The Particulars of a Name

“To understand a name you must be acquainted with the particular of which it is a name.”
–Bertrand Russell (p. 182)

“The author of the Iliad is either Homer or, if not Homer, somebody else of the same name.”
–Aldous Huxley (source)

As Huxley also said, “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” and in that spirit I present some nearly-vanished facts, and it can only be of interest to those following the details of the dispute between Open Anthropology and Open Anthropology Cooperative.

Guanaguanare posed a very basic and direct question in her post here. I especially value her views, for many reasons, not least of which being that our collaboration preceded this blog and gave rise to the conceptualization, and the naming, of open anthropology. She wrote:

I was uncomfortable from the start with the name and had asked you certain questions about the use of your concept. I believe that if these questions had been raised at the beginning, this situation could have been avoided. Of course, I could only trust my instincts as I had no way of determining exactly what the motives of that other party were, though the refusal over time to address the concerns of those who questioned the use of the name makes me trust my suspicions.

And you were silent because???… I gather that you were observing some arcane gentleman’s rules of engagement which required that you bite your tongue until the offending party’s sense of decency kicked in?

The history had become blurred in my mind, in part due to the fact that it was scattered across at least three separate discussion threads in Twitter, which does a poor job of archiving discussions (and thus necessitated that I dig through the tweets of individual participants in the discussions), as well as a now deleted discussion on Keith Hart’s The Memory Bank, which I saved and archived here.

The questions for me to answer for myself were: (1) Where was I when the discussion about the naming of the OAC took place? Did I have much time to consider it? (2) Who was the first person to think of using the phrase “open anthropology,” and why? I answer each of these questions below.

(1) I have found a record showing that, just like Paul Wren here, I had missed most of the discussions in Twitter. I said so on Lorenz Khazaleh’s blog on Thursday, 28 May, 2009: “I wonder where I have been. Something tells me that I do not have an effective method for following discussions in Twitter, because I completely missed all of this until you posted this. Many thanks as always” (link). Readers will note that one of the would-be administrators, Francine Barone, posted a mere two hours later, “By the way, looks like we’re setting up on Ning” (link). Thus two hours passed between my discovering there was a discussion, and the establishment of the OAC, which I was quick to join, and almost as quick to leave.

Moments after my post on Lorenz’s blog,, in fact just five minutes after, I apparently visited what is the now deleted discussion forum on Hart’s blog (here). My input was merely a technical one, suggesting that they might want to try using NING, as an experimental first step. Nobody, apart from Hart, seemed convinced that any solution should be permanent, everything was to be trial and error. In fact, nobody apart from Hart endorsed the NING idea (an earlier poll pointed to other solutions). He simply proceeded to create it, on his own, and very quickly (one hour) after I made my first appearance on the discussion on his site. His stating that he had created the network was the last post in that discussion. Indeed, no one even agreed that Hart should be the one in charge of us all. He simply assumed that position: “I decided to be autocratic in order to shift the operation to a more formal level” (from Hart’s e-mail to the “inner circle”).

As for the naming issue, I barely followed or absorbed the discussion, but my first impression, superficial as it was at that time, was that they wished to forge a link to my own initiative. “Forge” may have taken on another meaning later, and it was only after the network was created that the explicit statements of affinity to my project were made by at least three of the administrators, in private by email and on the OAC itself. I quoted them in the latest post about this dispute. In addition to those statements in the first post, one of the early administrators, Jeremy Trombley, who was the first to resign (we resigned for similar reasons concerning the autocracy Hart was creating), stated in an e-mail to all the administrators:

“As for a [mission] statement – I’ve said before that I really like Max’s Project statement on his blog (/about/). Maybe he would be willing to let us adapt that for our project here.”

To Jeremy’s statement, one of the other administrators, Francine Barone, replied:

“I also think Max’s project statement is brilliant.”

Keith Hart then replied:

“I like Max’ project statement too and I have often expressed our collective debt to him. By all means we should draw on his example. The issue is whether this is going to take place out in the open or here.”

