hot tips that I don’t. Our questions are basic, like: Should we bother with facebook/ twitter or should the articles “speak for themselves”? Do we “need” a website? Is the website the horse and social media the cart? Or is it the other way around? While I try and figure out how to best harness social media, you can follow NAD on twitter (@AnthroNAD) and “like” us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SANAAnthro). You can read our most recent issue HERE.