Today’s guest blog post is written by AAA member, John L. Jackson, Jr. John is a Richard Perry University Professor of Communication and Anthropology and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
Oxford University Press has created a new and ambitious online project, Oxford Bibliographies, which attempts to provide scholars, students, and other interested readers with introductions to important topics and themes from many academic fields/disciplines. Anthropology’s module was launched last month, and I have agreed to help edit that particular module. Oxford was able to put together a strong editorial board for the project, which included scholars from all four of American anthropology’s major sub-fields: archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical/biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. These nine scholars helped to select and vet the entries on various topics (including applied anthropology, cultural evolution, public archaeology, language ideology, globalization and many more). All in all, OB’s Anthropology site contains 50 entries penned by scholars from across the country and the world, including Tobias Kelly on Legal Anthropology, Vernon J. Williams on Franz Boas, Jeremy Sabloff on public archaeology, Neni Panourgia on interpretive anthropology, Kudzo Gavua on ethnoarchaeology, John Trumper on ethnoscience, Judith Irvine on Language Ideology, and Christina Campbell on primatology (just to name a few).
Although I don’t consider anthropology’s four fields a “sacred bundle” never to be disassembled under any circumstances, I am intrigued by the idea of forcing myself to learn more about the four farthest corners of this sprawling and hubris-filled discipline that imagines itself to cut across the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. Oxford’s new initiative will allow anthropologists to think about how much we might really gain from conversations across the intradisciplinary domains that often divide us. Oxford’s intervention will help us to see how physical anthropologists and cultural anthropologists might differently approach topics. For example, we can determine what kind of reviewer an urban anthropologist working in contemporary Latin America would make for a piece on “the histories of cities” crafted by an archaeologist. Or we can ask a physical anthropologist and a cultural anthropologist to pen two different entries for, say, “race” or “gender.” I’m intrigued to see what (hopefully productive!) sparks might fly from such four-fielded contact, and I’ve already learned so much about those other anthropological spheres during the build-up to this year’s launch. Check out the new site. 50 new entries will launch every January, and current entries will be revised and updated throughout the year.
Also, please feel free to let me know if there is a topic/entry you’d like to suggest and/or author.
Bookmark Oxford Bibliographies, today: oxfordbibliographiesonline.com