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Anthropology Blogosphere 2013 – Ecology of Online Anthropology

Anthropology BlogosphereThe Anthropology Blogosphere and online anthropology ventures have grown tremendously in the last few years. In preparation for a workshop about taking anthropology online, I reviewed the big list of Anthropology Blogs 2013, as well as some of the various social media, electronic media, and other online anthropology arenas. This is towards an ecology of online anthropology–please let me know what I’ve overlooked, or if I’ve mixed up my categories.

With the news from the American Anthropological Association that they are going for global scholarly exchange, growing the membership, getting applied anthropology into the organization, and greater visibility, let’s hope they support the emerging anthropology blogosphere.

Anthropology Group Blogs

The influence of Savage Minds as one of the first, longest-running, and still most-heavily-visited anthropology blogs has set a standard for developments in the anthropology blogosphere (unfortunately the official Savage Minds site is down). Other prominent examples of long-running anthropology group blogs with rotating personnel include

These anthropology group blogs are great places to look for guest blogging opportunities, to put work online without plunging in for a full-fledged online presence.

Self-Hosted Anthropology Blogs

Although getting a webhost and theme design is standard for the blog industry, there are relatively few of these for anthropology bloggers, perhaps because of the prevalence of the anthropology group blogs. John Hawks Weblog is a quite incredible undertaking in this respect, with loads of information and very frequent updates. Kristina Kilgrove’s Powered by Osteons is a similar pioneering effort with consistently superior content.

The individual webhost, framework, and theme design are also what I chose for this blog and Living Anthropologically. This method involves greater upfront costs and some technical expertise, but can offer greater control over content and presentation. Other blogs in this category include Struggle Forever! by Jeremy Trombley and How to be an Anthropologist by Angela VandenBroek.

Anthropology Bloggers on Networks

In some ways these networks combine benefits of group blogs with a much larger infrastructure. Greg Downey and Daniel Lende turned Neuroanthropology into a powerhouse on the PLOS Blogs network. Other examples include

Like Neuroanthropology, many of these began as (or still maintain) independent blogs.

Other Collaborative Anthropology Online

More innovative anthropology collaborations online:

Anthropology Blogs on Blogger,

By far the most prevalent type of anthropology blog–too many to mention without getting in trouble! These tools allow beginners to get started quickly and for free. Bones Don’t Lie by Katy Meyers has been a huge favorite in this category.

Anthropology on Facebook and Twitter

Many anthropology blogs and bloggers have a Facebook and Twitter presence, but there are some which rely almost exclusively on the kind of micro-blogging possibilities. The Facebook BioAnthropology News group features a streaming wealth of articles, while the Neuroanthropology Facebook Group is another link the Neuroanthropology empire. BANDIT, the Biological ANthropology Developing Investigators Troop has become quite active on Facebook.

Also see Carole McGranahan on The Academic Benefits of Twitter for a good recent survey.

Anthropology and Online Journalism

Several anthropologists write regularly for the Huffington Post like Agustín Fuentes, Paul Stoller, and Gina Athena Ulysse. Others have written for the American Anthropological Association Blog on Huffington Post. Sarah Kendzior writes for Al Jazeera.

Open Access Anthropology

With Hau and the announcement that Cultural Anthropology is going open access in 2014, this seems to be the future wave of online anthropology. Still, I think we should give Jason Baird Jackson a lot of money to organize all the most important page-proof pdfs for individual website posting, as per the green open access author agreement for AAA journals.


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  • Kristina Killgrove

    Jason – I like your idea of taking a stab at illustrating the ecology of the anthropology blog-o-sphere. There are different types of social media out there, and this post is very useful to me, as I’ve been trying to convey this kind of information to my grad students (who are currently trying their hand at social media and presenting anthropology to the public) this semester. And I appreciate the shout-out; I’m glad you find my blogging interesting.

    I don’t understand the distinction you’re making, though, between “self-hosted blogs” and Blogger/Wordpress blogs. It’s only about $12 a year to register a domain and map it, using Blogger/Wordpress as the back end. Rather than these two sections, I think it would be more interesting to see different categories within a “single-author, independent blogs” section. I’m not sure what those subcategories would be, though — Professors versus grad students? Academy versus industry? People who post on their own research versus people who post mostly reviews of others’ work? Subfields of anthropology?

    •!/JasonAntrosio Jason Antrosio

      Hi Kristina, thank you for this and for being such a pioneer in this field. With regard to this distinction, I may be a bit old-fashioned here. There used to be a larger difference between those plunking down for domain registration, installing software and coding a theme versus those doing the Blogger/ versions. That difference may be blurring or disappearing. However, I still think there is some virtue in considering the full-fledged webhosting plus plus a theme, as it allows for a level of tweaking and management (perhaps too much!) which the Blogger/ options do not. I found James Mulvey’s comments on Expand Your Blog’s Reach useful, but again these may be dated as the search engines do seem to pick up platform blogs in ways they may not have previously.

      I like your idea of sorting through some subcategories for those single-author blogs, but I don’t want to impose too many distinctions on what has at times been a more vibrant exchange than in other arenas.


      • Dan Arel

        Jason you are correct. Owning a domain is one thing, but if you are hosting your site on or tumblr, etc, you are not “self hosting”.

        If you own the domain, pay for a shared or dedicated server, installed your own software, etc, then you are self hosted. I am a firm believer in self hosting, since it allows me greater control over every aspect of my domain and application installs. It may come a slightly higher cost, but I think its worth it.

        I am a web developer by trade (while in school for Anthropology) and have thought countless times about starting a small business of helping scientists and others get up and running on self or shared hosting, etc. Not everyone gets it done as easy as Kristina and you Jason and I know a lot of business that offer the servie with the sole purpose of taking advantage of users ignorance. I also have a huge piece of web hosting I pay for and rent out to friends, and could offer affordable, managed hosting solution. Maybe someday…

        Anyway, I love this post, I think more and more scientists and professors should be running blogs. The more the public is engaged, the better off everyone is.

        •!/JasonAntrosio Jason Antrosio

          Hi Dan, thank you for this elaboration.I’ve already enjoyed your Dan|thropology blog and social media engagement on these issues. Look forward to more collaborations!

  • Matt Tuttle

    I really appreciate what Jason is trying to do. Keep in mind, Anthroprobably has been around much longer than almost all of these blogs 😉 Keep up the good work!

    •!/JasonAntrosio Jason Antrosio

      Thanks Matt! Definitely Anthroprobably has been a pioneer for creating not just a blog but a whole network of anthropology updates. I’ve learned a lot from it.

  • sayed

    Actually very very thanx for this initiative to Jason. Because from this kind of work on anthropology make anthropology student involving in blogging and express their thinking and share it to other. really thnx

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  • Neno Predragovic

    Self hosted blog means that you own your own domain. I think that it is a must if you plan to invest signifcant time and effort into your blog. It simply means that you own your stuff. If you are on some web2.0 service like Tumblr, Squidoo or they can change the rules when ever they want.