Recently a list of the “top 100 anthropology blogs” was produced by a site called Online Universities. I am certain that the intentions behind the listing were purely positive and constructive, and I am not imputing any sinister motive on the part of Patricia Gavins, the site author, or Christina Laun who authored the specific page in question. Nor do I think it is worth complaining that some sites are listed as a professor’s blog while others are not; that in some cases the professor’s name is indicated, in others it is not; that sometimes the institutional affiliation of the bloggers is noted, in others it is not; or even the tepid description that this blog gets, when others seem much more exciting. It is Laun’s list and she is perfectly free to write it in the way that pleases her most.
What is much more significant is this: “anthropology blogs.” Leaving aside previous, hot, discussions on this blog on what constitutes an “anthropology” blog, the fact of the matter is that the list is entirely Anglo-centric. This has been noted by my friends at Comunidade Imaginada, a Portuguese anthropology blog to which I link, and which I respect. The world of self-described anthropology blogs is much bigger, much richer, and much more interesting than that 100 list would lead some to believe. It is also not clear how it was determined that these 100 were the “top” blogs.
As with discussions about “open access” publishing in anthropology, our discussions of anthropology blogging must display a positive anthropological ethic by eschewing the kind of Eurocentrism, or specifically Anglo-centrism, and in some cases Ameri-centrism that pervades so much of the purview on anthropology here in North America.
All lists are acts of (mis)recognition, and one has to be aware/wary of that. I don’t think we ever clearly resolved on this blog what an anthropology blog was either, and I would welcome renewing that discussion.