Monthly Archives: November 2012

Field Methods #openthread

Perhaps the most fundamental, basic change to the discipline of anthropology will come from the way online platforms and handheld technology will impact the way field research is conducted.
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Open Access #openthread

Open Access was the issue that spawned the genesis of DANG, but the scope problem of academic publishing can seem global and beyond our powers to affect. Here we imagine what we can do about it.
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Teaching #openthread

Teaching is something virtually everyone in the academy must do and traditional college students have grown to take the Internet for granted. This is one field where the digital revolution will come sooner rather than later.
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Public Anthropology #openthread

One of the greatest changes the Internet will bring to anthropology is how we Interact with the general public and serve our subject communities. In this thread we’re reflecting on what public anthropology will become.
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Blogging #openthread

In this brainstorming session, we’re specifically looking at how online communication is reshaping the way professional anthropologists communicate with each other. This can include blogging, as well as Twitter and all manner of Internet conversation.
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Cyberworlds/ Digital Studies #openthread

Here our goal was to riff and brainstorm around the study of online communities and the interface between the Internet and “real life”.
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Quick recap of the first DANG business meeting held in the history of humanity

dang kitteh is in ur bisnez, makun plans

Just wanted to give a quick recap on the business meeting for all of you who couldn’t be with us in person yesterday.  Matt did a great job of organizing us, and he’ll be putting together a summary of the results of our workshoping at some point. We had about 40 people at the meeting, thanks so much to everyone for your active participation!

Our meeting agenda was straightforward:

I. Call to order and introduction

This included a discussion of what DANG can and can’t do as an interest group within the AAA. Matt is in the position of ‘Convener’ for a two year stint, after which Daniel Lende will take over for 2 years.

II. Mission Statement SWARM

Matt created some brainstorming questions for us relating to 6 different aspects of digital anthropology:  Cyberstudies, Teaching, Research Tools/Methods, Open Access, Public Anthropology, Professional Interactions/Blogging.  These questions are available for you to see in our previous post, and we welcome your ideas in the comments there.  We were encouraged to THINK BIG, and everyone put their answers to these questions on post-it notes, which we then pooled together onto big sheets of paper.

Following the brainstorm we broke off into small groups and set about looking for themes within the answers to each of the questions – what are the most important issues to us right now?  Groups were then tasked with coming up with a mission statement relating to their topics, and a clear task DANG could aim to complete, relating to this mission.

Each group summarized their primary points for us as a whole. We had lots of suggestions for things like wikis, best practices, digital ethics statements and more.  We’ll post these in the near future to get more feedback on them and start making some task forces to work on them.

III. New Business

We never got to new business, really.  This involves figuring out what type of event we would like to organize for the 2013 meeting. The Society for Visual Anthropology did say they’d be interested in co-sponsoring a session with us.  We can sponsor other sessions as well, and we can have one ‘special event’ at the meeting.  So: your ideas. Do you have innovent ideas? workshops? mentoring and networking sessions you’d like to see? Specific themes we should create paper sessions around? I know we’re still at this year’s AAA, but think about what you wish you had here and maybe we can do something about it next year.

#dang2012 – The focus questions

To play the #dang2012 game you answer the focus Q’s as if we lived in an ideal world where anything is possible (We’ll get to reality later). You don’t have to answer every question and you write multiple answers to the same question if you like. In the next step of the activity, we’ll comb through the responses and come up with some patterns.

1.a CYBERWORLDS: What is the most critical issue for anthropology in understanding digital culture and social exchange?
1.b CYBERWORLDS: What can we do to promote and bring prestige to digital studies in anthropology?

2.a BLOGGING: What role should blogging play as a medium for professional anthropologists to interact with each other?
2.b BLOGGING: What can we do to make blogging, tweeting, etc a legitimate and necessary part of professional development?

3.a PUBLICANTH: What is the best way to use Internet platforms and new tech to bring anthropology to the public?
3.b PUBLICANTH: What do we hope to accomplish through public anthropology and sharing our findings with a general audience?

4.a TEACHING: What is the most important lesson/ skill we can teach our students about the Internet and online communication?
4.b TEACHING: How can we use the Internet to become better teachers w/o it being just another goddamn thing to keep up with?

5.a OPEN ACCESS: What is the biggest challenge to bring a higher profile to current Open Access journals in anthropology?
5.b OPEN ACCESS: What can we do to educate the AAA membership about Open Access and persuade them to support OA principles?

6.a METHODS – How will anthropologists incorporate Internet platforms into “traditional” fields of study (outside of cyberworlds)?
6.b METHODS: What will be the most profound contribution mobile devices and new tech make to the execution of field research?

Statement of Purpose

Our main activity at the 2012 business meeting is going to be a creative workshop that will contribute towards composing DANG’s mission statement and making plans for moving forward. Below is the Statement of Purpose that I submitted to the AAA when forming the interest group, which first appeared on Savage Minds back in March. It’s not a contract, I just thought it would be a useful thing to spur people’s imaginations for the big discussion on Friday.

Statement of Purpose

The Digital Methods Group is a network of anthropologists interested in how Internet driven platforms of social exchange are challenging the way research is done, how anthropology is taught, and how anthropologists communicate with each other, the public, and our subject communities. Organized as an interest group under the American Anthropological Association it acts as a forum for sharing ideas, promoting online activities, and advancing our professional concerns.

Our aim includes seeking out connections with similar efforts in other disciplines and professional associations who are interested in promoting the professionalization of online activities. We envision creating and maintaining an online presence through multiple formats including a website that will archive all of the interest group’s work and serve as a hub where anyone can freely participate, access material and information, and communicate.

The goals of the Digital Methods Group include:

• To make connections across all major subfields of anthropology by examining how researchers are using digital methods in data collection, analysis, and storage as well as their application in peer-reviewed publications.

• To consider how anthropology courses, classrooms, labs, and field schools at the undergraduate and graduate levels might be transformed by the introduction of net platforms in lecture, seminar, student collaboration, and course assignments.

• To encourage communication among anthropologists through blogging and online social networks, promoting the good work already being done and recruiting others to join the conversation.

• To raise anthropology’s profile among the general public through online communication.

• To document how net platforms might impact the ways in which anthropologists nurture long term ties with subject communities, research participants, and other stakeholders.

• To discuss and refine ethical use and best practices for the above by hosting workshops and roundtables that consolidate our experiences, successes and failures, and spread the technical knowledge necessary for using these platforms with ease.

• To promote the professional interests of its members by framing discourses within the discipline of anthropology concerning digital methods of research, teaching, and communication so that the practice of using such net platforms becomes more widespread.

Agenda – 2012 busines meeting

DANG, the Digital Anthropology Group will convene at 12:15pm on Friday, November 16, 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

San Francisco Hilton, Continental 1


I.    Call to order and introduction
a.    What DANG can do
II.    Mission statement SWARM
a.    Call for volunteers
b.    Focus questions
c.    Workshop: Team interpretation
III.    New business
a.    AAA 2013 – Chicago

Meeting adjourns at 1:30

Join DANG by sending an email to,
Spread the DANG word and bring more people to the Group
Contribute to the DANG blog,
Plan a panel or event for AAA 2013 in Chicago
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