However, these last statements above came after the network was created, and they certainly reinforced my earlier belief that the OAC was meant to be constructed as some sort of partner to what is my OAP (Open Anthropology Project). That it is mine is clearly recognized in their comments above, and in my last post, so this is not a matter for dispute.

To answer my first question, I was absent from the Twitter discussions, very late to the final pre-OAC discussion on Hart’s site, and then very quickly I became an administrator, reading the statements of affinity above. If the OAC was not meant to be linked to my OAP, then that certainly was not made clear, and indeed the opposite appeared to be truer. It also appears that I had a grand total of about six minutes to consider the discussion, from the moment I read it on Lorenz’s blog, to the moment after I posted on Hart’s discussion board. That now answers the first two questions.

(2) Who was the first person to even state that “open anthropology” be part of the name of what became the OAC? That was tough to answer. It is clear from reviewing the archived discussion from Hart’s blog that the OA part of the name had already been settled upon earlier, which means in the Twitter discussions. Today I drilled through all the tweets posted by key discussion participants starting from mid-May of this year: Jeremy Trombley, Carole McGranahan, Paul Wren, irenarco, Keith Hart, and Kerim Friedman. Before I write anything further, let me state that what I am about to write is definitely not meant to cast any blame, and it in no way diminishes my great respect for the person concerned.

The first person to have suggested the name portion, “open anthropology,” was Carole McGranahan in Twitter: “not great, but perhaps open anthropology association. the oaa?” (link). What was “not great” in Carole’s view was the first suggested name by irenarco (Cyber Anthropology Association), that appeared to be modified by Jeremy Trombley as the: International Cyber Anthropology Association. Carole had replied to that and said: “might we take ‘cyber’ out of the title altogether? also strikes me as meaning anth of cybercommunities” (link). Jeremy Trombley and Paul Wren agreed with Carole.

Why did Carole like “open anthropology”? This is critical, because no one challenged her reasoning, and her first statement on this issue contains a very significant mistake, that was later reversed in her subsequent statements within the OAC (quoted in my last post). Carole, writing in the Memory Bank discussion on 21 May 2009 (06:37), explained:

I do like the connotations of “open anthropology” including that it does not already have a history (of which I am aware anyway) and so comes not without meaning, but with much room for creativity, range, and growth.

It has no history. It is a name, that she places within quotation marks, and not a random combination of two separate words. My project, with that name, and that concept were already in existence, for over a year before Carole wrote that. I am surprised, since Carole communicated with me in Twitter, that she had never apparently visited my blog, and missed the large image down the left hand side of my Twitter page, with logo too, stating: “Open Anthropology.” Others would have known it had a history. This no longer concerns Carole, as she recently resigned as an administrator from the OAC in the wake of this dispute.

In conclusion, we now know how the name came into being, why, why it was not discussed by me before the OAC was created, and what was said within the OAC that clearly represented different modes of linkage to Open Anthropology as it exists on my sites.

Some on the other side of this dispute responded with snide remarks, insults, name-calling, and even the bullying of one of their anonymous members, responses that are not even vaguely civil, let alone professional. If they continue to behave in that manner I will surely continue to respond as I have on this blog.

My own arguments are based on careful documentation, quotes, references, and actual facts (and I never even called myself a “scientist”). And “science” without facts is what again? That some, particularly Philip Carl Salzman and John McCreery, among those who boast about “science” and “objectivity,” should choose to respond with petty insults demonstrates in public what great scientists they really are in the end. All posture, puffery, and propaganda from some of the most diabolically biased individuals hiding behind masks of professionalism. Open Anthropology never does that.

I agree, one can have different ideas about what to do, and how to do it. Excellent. Do it under another name, because what you do not do is, (a) create an artificial affinity between projects, and then, (b) adopt the identical conceptual terminology and identifying label. You are “scientists,” right? Well the first thing you should have learned about science is that it scorns anything other than very precise conceptual distinctions, with their own specific terminology. An atom is never a molecule, and this atom refuses to be assimilated into anyone else’s molecule.

21 thoughts on “The Particulars of a Name

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  2. Donald S.

