Anthropology (and archaeology) on Citizendium

As many of you may know by now, “Citizendium”: is now live. The site aims to be like Wikipedia but with ‘quality control’ — it uses a quasi-hierarchical role structure and asks its authors provide CVs and other proof of their expertise. So if you have been interested in writing open access encyclopedia articles about anthropology but have found the politicking of Wikipedia distracting, then Citizendium may be for you.

I personally am somewhat ambivalent about Citizendium. I’ve written many Wikipedia articles myself, and have been lurking on the Citizendium mailing lists since they were started. I know that many Wikipedians think that the Wikipedia’s social and editorial policies simply don’t do the job they should. At the same time, many also think that Citizendium is an elitist program destined to fail. Personally, I think: the more pedias, the more better.

At the moment the anthropology offerings on Citizendium are pretty sparse — check out the “entry on anthropology itself”: if you don’t believe me — and they could use some more help. So consider “signing up”: and helping make our work as anthropologists more open to the public.


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

2 thoughts on “Anthropology (and archaeology) on Citizendium

  1. Eeeeeeh… I’m going to do the kneejerk and say I don’t really like the concept of this website. I’d rather have the politicking of Wikipedia than elitism that we can get our daily dosage from E. Britannica, anyways. It seems like this ‘pedia is redundant and obliquely based on a criticism that is, in a word, whiny: “Stop rattling our ivory tower, you filthy wikipedian hooligans!”

    I love how their logo has a key. Don’t have a degree? Try picking THIS lock, then.

    It seems to go against the fundamental spirit of this open access movement that’s sweeping over anthropology.

    But, eh, I’m probably judging. We’ll see.

  2. Please do join up! I’m one of those few people who have been working on the anthropology articles at Citizendium, but it’s lonely out there and we need help to reach the potential that this project has already begun to demonstrate.

    In reply to Vincent, your concerns are pretty common, but I encourage you to give it a try and see if you still feel the same after a little experience. The incorporation of experts helps to ensure a higher level of quality and reliability, but their role is not to lock anyone out of the process. Their role is to encourage and guide the work of others (and each other) toward excellence. If an expert refuses to step out of the ivory tower and mingle with the masses, then there really isn’t room for him or her at Citizendium.

    (Apologies for such a late reply – I’ve just come across this post.)

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