Sunday, February 28, 2010

AWOL stats

Over this weekend AWOL - The Ancient World Online will reach a milestone of sorts. It will pass one hundred thousand page loads. As of this moment there have been 99,725 page loads from 59,233 visitors, of whom 15,884 made more than one visit.

Traffic over the lifetime of the site is displayed in this graph.

The feed by email function via Feedburner is very popular - at the moment just over one thousand souls have chosen to add receive updates by email. Another twenty six readers get the feed through other means.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogs Don't Get No Respect

The journal American Anthropologist, flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association, just published a brief essay on anthropology blogs:

Price, David H.
2010 Blogging Anthropology: Savage Minds, Zero Anthropology, and AAA Blogs. American Anthropologist 112:140-142
. ((Available through Anthrosource, IF you subscribe; the AAA is quite regressive on Open Access))

My first reaction, when I heard about this on Savage Minds, was positive. Wow, a mainstream, academic peer-reviewed journal was giving attention to professional blogs. But most of the paper is a rather low-level discussion of internet discourse--things that any academic who has spent more than an hour online will know already. (blogs are current; writing can be sloppy; they can make academic work known to a wider audience; etc.; This goes in the "Wowie-zowie, leapin' lizards, Mr. Science" department).

Then there are three paragraphs on Savage Minds, which is a great blog, probably the blog I check most regularly. One paragraph is devoted to Zero Anthropology (very political and critical), and one paragraph to the American Anthropological Association's blog (yawn). In all, American Anthropologist has devoted five paragraphs to anthropology blogs. The discussion of Savage Minds is interesting and gives an idea of what is found there; for the others, it is hard to get much information from a single paragraph. But even for Savage Minds, the paper does not have space for any kind of critical analysis of its content, how it relates to intellectual production in other parts of the discipline, what its influence might be, etc. etc.

My conclusion is that American Anthropologist is not giving much respect to blogging. If this was considered a serious topic, they would have given more space for analysis, and they would have published a paper that focused on the blogs rather than devoting most of its space to a bunch of irrelevant tutoring for the internet-challenged.

I was going to post comments like this as a comment on Savage Minds this morning, but the comments on their original post (which used the AA piece to talk about "public anthropology") formed an extensive, vibrant, and exciting exchange on public anthropology (so comments like this would be off-topic). The discussion is a great example of the way an academic blog can be a true intellectual venue, a place for interesting and important exchanges of information and opinion. Just the comments on this one entry provide a better comment on the potentials of academic blogging than the whole AA paper.

I haven't seen anything remotely similar in archaeology. AWBG occasionally gets some interesting discussion going, and I've seen a few interesting discussions on other blogs here and there. I often post things on Publishing Archaeology that are deliberately provocative, hoping to generate discussion. But almost all of the interesting responses I've gotten have come in the form of emails to me, NOT comments on the blog. People want to respond, but evidently don't feel comfortable doing that in a public venue.

I don't have any grand conclusions, just a sense of disappointment that archaeology doesn't yet seem to have a vibrant and exciting intellectual venue on the internet. But anthropology sure does - check out Savage Minds, its great.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Symposium: Slaves and Households in the Near East

The Sixth Annual University of Chicago Oriental Institute Seminar

Slaves and Households in the Near East
Organized by Laura Culbertson

Slavery is a reality of history that has been attested since the earliest cuneiform documents from ancient Mesopotamia. This seminar engages new approaches to the study of slaves in the Near East and seeks to open new conversations about this ubiquitous yet complicated topic. By considering the relationships between slaves and households — whether defined as domestic units, state institutions, or temples — the presenters explore the cultural and sociopolitical contexts of slaves, in addition to economic and legal aspects, and offer insights into the dynamics between slaves and the non-slave populations around them. Utilizing a range of data and theoretical approaches, the presenters cover material from the earliest states of Mesopotamia to the Abbasid, Safavid, and Ottoman empires.

Friday, March 5, 2010

opening remarks
9:00–9:30 am
Gil J. Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute
Introduction by Laura Culbertson, The Oriental Institute

session 1 | early mesopotamia
9:30 am–12:00 noon
Robert Englund — University of California, Los Angeles
Hans Neumann — Universität Münster
Laura Culbertson — The Oriental Institute
Andrea Seri — The Oriental Institute

session 2 | the islamic near east
2:00–5:00 pm
Kathryn Babayan — University of Michigan
Matthew Gordon — University of Miami
Ehud Toledano — Tel Aviv University

Saturday, March 6, 2010

session 3 | the second and first millennium empires
9:30–11:00 am
Kristin Kleber — Freie Universität Berlin
F. Rachel Magdalene — Universität Leipzig
Jonathan Tenney — Loyola University, New Orleans

session 4 | respondents and final discussion
11:00 am–12:00 noon
Indrani Chatterjee — Rutgers University
Martha Roth — The Oriental Institute

The Oriental Institute is accessible. Persons with disabilities who need assistance should contact Laura Culbertson at (773) 702-2589

See the list of prior Symposia.

Proceedings of Oriental Institute Symposia are speedily publishe by the Oriental Institute in the series Oriental Institute Seminars (OIS)

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Digital Classicist Call for Seminar Papers

The Digital Classicist will once more be running a series of seminars at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, with support from the British Library, in Summer 2010 on the subject of research into the ancient world that has an innovative digital component. We are especially interested in work that demonstrates interdisciplinarity or work on the intersections between Ancient History, Classics or Archaeology and a digital, technical or practice-based discipline.

The Digital Classicist seminars run on Friday afternoons from June to August in Senate House, London. In previous years collected papers from the DC WiP seminars have been published* in a special issue of an online journal (2006), edited as a printed volume (2007), and released as audio podcasts (2008-9); we anticipate similar publication opportunities for future series. A small budget is available to help with travel costs.

Please send a 300-500 word abstract to by
March 31st 2010. We shall announce the full programme in April.


The organizers
Gabriel Bodard, King's College London
Stuart Dunn, King's College London
Juan Garcés, Greek Manuscripts Department, British Library
Simon Mahony, University College London
Melissa Terras, University College London

* See (2006), (2007), (2008-9). | |
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