    As you might have guessed I have been following this very closely and with great interest. I am delighted that you approved my outline of the nature of this conflict and its evolution in my comment on your previous article. This new article would tend to confirm that I was on the right track, except that it makes certain issues even more acute. This does not look good and I mean it does not look good for the people in control of OAC. The noise-makers they have throwing barbs at you are nothing more than that, they tolerate them because they are a buffer and a distraction, though I see you are quite prepared to tackle them too.

    Full disclosure: my own personal investment in this issue lies in the fact that I use this blog for teaching purposes and I am concerned that no harm come to it, and therefore you. It is unique. It should be valued accordingly. I know all too well how easy it can be to become discouraged and shut everything down. Don’t consider it even for a moment.

    It is with regret that I have seen episodes similar to this one played out elsewhere in the academy. You are right to pursue this. If your adversaries have any sense, they will resolve the issue immediately. There was no democracy in their hasty decision-making from the start, and there is no reason why this Hart fellow cannot right his wrong immediately. If he is the ultimate controller of that site, then the responsibility rests squarely on his shoulders. Press on. Do not let them stall or stonewall.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Donald, I am deeply touched by your message. Rest assured, there is no chance of my shutting anything down, nor do I intend to silently and patiently wait once again only for the issue to become dormant once more.

      If I am thankful for anything about this experience is that it has brought out into the open some of the faithful readers such as yourself. I hope that we can correspond by e-mail. I know that many academics are very reticent about commenting in public, and prefer to read and look on. Hopefully, following your example, and knowing they can protect themselves by posting anonymously, they should feel less reluctant to speak out.

      Many thanks again for your very kind message, I am deeply gratified by your words.

  3. Maximilian Forte

    I wonder why people who have not bothered to investigate a subject feel so pressed to pass such definitive judgment. Not the first time that this Nikos fails to observe some modesty:

    “Of course, we have to protect what we have built and still the question is why Max remembered the NAME at mid August , instead of putting this matter on the table at 28 of May when OAC started just 3 months ago. Maybe he thought that his site starts recently to be in danger because of the multiplicity of OAC, but this is contradictory to his aims that are different of OAC as he claims. The question still remains.”

    I don’t know…it seems like it is in two posts now that I have identified when I raised the name as an issue, and it was not in mid-August, but rather soon after I left the OAC. As I explained previously, once one of the admins, Carole McGranahan raised the issue, and got two approving replies for a name change, the other admins let the issue pass without notice, or without comment. Then I waited. I waited a little longer. Then, I waited some more. Enough is enough.

    As I explained in the post above, I had between 5 minutes and one hour to consider the entire discussion that led to the formation of the OAC.

    The nonsense about the OAC growing and causing me “jealousy,” is very juvenile. I belong to another NING network that has four times the members of the OAC. And I created one that is much more specialized and has almost half as many members, but many more of whom are actually active.

    1. Frenchguy

      Only to abund in your sense Max, because it seems that redundancy is sometimes unfortunately necessary (if that makes any sense).

      You wrote, in Response to Fran (one of the OAC admins) : “Some problems could be solved by choosing another name. “,
      and a bit further : “I think you guys need a new name”.

      It was here :

      And it was on the 10th of June.

      Right now, the perfectly open administration committee of OAC is debating the issue in a perfectly open “in camera” debate. I do not like sarcasms too much, but I do it out of anger. An anger which will cool down as soon as the issue is resolved. I am quite optimistic.

      1. Maximilian Forte

        Good, many thanks for those notes. Ironically, I not only forgot about my own comment, I forgot to check the discussions on this very blog. Again, thanks very much. The idea that these issues have only been raised in August is proven yet again to be nonsense.

        I can appreciate your sarcasm, it is very much needed.

  4. Stacie

    “I know that many academics are very reticent about commenting in public, and prefer to read and look on.” -Max

    A certain freedom does come from being an ‘idiot student’ with nothing to loose, nothing to gain.

    If academics are talented at role playing, they could try shifting personas. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be an old man with a philosophical-looking beard. Who’s to say I’m not?

