2008 SfAA Podcasts have begun


The first of seventeen 2008 SfAA Podcasts is up over at SfAApodcasts.net.

Presidential Plenary Session in Honor of John van Willigen: The Art and Science of Applied Anthropology in the 21st Century” including Satish Kedia, Susan Andreatta, Metta Baba, and Erve Chambers is the first one up. I’ve only listened to portions of it, but I’m enjoying it so far.

One of the best things about having a podcast team this year was that I’m looking forward to the podcasts being published as much as everyone else. Last year I recorded each session so I heard all of them but this year I only recorded five ;)

My SfAA presentation (about the online course research)


While in Memphis I will also be co-presenting a paper with Christina Wasson about our online-on-campus research that we’ve been working on for just over a year. The session is on Friday morning (F-10) 8:00-9:50 am in the Nashville room and is entitled “The Scholar-Practitioner in Organizational Settings.” Our paper is titled “Theory and Praxis in an Educational Setting: Building Community Online.”

Here is the session abstract from Crysta Metcalf
“In this session we introduce and model the concept of the “scholar-practitioner,” practicing anthropologists who explicitly draw on theory in their work and contribute to theory development. Although such an integration of theory and practice has long existed, it has been gaining greater recognition in recent years, especially as more and more anthropologists are applying our discipline in organizational settings. The members of this panel draw on their experiences in both academic and organizational settings, presenting case studies and examples in order to explore the challenges and opportunities inherent in working toward the advancement of anthropological theory in applied practice.”

I’m excited about this session because I am co-presenting with my advisor and many of the other women on the panel are the ones that I’ve followed their work for the last four years. It’s quite an honor :)

I’ll upload a copy of the paper post-conference but I can let you in on a little secret…
it will be recorded for the SfAA Podcasts. I guess I’ve done a good job in finding my way into cool panels because this is the second year that my session was selected for the podcasts. I do oversee the selection of sessions but the sessions are picked from suggestions submitted by lots of people.

New group – Ethnographic Praxis (EP) – training students with skills they will need outside of academia


While I am not an active leader within this group (because let’s face it, I have *too* much on my plate), I will be participating in it and I think it is a great initiative! This is the group that came of of a BoF session at EPIC that I wrote about here.

This is an email sent out (and re-posted with permission) by Amy Goldmacher:


This is an invitation for any interested parties to join a Google group dedicated to strengthening the relationship between industry and academia. This group was conceived at the EPIC 2007 “Birds of a Feather” session and we are calling it Ethnographic Praxis (EP). The Google group will be the virtual space for communication (and we are open to suggestions on how best to maintain a robust resource and connection for EP). You will not receive a glut of emails from us; we will post items to the group page so that you can check at your leisure. To join, please email me directly at solidgoldmacher [at] gmail [dot] com and I will send you an invitation to the Google group.

To date, we have come up with the following four action items:

1. Define the purpose of the Ethnographic Praxis (EP) Google group as: a space for people from any discipline who are interested in transitioning from academic ethnography to the practice of ethnography in industry, including students who want to work outside academia and practitioners who have a vested interest in helping train and provide opportunities for future practitioners.

2. Create a topical interest group (TIG) within EPIC to focus on facilitating the relationship between academia and industry.

3. Develop a set of ethnographic standards (to be defined) that has EPIC’s “seal of approval” for ethnographers who want to get more experience in classical anthropological methods.

4. Organize and advertise in-person meetings and/or sessions at other non-EPIC conferences dealing with issues of the practice of ethnography.

And three news items:

1. For those who are attending the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) meeting in Memphis, we will arrange an informal session at the conference for any interested parties to participate in furthering the purpose of EP and plan for EPIC 2008 (time and place information to follow). We also encourage people from other disciplines attending other conferences in the near future to organize opportunities to connect—it would be great to do this in multiple disciplines.

2. Also at SfAA, please consider attending a two-part workshop called “Ethnography in the Corporation” on Friday, 3/28 led by Gitte Jordan and Julia Gluesing. Part I will explore how corporate projects differ from academic investigations and examine how industrial researchers adapt conventional anthropological methods to the different circumstances and requirements that arise in business settings. It also will include do’s and don’ts about negotiating client relationships and presenting findings to clients. Part II is a simulation designed to give participants the opportunity to apply through case examples and exercises the methods and best practices they learned in Part I.

3. Mark Dawson of Ethnography.com recently announced that Jennifer Jones of California State University-Fresno is the first student to be awarded a matching travel grant to attend the 2008 EPIC in Denmark. This year the grant was non-competitive and awarded by recommendation of Fresno State faculty members. It is hoped that this grant will be an annual event and be awarded on a competitive basis next year, and that other partnerships between industry and academia will develop!

