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Digital Frontiers Call for Contributions!

Digital Frontiers

Call for Contributions!
If you have news, events, CFPs, or other information you’d like to share with the Digital Frontiers Community, please send them to by the 25th of each month.

Digital Anthropology at the AAA’s

Included in this post are two Call for Participants from individuals interested in organizing sessions around digital themes. Contact these folks promptly if you want to join!


What we mean by the phrase “public anthropology” reveals as much about our discipline as it does our own imagining of it. The application of the label “public” and the increasing engagements with new lines of public discourse by anthropologists have resulted in an expansive landscape that encompasses classroom, journal article, ethnography, blogosphere, and beyond. In our discipline’s history, Margaret Mead remains an iconic public anthropologist, a figure widely recognized outside of anthropology and touted as emblematic of an ideal practitioner who was able to bridge the spaces among the academy, public policy, popular discourse, and speak to issues at home and abroad. Why does contemporary anthropology claim no singular public anthropologist and struggle with our role as public intellectuals? Is this because the world has changed; the discipline has changed; and an individual who can embody all of the threads of public anthropologies no longer exists? Or is it because we have an outmoded notion of public anthropologist? This session seeks to redefine public anthropology by looking at what cutting-edge practitioners are doing and how their work can intersect and support the various efforts.

This roundtable discussion will consider the question “What’s at stake?” in the various iterations of public anthropology through a series of questions and topics considering the topic from multiple angles and circulated to participants in advance. After an introduction of roundtable participants, each participant will reflect briefly on the first of five related themes—transparency, authenticity, application, theory, and accessibility—in public anthropology, fostering a provocative, personal, and interactive discussion among the panel. Time will be provided for engagement from attendees.

New publics, new public spaces, and new forms of public anthropology are emerging at a more rapid pace and the audience for our work and insight has both grown and splintered. Engagement happens in classrooms, in one-on-one conversations, virtually, locally and globally – all simultaneously. As this fragmentation occurs it raises issues related to the quality and status assigned to work, the applications for anthropological insight, the translation of contributions into metrics for professional advancement, and the role of technology and biases related to technology. It is these threads of inquiry that have brought together this group of scholars and professionals to engage, debate, and provoke our thinking as anthropologists with a stake in the publics with which we align

Contact Sarah Ono at []


The use of digital media has become increasingly pervasive in many dimensions of urban life. Although people and institutions frequently celebrate digital development, these often naturalized new technologies invite new inquiries into the relationship between power and media. The organizers of this panel are involved in Philadelphia-based ethnographic research that explores the use of new media in urban planning/public participation, youth media programs and social exclusion, cultural branding of immigrant organizations, and the spectacle of broadcast news interventions of neighborhood blight.

We invite papers that reflect upon similar topics in other U.S. cities with the hope of illuminating the commonalities and points of disjuncture between different cities living out post-industrial poverty and segregation. While our focus is North America, we also welcome research from international sites. Ultimately, we hope to bring ethnographic insight to the relationships between digital media, urban policy, activism, and land use.

Topics may include:
– listserv communities and neighborhood watch organizations
– the use of digital media in urban planning and participation
– new systems of surveillance
– smartphone coverage of police brutality – the strengthening of community-based radio and tv programs in light of new media policies and media consolidation
– news media representations of race and gender in urban spaces

Please send abstracts (up to 250 words) to [] by Saturday, March 16.

Cyberworlds, Digital Studies, and Potential ideas for AAA 2013 Panel

Are you interested in planning a session for Digital Anthropology at the 2013 AAA conference? Sydney Yeager at Southern Methodist University [] is looking for a few good anthropologists!

“Future Publics, Current Engagements” fits well with the interests of our group and it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to put together a session that can share the research and methods of digital anthropology. Last fall there were numerous, successful sessions that addressed issues relating to digital anthropology. It is possible for us to put together a successful session for 2013 which can be associated with DANG and that works toward achieving some of the goals we set during our business meeting last fall.

We have two options for how we would like to set this session up. Last fall it was mentioned that the Society for Visual Anthropology was interested in sponsoring a session with us. If this option is still on the table, I think it would be preferential. In addition, we have the right to claim some conference time to do whatever we want.

Does anyone of ideas for a the theme, topic, purpose of a session on Digital Anthropology? Our session needs to fit with the overall theme. Potentially we could discuss how the “current engagements” of anthropologists working around the world could benefit from the addressing “future publics” with the methods and insights gained from digital anthropology. That of course is still a very vague topic, but it would leave us room to address both digital methods and insights from digital research. Do we have a preference about what exactly we think this session should be focused on?


The AAA Call for invited sessions closes on March 15.

The AAA Call for volunteered sessions closes on April 15.

Either way, we need to get busy if we want to make this happen. Sydney would great appreciate everyone’s feedback. After we have a more concrete idea for what we want to do, she can organize a “hangout” on Google+ so that interested members of DANG can discuss this over video chat.

Please share your suggestions and feedback.

DANG’s to do list…

Hi DANGsters! Just a quick FYI and redirect here. I’ve been posting notes and observations about our AAA business meeting on Savage Minds. Please join the conversation.

On the anthropology of digital worlds and the professionalization of blogging
On Open Access

More posts to come.

World Archaeology Congress Online

The World Archaeology Congress is raising funds to make their conference accessible online this year for individuals and organizations that can not afford to make the trip to the Congress in Jordan.  I suspect this is the type of activity many DANGsters would be interested in supporting.

For those unfamiliar with WAC, I think this answer to one of the questions in their FAQ describes them well:

“WAC was founded in 1985 as the only representative, international organization of practicing archaeologists. It encourages open dialogue between archaeologists and others concerned about the past, including Indigenous peoples and First Nations people whose pasts are told by archaeologists. One of WAC’s primary functions is to hold an international congress every four years.”

WAC is known, in part, for bringing together archaeologists and interested parties from many non-western countries who often are not part of some of the other large archaeology organizations. This gives scholars who have small archaeological communities in their home countries the chance to engage with others in similar situations, to discuss not only archaeological theory and research, but policies, legislation and problem-solving. WAC tries to raise funds to assist marginalized peoples in attending the conference. That being said, for those not in the region of the conference costs for attendance can still be prohibitive.  The plan for this year is to charge a reduced fee for those who want to participate online in lieu of attending in person.  If enough money is raised through the current solicitation for online donations, they will be able to reduce the cost even further.

Here is a link to the WAC-7 fundraising site, where you can read about the project and watch a cute and informative video on the reason for going online.

World Archaeology Congress-7 Meeting

World Archaeology Congress



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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