Monthly Archives: August 2012

The DANG future: Issue and ideas for moving forward

In the many blog posts that lead up to this moment many of you provided some remarkable ideas for what a group like ours can accomplish. Here I’ll catalog as many of them as possible, in no particular order. Please chime in with others, more ideas are better than fewer ideas at this point.

So without further ado…

1. A blog. You’re looking at it, let’s turn it into a place for conversation and comraderie, folding together the wide reaching methodological impact of digital anthropology with the study of cyberworlds, social networks, and games.

2. Pursuing intentional inclusivity. Many had strong inclinations to guard against parochialism and insularity of any kind. We will need some kind of membership growth strategy to achieve that goal.

3. Plan of action for AAA annual meeting 2013. I’d like to see proposals for conference events including the traditional panel of papers, but also which take advantage of the Innovent format. We ought to host workshops on digital methods and promote OA awareness.

4. On the subject of OA: issues of fair access to peer reviewed publications is what started this whole thing. It would be good to start up a “one-stop shop” web site that educated visitors on OA, covered OA news, and cataloged the many OA journals. Journal reviews would also be helpful.

5. The Kahn Academy of anthropology idea, producing short videos (approx. 7 mins.) that summarize keywords.

6. World domination. One suggestion made early on was to put together a slate of candidates to run for the Executive Board of the AAA.

How can you help DANG grow?

DANG in San Francisco

It’s my pleasure to announce that DANG, the Digital Anthropology Group is officially organized as an “interest group” within the American Anthropological Association. I am really optimistic that this lose network of AAA members will be able to accomplish something great within the Association.

There will be an official DANG business meeting on the program for the 2012 annual meeting in San Francisco. My title as organizer of DANG will be “convener” and I will fill this role for two years. After that Daniel Lende will convene the group for two years.

As the conference approaches more will be said about the agenda, but I can tell you generally that it will focus on composing a mission statement and setting priorities for our long term goals. Also it would be nice if sub-chapters of like minded individuals interested in one thing or another self-organized around whatever themes people were interested in pursuing.

What is the best way for incorporating persons not present at the conference into our discussions and decision making process during the business meeting? Google+ video hang-outs and Twitter seem like logical first steps.

Planning for 2013
Also on the subject of the 2012 AAA is planning a big showing at the 2013 annual meeting (Chicago, I think). In the past people have suggested putting together a panel on OA issues that could explain to the AAA rank and file what’s at stake with Open Access and why we’re advocating for it. If we could make this a Presidential session that would be fantastic.

Another good idea for a paper panel is putting together a smorgasbord of different digital topics, a little like digital anthropology’s greatest hits, that would serve to introduce DANG to the general membership. We could have someone talk about blogging and professionalism. We get someone to talk about using Kickstarted as a funding source. Using the internet in the classroom. Conducting fieldwork over the Internet. Working with research participants to design webpages. And so on…

Some DANG history: Who are we and what are we doing here?

In February and March of 2012 bloggers and readers on Savage Minds and Neuroanthropology came together to discuss organizing a collective of anthropologists interested in all the myriad ways online platforms are challenging our discipline.

Originally, the catalyst for this was a widespread dissatisfaction within our online community directed at Executive Director of the AAA Bill Davis’s letter to the White House concerning public accessibility to scientific papers and professional journal publications. Allies of Open Access stepped forward intent on changing the culture of the AAA.

The more we talked about Open Access, the clearer it became that the constituency of anthropologists interested in a broader, more inclusive “digital anthropology” was potentially much larger. Surprise, surprise; anthropologists wanted to think about things in terms of the big picture.

Our discussion of that inclusiveness grew and grew until we realized that no part of professional anthropology is untouched by online platforms in some way. What we really wanted was to change everything.

But the participants in this conversation were not only American nor was it limited to an audience of anthropologists. Many rightfully objected that our digital anthropology group might become too parochial if we hewed too closely to the exclusiveness of an American professional association.

It would be better instead to embrace the ethic of the Internet itself and proactively seek out connections with like minded people in other disciplines and outside of academia.

Resolving to move forward with dual groups (within and outside the AAA) we began debating our goals and what we might call ourselves. This work is still ongoing.

You can read a draft version of our mission statement here. In a straw poll for our name Digital Anthropology Group (DANG) was the runaway favorite, Digital Methods a distant second, and Digital Interest Group (DIG) far behind in third.

And we will let our geek flag fly.