Openness, in multiple ways, has been characteristic and even constitutive of anthropology. This course is organized around anthropology's "open edges," so to speak – the places where its concepts, methods, modes of production, and institutions are open to difficult uncertainty and vital change. What does anthropology promise?, we might ask. But we will also ask: who gets to be called an anthropologist? Who will pay an anthropologist to “do anthropology”? Which raises the perennial: what's an anthropologist to do?
We will explore how anthropologists are trying to open up the discipline at both the publishing end (Open Access issues) and at the data end (platforms for archiving and sharing research materials). We will also examine how professional societies and funding organizations encourage or discourage such openings, and the infrastructural challenges for supporting them. What, in turn, are the new openings for “public anthropology” created by digital technologies, when not only research results can be more openly shared, but anthropological data itself becomes more open, discoverable, and iterable? How are “alternative” genres of writing and research reporting (shared platforms, blogs, social media, etc.) opening up in these spaces, how are they valued and evaluated within the university, and what kinds of "alternative careers" are, or might be, opened up for anthropologists outside the academy (e.g. corporate/organizational ethnography)? Other topics and questions of “openness” we will explore include:
--new forms of collaboration among anthropologists, between anthropologists and other researchers, and between anthropologists and their publics;
--new conceptual, disciplinary, and genre openings in/to anthropological genealogies
--anthropological openings in the undergraduate curriculum (global studies, science and technology studies, etc.)
And throughout, we will work to remain open to the limits of openness, reading it for its inevitable closures.
A general note: some topics may shift around a bit as some guests who I've asked to attend certain sessions may need to change their date commitments; I will try to do this as far in advance as I can. I have left the last few sessions open, to be organized around the interests of seminar participants. And I am open to changing anything in the syllabus, based on our different and emerging needs, perspectives, and directions.