We look forward to productive communication in the Ethnographic Praxis group!

Amy Goldmacher, Wayne State University
Marlo Jenkins, Wayne State University
Christine Miller, Savannah College of Art and Design
Jim Mullooly, California State University-Fresno
Melissa Zlatow, Arizona State University

What my Twitter network means to me


There has been much buzz around Twitter, what Twitter means, what Twitter is, etc. in the last day. (Twitter is a microblogging social network site.) Yesterday @jowyang did a great blog post about this and it sparked a firestorm of of chatter on Twitter, blogs, etc. One thing that came from it (and I believe that’s what Jeremiah intended with his post) was a surge in people adding new Twitter friends. Someone in my friend list coined the term “friend ninja” to mean following someone because another friend said hello to them and another friend later shortened it to “FNJ.”

I thought I’d give my two cents about Twitter today. It’s something I’ve been meaning to write, but I’m feeling inspired after what another friend called “Twitter Tuesday.” I’ve illustrated as many points as I could in this post with links back to either specific tweets (posts on Twitter) or Twitterers. Now, I’ve written before about Twitter(here, here, here and here) but I haven’t shared too many thoughts about it.

For months I’ve realized that Twitter is of incredible value to me:

  • Since I work and go to school online I’m home by myself all day, everyday, and there are days that I don’t leave the house. Twitter keeps me company.
  • Also a result of working from home, I sometimes become uninspired or I feel like I’m becoming stagnant. Twitter inspires me.
  • Sometimes I run into problems or need to discuss an idea. Twitter becomes a dialog.
  • I can talk about anthropology with people (something I don’t get to do all that often ;)
  • When a new invitation-only beta launches and I need an invite, Twitter becomes my entry in.
  • Twitter has really become a source of news. I don’t pay quite as much attention to my RSS now, I read Twitter.
  • I learn about new events and meetups, both local and nationally.
  • I’ve made face-to-face friends on Twitter and I’ve become friends with people that I hope to meet someday.
  • I’ve gotten to know face-to-face friends better through Twitter.
  • Twitter has also become a way for me to update my family about my life because they now check Twitter everyday :)
  • It’s also a pragmatic tool; your favorite tweets can be reference in iTweet from the iPhone. When I’m standing in front of the beer case at the grocery or at a new bar, I look at my “Good beer:” tweets that I’ve favorited ;)
  • When I travel my friends also offer me recommendations of where to eat or what to do if I’m in a city where they are familiar with.

I have a poor memory (hence my organizational skills!) but I’ve always had a knack for remembering tidbits about people (hence I’m an anthropologist). While I sometimes find it hard to keep track of my ever-growing number of friends, I do remember bits and pieces about almost everyone of my Fritters (Twitter friends). (added Dec 13 – some of my friends call their Twitter friends ‘tweeps‘ – I love it!) I like to hear their stories; the events, their thoughts, the day-to-day, etc. It’s all interesting to me (even the boring parts). On Twitter I’m exposed to people I would never otherwise know; parents (can you believe I do not have face-to-face friends with kids?), older people, younger people, real estate people, PR people, publishers, social media specialists, teachers and students, international friends (my feed is never quiet, someone is always up somewhere), and the like. It’s amazing!

This diversity is both intentional and unintentional. Since Twitter has added the tracking feature I track things I’m interested in as well as things I’m becoming interested in (like HCI). But, for the most part, my friend list has developed organically and unintentionally.

In 2007 we had two (with) Twitter births, a Twitter wedding, a Twitter suicide threat, people making true friendships (by the traditional definition), people being diagnosed with cancer, people changing jobs, hacks to work around Twitter faults, trends & memes, third party apps, and so much more. I’m looking forward to seeing if Twitter will continue to thrive in 2008 or if it will be out (sorry- I’m watching Project Runway as I write this!).

Find me on Twitter: @jencardew
I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, comments about Twitter and leave your Twitter name in your comments (which I have to moderate because my blog is loved by spambots).

A halirious example of HR not knowing their audience


This was posted to an anthropology listserv this morning. It’s a job position for a TV host for a show that will explore international tattoo culture. I just starting laughing hysterically when I read it- did the person that wrote this think about it or re-read it before they sent it out? It specifically says “looking for anthropologists…” in the beginning- did they not think of how anthropologists may react to it? Have they never met an anthropologist?

