The 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
- Somatosphere for high-quality medical anthropology, technology, and much more.
- anthropologyworks with a very reliable Monday Anthropology-in-the-Media update.
- Ethnography.com, a long-running group effort.
- Zero Anthropology for critical anthropology.
- Anthropology.net occupying a critical piece of anthropology-online real estate.
- Recycled Minds is a group blog with regular and guest contributors.
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, wordpress.org 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
- Kate Clancy Context and Variation and Krystal D’Costa Anthropology in Practice on Scientific American.
- On Psychology Today, Agustín Fuentes, Rosemary Joyce, Pat Shipman.
- Barbara J. King on NPR’s Cosmos and Culture.
- Greg Laden’s Blog for the Science Blogs.
Like Neuroanthropology, many of these began as (or still maintain) independent blogs.
Other Collaborative Anthropology Online
More innovative anthropology collaborations online:
- anthropologies edited by Ryan Anderson is a great way to contribute to hybrid blog-article anthropology online.
- The Mermaid’s Tale is a co-authored book and frequently-updated blog, with each co-author contributing more than many single-authored blogs.
- PopAnth – Hot Buttered Humanity – Popular Anthropology is a relatively new entrant with a winning presence and zippy feel.
- Open Anthropology Cooperative hosts multiple discussions on anthropological issues.
- The Evolutionary Studies Consortium is an interesting example of blog collaboration hosted at a number of insitutions (thank you to Kevin Sheridan for the clarification during the workshop).
- Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative is a collaborative intra-institutional effort.
Anthropology Blogs on Blogger, WordPress.com
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.