    Now that the OAC discussion (seems to be?) winding down, or at least is sufficiently exclusive not to be of interest, do you have any suggestions for good theoretically-oriented resources/discussions online? You know, quality discussions of fundamental ideas, of any sort? Well, not ANY, but broadly relevant to anthropology – stacie.gilmore [at] I guess your email address is around here somewhere. I decided I needed to restructure how I interact with the internet, so I replaced several listservs, etc. annoying emails, with a nice pile of rss feeds on I’m not completely satisfied with all the anthro blogs I’ve found, although some are good. I poked around your link list and the links on several other blogs/sites but, as we’ve all learned, names can be deceptive.

  5. Enrique Betancourt

    Essentially what you have proven with the aid of their own voices is that your arguments are valid not just in your eyes but ultimately in theirs also. What is utterly unpardonable from professional scholars who instruct their students to examine the established literature so as to place themselves within a tradition, is that when they turn to the web they instead dismiss what is in existence or simply fail to do background research on the state of the field. Others instead were awake and alert, and in the mode of very poor scholarship, assumed to use a concept but without either understanding it, or, even worse, with the intention of deforming it into a montrosity. What is in essence an ethic, a philosophy, and an autonomous collaborative node then becomes for some ‘just a name’ and some porcine individuals insist ‘we want this name’. Excuse me, if this name appealed to you so much, then why your mysterious neglect of the website that first had the name and had the name for the longest time???
    Anthropology has been put to the test but this time in public and for all to see. This has been an exceptional failure of what ought to have been scholarly habits of mind, dialogue, asking permission and seeking consent, a general respect for ethics, recognition of established frameworks, reputation of colleagues, and understanding of the politics of public engagement. They have failed enormously on all of these levels, and I must tell you that I had the most shameful experience today reading all of the comments written on their site about this issue, atrocious usurpers who flatter themselves. I saved each page and the personal pages of the persons commenting. I simply do not want to see any of them or any of students they train (to use the word generously) doing research in my country of Colombia. I will write a summary in Spanish of this details of this conflict and distribute it among compatriot colleagues. I will send you a copy first for your approval. You do read Spanish, correct? Please forgive any of my errors in English it is a secondary language for myself.

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  7. ryan


    While this is an issue that can and should be resolved, and while I do not agree with the way that some individuals have framed the issue, I also think that your reaction here is a bit of an overreaction. There really is no need to expand this into an even bigger issue, in my opinion.

    I think that the original choice to name the OAC was asking for this confusion and confrontation. But I also think that the problem is quite easily solvable. I am not quite sure how this translates into your taking down names and websites of people involved and not wanting them to work in your country. That, to me, is a bit of an overreaction to the situation. The OAC was formed, in part, because many involved were apparently influenced and inspired by what Max is doing here, which is obviously reflected in not only the name they chose but also the discussions that lead up to the creation of the site. All in all, I think that there were plenty of good intentions, however mixed they were with bad decisions throughout the process. The split came about because of a number of ideological differences between the two projects, and it makes clear sense to me that the names of the two should reflect those differences. That’s pretty much what all of this is about.

    I understand your reaction on many levels, but I also think that it might be best to settle down for a bit and let the folks at OAC figure out what they are going to do (as Paul Wren has written over at the OAC). The issue has been raised, and now I think is a good time to let some folks work toward a solution.

    1. Frenchguy

      I personnally agree with both of you, Enrique and Ryan. While I am not sure it would be right to prevent some people from doing research in Colombia because of what happened at OAC (but I must confess I know very little about Colombia), I think what Enrique wrote was worth it, if only to recall some people that deeds have consequences, that one cannot ignore basic guidelines, even if they are now effectively working toward a solution.
      I also agree with you Ryan that the issue can easily be solved.

  8. Maximilian Forte

    Sorry for responding late, it will be a bit of a mixed message in trying to address all four comments above.