I really don’t feel like much comment is needed, but I underlined and made bold the parts that I found to be funniest:

“Subject: Seeking Anthropologists or Journalists or Travel Writers to
Host New TV Series Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 16:15:40 -0500 From:

New York Documentary Television Production Company is seeking
anthropologists or journalists or travel writers to host a new
documentary TV series for a major cable network about tattoo culture
around the world. We are looking for someone who is attractive, smart,
a guy’s guy, adventurous, engaging, inquisitive. Someone who’s up for
anything, not afraid to get dirty, be in dangerous situations.
a tattoo is a plus!
This is someone who is driven by curiosity and can
share the experience — be it in Russian prison tattoo parlors or
Puerto Rican gangs — with an audience. He’s not in it to get tattooed
but is a seeker with real world experience. This is an opportunity to
host a primetime cable tv series. Must be willing to travel. This
could turn into a full-time job. If you fit this description, please
film yourself answering the following questions. Personality is key so
have fun with this, while imparting intellect and curiosity. 5-10
minutes max. Shoot outdoors if possible. Waist up so I can see your
face. Going for an outdoorsy look, not clean-cut, not too edgy. Please
email your clips
[Must be received by Monday, Dec 10, 2007]

1. Your name, where you live
2. Your bio in brief – professional, education, hobbies
3. Travel experience — where have you been overseas? Most memorable
4. Show us your tattoos [if you have any]. Give a brief explanation of
2 of them. Why are you interested in tattoos? Or why are you interested
in investigating cultures around the world?
5. What are you most passionate about? Give us a one-minute tutorial on
the subject.
6. Have the camera follow you to go “interview” someone (could be
someone a few feet away). Ask that person a few questions about a topic
they know about.
7. Eat something spicey, sour, gross and react – tell us what it tastes
like, feels like. Make us feel like we’re experiencing it too.

Tape can be submitted via email, or hard copies on DVD, VHS, or Mini-DV
formats. Materials will not be returned.

Must be received by Dec 10, 2007.

Thank you.

Friday, December 28, 2007 at 10PM
Discovery Channel (Following MAN VS. WILD)”

((I took out the identifying information, but I can forward you the email if you like. BTW I’m not one for telling others what to do (did you notice my silence on the HTS issue?) BUT I don’t think any self-respecting anthropologist should respond to this… unless you truly believe you could change their views (and you probably can’t))

2007 AAA Days 3-4


The AAA conference in DC went on until Sunday, December 2 but Saturday was the last day I went in. By the time our session was over on Saturday, I was completely conferenced out!

I spent the majority of the day on Friday in various meetings/meet-ups/etc. I had a much needed f2f meeting with my advisor and we’ve figured out an approach for finding my practicum idea- I have several ideas, but nothing ‘perfect’ yet.

We presented our research on online-on-campus education on Saturday morning. The session went pretty well and we had some questions after the session. There were about 50 people in the room while we were presenting- this was an improvement over last year’s 8 :) If anyone has interest in reading our paper “Using Linguistic Anthropology to Compare Online and On-Campus Learning Experiences” let me know. The focus for the paper was on the experiences in class discussions.

Overall, I felt like this year’s AAA conference was much better than last year’s. It’s likely that I’ll attend the 2008 meeting in San Francisco, but I’m not sure if I’ll chose to go after I graduate- the SfAA conference is much more comfortable for me and is of more interest to me as well. I was in one of three ‘applied’ sessions at the AAA and it wasn’t as ‘applied’ as you’d find at the SfAA (some papers were, some were not). I do not like non-applied anthropology; I’ve always been in an applied department and I plan to always do applied work.

The National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) is a group within the AAA, as is Ethnography in Praxis Conference (EPIC); if I continue to be part of the AAA post-graduation it will likely be because of these 2 organizations.

I’ll be at the AAA conference this week in DC


After a little encouragement from those around me (and most importantly from my research team), I’ve decided to attend the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting again this year.

I went to the meeting in San Jose last year and I was less than impressed with it. My main dislike for the conference last year was the general vibe, it felt stuffy, too academic, and semi-dull. After a few days there I felt better about it, but I still did not like it as much as the SfAA conference. People told me that last year’s Meeting was stuffier than usual, so that on top of presenting, convinced me to give it another go. Well, I’ve never been to DC so that is an added bonus!

I’ll be presenting, along with my advisor Christina Wasson and the other RA Megan Bannon, on Saturday morning (8 am is when the session starts!). Our panel is called “Issues in Applied Linguistic Anthropology.” It’s sure to be an interesting session for those of you interested in linguistics and there are some big names in the almost 4 hour long session! We are presenting on our online-on-campus research (and here and here).

