2007 Highlights

Happy New Year! I’m a bit late with this, but I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of our best material from 2007, as I did in 2006.

Open Access

I think 2007 was a great year for the open access movement. The open access anthropology blog is going strong and we have a lot planned for it in the year ahead. Most exciting, and not yet reported here, on December 26th President Bush signed the OA mandate for NIH-funded research into law! And in October Rex announced Mano’a, an OA repository just for anthropologists. Since CKelty offered his own round up of OA news for 2007, just a few weeks ago, I’ll send you over there for the rest of the news.

War and Anthropology

The other big story for 2007 was the AAA executive board’s statement opposing the participation of anthropologists in the US Military’s Human Terrain System (HTS) project. By far the highest traffic post of the year was the letter we posted by Marshall Sahlins on the subject. Equally noteworthy, Strong’s post on “Human Terrain and the IRB Puzzle” was picked up by Inside Higher Ed. And Oneman discussed the process of getting my forthcoming edited volume, Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War published (continued here). The role of anthropologists in war is a topic we’ve been discussing on Savage Minds for over two years. I rounded up our older posts here, and all recent posts are archived in our “anthropology at war” category.

Information Overload

Another popular theme was information overload. There was CKelty’s post on “how to read a good book in one hour,” Strong’s post about “how to attend a conference in a couple of hours,” and my post about how not to read a book at all.


For those who don’t like reading, Strong gave us some good diagrams to look at: here, here, here, and here. I wrote about Wedding Photography. And former guest blogger Mike Wesch won a Wired Magazine Rave award for his hit YouTube video essay on Web 2.0.

Anthropology and Science

The relationship between anthropology and science also came up a lot. CKelty argued for the importance of science studies for anthropology, I discussed Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, why bad science happens, the future of biological anthropology, and economics, while Rex took on Steven Pinker and neoliberal genetics.

History, Theory and Ethnography

Rex grappled with the nature of anthropology (part II), methodology, the history of anthropological theory, and the use of history as theory. I explored the continued effects of colonial ethnography in India.


The definition of plagiarism got stretched as we discussed citation plagiarism and accusations of plagiarism in the army’s counter-insurgency manual.

Guest Bloggers

Last, but certainly not least, this year’s guest bloggers included Rena Lederman who wrote about IRB issues, Michael Brown who wrote about intellectual property rights and bureaucratic rationalization, Fuji Lozada who wrote about sports and fieldwork, Laura McNamara who wrote about the anthropology of interrogation, Kimberly Christen who wrote about the relationship between Australian Aborigines and the state as well as her work on indigenous archives (the fallout from Australia’s Little Children are Sacred report deserves its own mention), and Gretchen Pfeil whose excellent posts on modern kinship were wiped out by an unfortunate malicious attack on our site. Hopefully they will be restored soon.