Anthropological Podcasting: The Good and The Bad

sfaa podcasts

Jen Cardew should be congratulated on putting together an incredible operation to podcast the 2008 conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). The podcasts are not up yet, but they will be made available on their website over the next few months.

The AAA is also getting into the podcasting game, with their second podcast. The AAA is to be congratulated for embarking on this bold new venture, and for finding a way to translate the jam-packed excitement of an inter-office memo onto your iPod. This week’s podcast starts with the sound of a microphone being shuffled around and is followed with the following:

As a reminder to our listeners, these biweekly podcasts are intended to keep our members as well as the wider public informed about some of the recent developments within the AAA and the discipline of anthropology as a whole. In addition to highlighting contributions the association and its members have made to the public discourse these podcasts will also detail the latest issues…

I am eagerly awaiting the remixed version.

7 thoughts on “Anthropological Podcasting: The Good and The Bad

  1. You hit the nail on the head. The AAA podcasts leave much to be desired. Something about Damon Dozier’s voice and delivery leave me with the impression that he’s not all that comfortable with the technology he is attempting to use. The sound quality of the second podcast (3/24/08) doesn’t match that of the first. I think they could benefit from making sure they all sound consistent, even if, as you said, they’re about as exciting as an inter-office memo. At least they’re trying?

  2. Are bad podcasts, which few people–if anyone–will listen to, really better than no podcasts at all? Maybe the AAA needs to learn the basic capabilities of the web a little more effectively before it jumps into this new venture. Let’s at least learn to crawl before we try to run…

  3. I liked Damon’s voice and delivery! Yes, not super polished, doesn’t sound like some slick DJ, but clear (and I think I’d be scared by something that sounds too polished, because in my simplistic calculus of the world, polished = verging on corporate). Maybe that’s why I liked that sound of the shuffle of the microphone. Anthropologists shouldn’t have to sound like DJs.

    Also, his voice/ accent sounds African American. That’s just a guess, based on some intuitive interpretation of how voices are ‘racially’ marked in the US, but we desperately need more people of color in the AAA and in anthropology departments everywhere and to that end, Damon is an audible example to young budding anthropologists that yes, African Americans can be part of the AAA.

    Oh, actually I just looked him up and laughed to see that he actually doesn’t have an academic background in anthropology, he has a BA in broadcast journalism. So he IS a DJ!

    Still: Podcasts aren’t just about entertainment. They’re about finding other ways to keep on top of things. You download podcasts to your iPod and then you have something to listen to during downtimes when you can’t read. So on that measure, these succeed: you can find out the things the AAA is doing during your commute to work, and who cares of it’s a bit stumbling.

  4. LL Wynn,

    First off, even a non-expert DJ should be able to learn how to use sound-editing software to edit an audio file.

    Secondly, I deliberately didn’t mention Damon by name because I am more bothered by the content of the podcast than the delivery. The “reminder to listeners” is exactly the kind of thing a large institution would think is necessary when it is not only unnecessary – its is annoying and off-putting to the listener. Presumably anyone downloading the AAA podcast already knows why they have the dam thing on their iPod and doesn’t need to be reminded…

  5. Hi Kerim, in my bit about Damon’s voice I was responding Jonathan’s comment about how he didn’t like the delivery/voice. But yes, I agree that the “reminder to listeners” is ridiculous and unnecessary and just bogs down the whole thing.

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