I’ll be tweeting during the conference, so you can find me here on Twitter.
Let me know if you’ll be at the conference too, here’s my email.

I’ll be in DC from Nov. 27 – Dec 3.

Preparing our paper about the online-on-campus research for the AAA


We are now in the analysis phase of our research that explores the similarities and differences between an on-campus and online graduate level seminar. The course was taught at UNT and both on-campus and online were taught at the same time, by the same professor, with the same readings, etc. Our data now consists of interviews with all of the students in the course, three weeks of discussion board threads for online, three one hour teleconferences that were part of the online course, and three weeks worth of video recordings of the on-campus class meeting. We chose to focus on the same three weeks in both courses.

From what I can tell so far, there have not been many (well, I have not found any) studies that have focus on both on-campus and online courses taught at the same time by the same professor. I have found a lot of articles in my extensive literature review that compare asynchronous and synchronous elements of an online course.

While the study was met to be more of a pilot (due to only being able to focus on three weeks) it’s turning out to be much more fruitful than a pilot! I would have never imagined we would end up with so much data!

We’ll be presenting Saturday, December 1, at 8:00 am at the AAA conference. Thus, we are working on the paper and presentation now. Much like it has been for the last two months of analysis- we’re finding that it’s difficult deciding what to focus on! There is so much to say, frameworks to use, etc. It’s been a good experience to have to help decide what to focus on, and there has been a fair amount of back and forth about it.

The analysis is somewhat interdisciplinary project in that we are drawing on distance education, education, computer-mediated communication, language ideologies, and of course, linguistic anthropology. This has also been a good experience.

The last important lesson I’ve learned is how quickly data can become overwhelming, both in quality and quantity!

The project is applied in nature and thus we’ve started making design recommendations from the data to inform both course development and the electronic learning software. I think our recommendations are great and when we presented preliminary findings to the department last month, we got some valuable feedback about the recommendations.

For AAA we’ll likely narrow our focus to ‘presence’ (as defined by Garrison and others) online and on-campus. I’ll post more about the actual findings after the conference, but I can tell you that we are finding that both on-campus and online have their strengths and weaknesses :)
We’ve been doing analysis

My third semester at UNT is wrapping up…


My classes are winding down and the end of this semester will be much easier than the last two. I’m taking Organizational Behavior (elective) and the UNT department’s required pre-practicum course.

The pre-practicum course is meant to prepare us for our practicum. Master’s students at UNT are required to do an applied research project for a client in lieu of thesis. I like this approach because it provides far more practical experience than writing a research paper. The course has finally got to the point where we discuss our practicums, etc. Up until recently we’ve focused more on professional development (resume, networking, etc.) This has been helpful, but I have to admit I would have preferred for the course to focus more on our practicums. The course is being taught by someone who is not part of the faculty because the usual professor for the course is not teaching this semester. I’m not sure how different the course would be if we had the UNT professor – my guess is that it would focus more on the practicum.

I have to write a practicum proposal as the final assignment for the course. I wrote a project statement for it last week (think 30 second elevator talk for your project on paper).
I think the project proposal will be a bit difficult because the very idea of doing this without consulting with the client is absurd to me, but this is more for practice than for us to actually use.

I don’t have an organizational behavior exam, just our typical homework assignment, group work, and multiple choice test. Having just the one project due will be a refreshing change from the last year!

And, my project over winter break is to go back and tag old posts about UNT as such because I’ve since learned that people find those posts interesting and/or find them while doing searches about the online program.

Software & Online Resources for Research (Part 6 of 7) “Write Up”


This is part 6 of a 7 part series about software and internet resources for research. Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea,” can be found here and part 2, “Literature Review,” can be found here, part 3, “Research,” can be found here, part 4, “Transcription”, can be found here, and part 5, “Analysis,” can be found here.

All right, the data collection is done, interviews have been transcribed, and you’ve done your analysis- now it’s time to write up your reports!

For the actual writing, I use Microsoft Word, but you can use what ever you prefer.

Now, your efforts in maintaining Yep with all of your initial literature reviews will pay off for you now. Once you’ve discovered whatever was to be found in your data, it will make referencing the existing literature much easier.

But really this is the stage where all of your preparation and organization will pay off for you. All of the mind maps, wikis, and notes that you’ve been maintaining will make the actual write up easier and it process will go a little quicker for you.
Another piece of helpful software for this stage is End Note, which helps with the organization of bibliographies.

The write up isn’t your last step in research- you must publicize your work. There are many ways to go about this and the internet is the most useful resources for you. Part 7 is coming soon!