    Stacie, one colleague who commented on a remark I made in person, about anthropologists being great at playing academic politics within the shelter of the university, but being terrible at public politics, was (and here she was quoting yet another colleague) that by the time they become professors they have been fully trained in neoliberal self-auditing, living in permanent fear of running afoul of any authorities or more senior colleagues who may prove vindictive and block their chances at funding and publication. I would insist: don’t worry so much. There are so many thousands of journals you can publish in, and funding decisions are usually made by committees rather than single persons. If more people have courage, there will be fewer who need to worry.

    In a way Enrique is saying, I think, that this fear ought to cut both ways, it’s not just those on the bottom of the hierarchy, or on the “wrong” side of the mainstream who can suffer. Enrique, I too would like you to wait and see if and how this gets resolved — Ryan, I hope it does, but I have also learned not to let my hopes get raised. Enrique, I am presuming, is also doing what I think is essentially right, and that is to guard against anthropologists who might come to his country with low regard for ethical responsibilities and with the attitude of burglars. Whether his tactics are the right ones, I’m not sure, but I agree it is too soon to start any kind of “campaign.”

    I think that answers all four comments, unless I overlooked something again. Many thanks to all four of you.

  9. Maximilian Forte

    The other thing I need to repeat, and it is not addressed to anyone who posted above, is that those who are not familiar with the details, the history, and have had no personal involvement in the situation, should simply desist from making any pronouncements until they have taken the time to learn and know better. To do otherwise is just plainly ignorant, in the most basic sense of the word.

    This, for me, is what is absolutely troubling about these “anthropologists” writing in public: how lightning fast they are in deciding “what is,” without even knowing the story, and while utterly dismissing everything said by one of they key actors. Even without Enrique, they shame themselves in public as self-proclaimed “ethnographers.” If this is how they go about doing ethnography, I don’t need to read any of their work.

    The other problem is “open.” The last person to complain on this blog, and he was the first too, about my “open” *not* meaning wide-open-tolerance-of-everything, was a colonel in the Pentagon. Flustered by my attitude, he then turned to threats. He did so “openly,” so kudos to him for consistency. The second person to complain was Michael Fischer from Kent, I responded, and nothing more from him.

    Open anthropology was never formulated as a liberal democratic commons, as much as there is a wide body of clashing and contrasting opinions on this blog. The irony is that there is regularly more dispute on this blog, and more visitors too, than there are at the OAC. I know the latter fact because Keith Hart himself recently said they get 300 unique visitors per day, which is about one-third the number I get…and this site is not a networking site, is not meant to be, does not try to be. Again, I say this is irony, because open anthropology was clearly meant as a practice among partners, not as mere conversation for the sake of conversation, with everybody.

    Let me repeat again, the two main sources of inspiration for the project were, one “open” in an anti-disciplinary sense, as in Immanuel Wallerstein’s “Open the Social Sciences!” — which is “open” without regard to any issues of membership. The second was Roi Kwabena, who “opened” anthropology by taking it out in public, and staying there, eventually cultivating a public anthropological practice where friends and comrades of his could call themselves “cultural anthropologists” without necessarily having a degree in the field. Those are two of the most basic senses of “open” that are integral to “open anthropology.”

    Otherwise, what the hell man, if you want a voice, you don’t need a networking site for it: start your own blog. (Then watch how territorial the liberal openists become.)

  10. Giovanni Orlando

    Dear Maximilian (and contributors),

    I’ve been trying to follow the controversy about the name of the OAC and contributed towards its resolution. I wanted to share some thought with you here.

    I had a quick look and your work seems great, I’m in favour of anything that gets us out of the academe and into the real world. I think many people at the OAC feel there are bridges and not ideological divides between the two websites. This, if anything, would be a reason not to classify the whole OAC as a homogeneous entity that speaks with one voice (I keep reading people using a general ‘they’, I believe this is not helpful).

    As far as I understand a lot of mistakes were made at the beginning and this has somehow brought us all here, in a not very pleasant place. The admins will propose something by next week to try and solve the issue. I agree this is not a democratic way of proceeding, in the way that I understand the concept, one based on direct democracy and consensus decision-making. However, consensus is notoriously difficult to implement when large numbers are involved, and we have (nominally) 1500+ members. In the past couple of days I’ve been taking part in the 2009 UK Climate Camp, this year held in London, where people are almost obsessed with direct democracy. But even they will hold a majority vote on which power plant to shut down in October, because of the number of people involved.

