Name and Mission Statement – Open Thread

In this post I’d like to invite readers to contribute to a statement of purpose for our proposed “Digital Anthropology” group. The statement should be simple and concise, broad enough to allow some wiggle room but sufficiently narrow that it is clear how we are different.

Currently we are envisioning a group that, like a human brain, is divided into two hemispheres — one inside the AAA and one on the outside. The group will be dues free and without a budget or elected officers. This organizational structure is not set in stone and may change in the near or distant future as the needs of the group dictate.

We are also looking for a name that is authentic and catchy, but not ephemeral. It should convey to other anthropologists in an instant who we are and what we do without being confusing or overwhelming.

Input on a mission statement will be of great benefit to our working group as we collaborate this month to draw up something formal to share with you here and on Neuroanthropology. After we get enough nominations for the name, maybe we could put it up for a vote somehow.

With gratitude,

Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is Project Cataloger at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, and currently working on a CLIR ‘hidden collections’ grant to describe the museum’s collection of early 20th Century photography. He has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of North Carolina and a Masters in information science from the University of Tennessee.

8 thoughts on “Name and Mission Statement – Open Thread

  1. Ok, I’ll have a go at it:

    The “Digital Methods Group” considers how net platforms are challenging the way anthropology is taught, the way research is done, and how anthropologists communicate with each other, the public, and our subject communities.

    *bonus* — The t-shirts for Digital Methods will be tremendous!

  2. I haven’t been able to keep up with this vigorous discussion and planning effort, but I wanted to mention the ADHO–the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations as a relevant extant organization (of organizations). See:

  3. How about something even simpler? The Digital Interest Group. Though I must admit I did like the DANG acronym.

    Danel Miller’s intro to the forthcoming volume on Digital Anthro sets out a compelling argument about the digital as what can be reduced to the classic 0/1 code. And that can cover a range of interests, from cultural research on digital worlds to bio’s outreach and big data to arch’s use of multimedia to linguistic anth & language preservation.

  4. Thanks Matt, once again, for keeping this going.

    Some ideas for names. One that I kind of like is this:

    0/1 Anthropology (which says it’s digital anth without using that word). Actually, I really like that one.

    Other ideas for a name:

    1. Digital Humanity
    2. Anthropology Libre
    3. Digital Methods Anthropology Group (to extend Matt’s idea)

    Also, I have been working on getting the fire started over at the OA Anthropology site. Here’s a new post that provides a short overview of some of these conversations:

    And, in an effort to connect this to some other efforts, here’s a thread that I posted on the OAC (Francine Barone and Keith Hart have already joined in):

    I really think that it would be good to bring this together with the OAC crew. As Fran points out, they had some VERY similar discussions and goals when the formed the OAC. As I see it, there are a lot of people out there with similar ideas, goals, and intentions, so it’s a matter of bringing some of this together.

  5. Great ideas. Building on those,how about Digital Anthropology Alliance? Digital & anthropology are central — it’s what the group is about — and I just prefer alliance over group, more a loose confederation than a defined group?

    There was talk on twitter recently about an email list for this discussion, how do people feel about that? Social media can be diffuse.

  6. Thanks everyone for the feedback. We’ll be circulating a Google form soon to compose a membership roster and email list. Please also see the links Ryan provides above.

    I was interested to learn that the AAA is in negotiations with SSRN to establish a grey literature archive. I’m in contact with their publications director and when more information about this becomes available I’ll pass that along too.

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