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  1. Digital Anthropology Group Is Happening Now
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Digital Anthropology Group Is Happening Now

This post is an attempt at a formal-ish sounding mission statement for our collective of anthropologists engaged, in many different ways, with digital concerns be they methodlogical or topical. If folks want to leave feedback in the comments section that’s always appreciated!

You will notice that this statement says nothing about our organizational structure. We are proceeding with the plan of becoming an interest group under the AAA. From the looks of it that hasn’t stopped SOYUZ from including non-AAA members and nurturing ties with other professional organizations, so I’m optimistic that we can follow in their footsteps.

Note that we do not need formal by-laws like what is shown in the SOYUZ link, nor am I suggesting that this statement or any other needs to be set in stone. Basically we’re just looking for a place to start, so evaluate this as provisional and not final.

We have yet to settle on a name. I’ve created a Survey Monkey with all the suggested names so far. It also has a text box where you can leave additional name ideas, you know, just in case you’re sitting on a brilliant name and haven’t told us yet. The field is wide open now, but we’ll narrow it first and then have a run off. I use the name Digital Methods in the mission statement below just as a place holder. Also note that the t-shirts could look like the “Crystal Method” and would be awesome. Just saying.

I am now creating the charter membership list. Joining is free. Please email me at MDTHOMPS @ ODU.EDU with the name and contact information you’d like for me to use in future communications. AAA members will have to use the name and email address that the AAA has on file. In late April we will have a more thorough and proactive membership drive, right now I’m just trying to get enough people to launch the group.

The next order of business will be putting together an OA themed panel for the AAA annual meeting. Giovanni has already said he wants to be involved, Tom Boellstorff in a previous post seemed interested, I was thinking we could ask Jason Jackson too, maybe we could rope CKelty into it. What do others think? Anybody want a piece of this conference action and/or take it over from me?

Okay, so recap:
1. Comment on this mission statement (below)
2. Respond to Survey Monkey about name
3. Email me with contact info to join
4. Chime in about OA panel/roundtable idea
5. Share this widely

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.


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