There a lively discussion going on in other regions of the Open Anthropology Cooperative (what a terrific name, by the way) about the sustainability of this initiative. In my experience with those rare scholarly groups that achieve this elusive goal, e.g. Savage Minds, the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), or the EASA Media Anthropology Network, the key is to have a committed hard core of people driving the project, preferably with a good mix of backgrounds (nationality, gender, seniority, etc.), but ensuring as wide and sustained participation as possible over time.

With these thoughts in mind, I'd like to propose an OAC Seminar Series that would give the entire Cooperative a regular online gathering place (say 3 or 4 times a year) and contribute towards its sustainability. We would need to invite people to submit working papers of general anthropological interest and then discuss them online over an allocated period of time, e.g. two weeks. For an example of how this can work in practice, see the Media Anthropology Network site where you'll find PDF transcripts of dozens of previous e-seminars.


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Thanks Stacie, that's very helpful. As soon as I've got over my current marking (aka grading) crisis I will get this going and start planning the first couple of seminars. Any prospective Friends of the Seminar Series out there, please drop me a line off-forum.
How would an online seminar work? I would think that 'papers' should be limited to a few pages at most, or even creatively non- or partially textual, such as, for instance, diagrams, drawings, photos, a text integrated in some (probably experimental) way that would, one hopes, make sense to others? Perhaps that could be under the rubric of new/alternative ways of presenting ethnographical stuff?
I would think above all it should be fun, or at least fun for anthropologists (no doubt a peculiar category of its own in the 'fun' domain).
Thanks Robert. For this particular research seminar endeavour, I would stick to the usual working paper format because it works (or at least it has worked for 5 years in the media anthropology e-seminars mentioned earlier, we'll see how it goes here). That said, presenters can always if they wish incorporate into their papers the kinds of resources that you mention. The key thing for me would be to have a venue in which people can present and discuss their ongoing anthropological research.

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