There’s a new online resource for anthropologists, or anyone with an interest in the field, which allows members to set up or join groups that relate to their own sphere, communicate with one another, announce events, write blogs and post to forums, add media content, and so on – all under the umbrella of the Open Anthronewyork023pology Cooperative.

The OAC came into being on May 29th, 2009, since when nearly a thousand people have signed up, and 84 groups have been started, some of which are mainstream, and many of which concentrate on more specific areas. Here’s an overview from their About page:

Anthropology has a distinguished past, but it has an even greater future. This is bound to depend on professionals and students of anthropology; and we hope that those of us who are already committed to the discipline will find here like-minded anthropologists, as well as new tools, resources and opportunities for collaboration.  The Open Anthropology Cooperative is not just for the members of an academic discipline; we welcome anyone for whom our conversations are interesting.

An engaged anthropology for the 21st century should also be an interdisciplinary project aiming to discover what we need to know about humanity as a whole if we would make a better world. Such a project depends on making full use of the emerging social and technical synthesis entailed in the digital revolution. It also means engaging with a new kind of inequality, the digital divide.  The OAC was launched on 28 May 2009 by a group of friends who met on Twitter before joining Ning.

The most important word in our title is the first. Open access, open membership, open to sharing new ideas, open to whatever the organization might do or become; open to everyone, as in ‘open source’. We have already started many discussion groups, blogs, a forum and places to share a variety of ideas and materials. This is just the beginning: we expect to hold virtual conferences, to add podcasts, publish longer pieces online and incorporate a variety of social networking devices into our exchanges.

The OAC is for all of us to explore and elaborate. Let the people take over! To help out with that, we have a small team of administrators (below) and an OAC Policy Forum where you can participate in shaping the Cooperative’s development. We encourage initiatives using languages other than English.


I’d imagine OAC would be of great interest to many readers of this site, and because there is far more there already than I can briefly cover here, I’d suggest having a browse round the various parts of the site, check out the groups. The signing up process is quick and straightforward, and indeed necessary for those wishing to interact with existing members, who hail from a wide variety of locations, bringing to the site a great scope of interests and backgrounds.

As I’ve only just signed up, it’ll be a while before I find my way around, but I’m hoping that over coming weeks and months there will be discussions, events and content posted there that will merit further mention in these pages. I came across this video for example, Tales From The Jungle: Margaret Mead, which begins by looking at her work in Samoa and the later controversy that arose, all which I’m hoping to cover as part of another post,

Open Anthropology Cooperative

image from here

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