The 1st Annual Savage Minds Awarding of teh Excellents

With about a month to go until the AAA conference in San Francisco, it’s time to start thinking about taking things seriously for once. The recent announcement by the AAA that they’ve gone open access has made me think that we need a little more focus on open access in the present, a little more recognition for those who support OA, and maybe just a little bit more fun at this year’s conference so that maybe we can start thinking again about why we do this and why we might go to a Really Expensive Meeting
every year.

Ergo, I am hereby inaugurating an independent awards show to be performed at the AAA. I’m willing to organize it this year, if others are willing to help out (please!?). Nothing too extravagant or long, I’m thinking a guerrilla ceremony in the lobby. I’ll need people to hold the signs, act as paparazzi, maybe a little musical act before and after… and especially: NOMINATIONS. Post them here, or email me (ckelty at ucla etc ). I’m not sure what the prizes will be yet, but they will be good, I promise.

These are the categories I’ve come up with so far:

  1. most excellent (and second most excellent) open access article in anthropology or associated disciplines, 2007-8. open access = green, gold, self-archived or institutional repository.

  2. most excellent open access teaching materials 2007-8. Syllabus, teaching materials, assessment ideas, technologies or tools, ideas for teaching.

  3. most excellent idea for making anthropology public.

  4. most (or least?) excellent new theoretical fad.

  5. most excellent anthropology blog (SM recuses itself, naturally).

  6. most excellent business plan idea for the AAA.

  7. most excellent award category not listed here.


Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

15 thoughts on “The 1st Annual Savage Minds Awarding of teh Excellents

  1. Along the lines of best/worst theoretical fad, what about an award for the best/worst trendy phrase in anthropology titles? See because I’m always try to figure out what this decade’s equivalent of “poetics and politics of” is.

  2. LL that would have to be something deriving from “contest” and a word deriving from “space.” Preferably “contested spaces,” or “contesting spatiality.”

  3. Contested contests? Like this one? I love it…
    please everyone, circulate this post to grad students and lists… I’m serious about good prizes and about raising awareness of OA… so take a moment and forward it…

  4. I’ll do something, as long as it involves presenting things or gesturing. Can we have giant fake checks to give away?

  5. I nominate Owen Wiltshire’s “Another Anthro Blog” in the “most excellent anthropology blog” category. Yes, I’m biased (Owen and I know each other pretty well as I’m an informant of his, he was one of my ethnomusicology students, and he’s at Concordia, where I currently teach). But I seriously think that Owen is using blogs in a very neat way (his current research is on blogs and publishing).

    I won’t nominate Lorenz Khazaleh’s blog because I’m assuming it can win without my vote.
    Of course, there are several other anthroblogs which could win. Culture Matters, Grant McCracken’s “This Blog Sits,” Jenny Cool’s “The Participant Observer” (if it were updated regularly!), John Postill’s “media/anthropology,” Max Forte’s “Open Anthropology”…

    But if I can only nominate one blog, it should be Owen’s.

  6. Thanks for the vote Alexandre! And since you’re right that Lorenz’s can win without our votes, I’ll nominate Erkan Saka’s blog.

    (I’d say Lorenz and Erkan’s blogs were the first blogs I latched on to and which inspired me to get blogging).

    Of course, Enkerli’s blog should be nominated for breaking disciplinary boundaries… and Max’s blog needs a nomination too. Hmm… Good luck with this contest! Maybe we could have a student category to even the competition a little !

  7. @Owen As you know, I don’t consider my main blog to be anthropological. is more specifically anthropological, and I did post a few things there.

  8. Contested Blogs and Spaces of Nomination…
    The blog contest is heating up…. let’s have nominations for best open access article… this is harder than it sounds… all the articles I love from this year are behind a paywall somewhere 🙁

  9. Chris: I’d love to know what the paywall articles you find stimulating to be!

    Playing further on Michael’s nomination for the title but adding a little bite for the cult lit peeps:

    “Contesting Minds & Interstitial-Interspatial Contributions: Internet Imaginaries and their Irrelevance to the AAA”?

  10. This is a great idea. I will be happy to help. I wrote a comment soon after Chris’ post and it somehow evaporated on me. In this second try at a comment, I won’t attempt a full reconstruction of my earlier go.

    As for a missing category, I think it would be important to highlight major gold journal efforts. While start ups are great, I am particularly pleased to see established (some long established) journals going gold OA. Matt pointed to a paper in Oral Tradition, which is one such journal I would celebrate, but my nomination would go to Asian Ethnology (formerly Asian Folklore Studies). It has been around for a very long time and has an important role in its part of the field. The whole business, 1942-present, is now available online.

    In the article department, I favor favoring articles published in gold venues, as this is a bigger statement of commitment on the part of authors. It has a 2006 publication date, but I would nominate “The Judgment of Solomon: Global Protections for Tradition and the Problem of Community Ownership” by my friend Dorothy Noyes. It appeared in Cultural Analysis. That issue was a bit late and it actually was published in 2007 (as confirmed by the shout out that Michael gave it on WONC? and its first appearance in the Internet Archive). It is a great paper in a fine gold OA journal.

    I appreciate ‘s role as a blog of blogs (metablog?).

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