    I am willing to give the admins the benefit of doubt and see what proposals they come up with. I personally would welcome your thoughts on how to consult members. I suggested in a comment on OAC that maybe we could write clearly that the network is not trying to affiliate itself with your website, how would you feel about that? Though I would feel slightly sorry about it, because as I can see it there are commonalities that such a statement would spoil. I am also in favour of changing the name. But I was puzzled to read in one of your posts that having a group on ‘what is open anthropology?’ on the OAC was somehow wrong or strange. Why so? Surely we can discuss the idea in other fora. In my opinion the major issue at stake is that there are online platforms run by different individuals and it is these that can get confused, and this is wrong. But in terms of ideas, surely I can discuss open anthropology in another website, or at the pub? What’s your opinion on this?

    I personally don’t think the OAC is controlled by Keith Hart, I don’t speak for him. Isn’t it ironic that just recently someone on OAC had to write he wasn’t controlled by Max Forte? Clearly, clearly something has gone terribly wrong in the way this debate has been brought forward… I have an interest in the theory of nonviolence, and one of the principles of nonviolent communication is to try and avoid words that conflate the action with the actor (or actress), and avoid being confrontational, in the belief that the other party – except in extreme cases – always has a point too. Perhaps we should try not to pass judgement on the inherent qualities of human beings simply on the basis of the a few comments and posts.

    I personally think blogs are awful means to dialogue because they reduces the entire spectrum of human communication, with all its complexities developed through hundreds of thousands of years, to written words, just that, written words. Can we really accuse people of being unethical on such shaky foundations? I hope not. I was sincerely worried reading that someone plans to put together names of people and work to ban them from their country! Surely this is not an ethical action/thought? Fortunately they can’t implement it, but the idea of one day travelling to some place and saying ‘oh yeah, I contribute to the OAC’ and being branded something, anything, is chilling. I put some of my details on the website – nothing that I would not tell anyone I met – but I think it is deeply unjust that my having done so could, potentially, harm me in any way.

    This is what I wrote on the OAC: “Please, please let’s avoid splitting academic hairs, putting up fences and barriers because we have nothing to protect, nor to lose, but our own fragility.”

    I probably missed something, but that’s life. So you’re based in Montreal? I visited last December for the Polanyi conference, it was a bit cold though, minus 28 Celsius…

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Thank you very much Giovanni,

      It’s a pleasure to have comments, questions, ideas such as yours to respond to, and I should say in advance that we will not agree on everything, and in some cases I have to clarify what I said because your criticisms are correct. I have also read your comments on this issue on the OAC and you are not one of those I was reacting against, who I tend to name explicitly (even providing the links to their comments). Thus when I say “they” one should understand what I mean, given my attempt to specify in advance to whom I am referring, and the context where the “they” in question are usually the admins of the OAC.

      I should not have condemned anyone for discussing “open anthropology” elsewhere. My question was, if there is such an interest, then why would someone seemingly go out of their way to not discuss it with the person who — according to the very admins of the OAC themselves — originated the thing? (At a very minimum, ignoring a key actor is not good anthropology.) It probably was not a question worth posing, and not in the way I did, but it was indicative of a larger sentiment that the apparent unwritten license governing this site — and this site alone — was rather than “by attribution…no derivatives,” the opposite: “without attribution, derivatives only.” Not one single person on any side of this debate would like to work on something only to see it siphoned off and rewritten as if they never existed. At the very least, the problem is one of pretending to create a new field, on the OAC, as if there was a tabula rasa. They would not dare to do that in a research proposal, they would not cut such massive corners when writing a literature review, so what makes them think that being on the Internet should permit them to ignore prior realities?

      With reference to Keith Hart, none of what I just wrote applies (the above answers your question about discussing the idea on other sites). He certainly does attribute, and has done so repeatedly. This tells me that even within his network, members who interact with him do not read closely. What Hart does is not a form of plagiarism, but something perhaps much more damaging. He claims to follow an idea, with attribution, which is then rewritten in ways totally inconsistent with the original idea…yet still claiming that is what the idea was all about. So in this regard, you are wrong on one key point: there is a very serious ideological divide. I have written about this in private with some OAC members who wrote to me by e-mail, showing me exactly where they thought that Hart had misrepresented open anthropology, on a political level. I will write about that soon, time permitting.

      I did not follow your point about not judging the ethical bases of an approach just because it is in writing. You say writing is a shaky foundation, then I have to ask: what would be a firmer foundation for a discipline whose primary mode of communication is text? Otherwise, I have experienced just as much, if not more, misunderstanding and poor communication live and in person. All blogs do that is different is to allow some interlocutors to be anonymous, which in some cases becomes a shield for extreme sorts of statements.

      My main point of difference with Enrique is that he should stay his hand, and wait to see if there is any resolution. Otherwise, I cannot see how it is unethical to alert colleagues and others to foreign anthropologists who may enter their country, having established a poor ethical track record and disrespect for the rights of others. I would think that should be his duty. Your argument seems to be that being alert to unethical practices, and preparing to resist, is itself unethical. I disagree. But then, I am the person who, partly in collaboration, wrote this, also appearing in Spanish. (I have since learned it has been used in university courses in the U.S. and one indigenous organization in Oaxaca has copied parts of it on their site, if I recall.) I think you misunderstood Enrique: he did not say he would seek a Colombia-wide ban on everyone participating in the OAC, so let’s be fair, if we want to be fair.

      I understand that you have a personal commitment to theories of nonviolence, and forms of nonviolent communication and this is probably why you wrote that now that the debate has been renewed we are in “a not very pleasant place.” I am not sure that I agree, not only because I am not generally a believer in non-violence as an absolute, but also because I cannot understand how the airing of differences, making injustices known, and spreading knowledge of the facts of a dispute should be anything other than positive (and thus, in my mind, pleasant)…or why it should even give rise to a commentary on violence, for that matter.

      Do you think that people erect barriers only to protect their own fragility? I try not to disarm others, by saying “you have nothing to protect.” It’s not actually for me to say what they have to protect, and I cannot pass judgment on them for wanting to protect something. As I said in my comments, somewhere above, or to the last post, I am not interested in being part of a liberal democratic commons. I like to choose my company, especially my companions and comrades, and not have them forced on me. I want people to respect my distance and my autonomy. The very well being of my project, and who I work with, both here and behind the scenes, depends on it.

      Ironically, for your position, it is when you try to assimilate everyone into one political unit that you provoke violence from those who seek to escape or to be separate. I wish you had written before Enrique, because coming after, in response, strikes me as trying to disarm someone who is not the aggressor.

      I fully agree with you when you write: “we should try not to pass judgement on the inherent qualities of human beings simply on the basis of the a few comments and posts.” But then look at the first person to agree with you, John McCreery, one who called me a “prick.” Apparently your statement is not so clear otherwise the wrong persons would not derive any sense of vindication from it.

      Finally, regarding your idea — I do not know if it is Hart’s, so it may be irrelevant in the end — about a formal statement indicating that the OAP and OAC are two separate and distinct projects. You asked me what I thought. I think it merely acknowledges a fact. But then the question is: if you acknowledge that they are separate and distinct, and I maintain opposed as well, then why does the second site have to mimic the name of the first one? Would you be willing to answer that?

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  12. Stacie

    I see they posted another forum discussion because the first wasn’t to their liking. What a pain. It’s a shame that a person can’t leave the network without it automatically deleting his/her comments. Anyway, I tried to be optimistic. I don’t much care one way or the other at this point because I doubt I’ll be sticking around.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Yes, in fact I responded to it with another post. Paul Wren suggested “something” would be done this weekend, and it seems their post from Abimbola is what that “something” is. I would say it’s not much.

      Almost forgot: if you are suggesting they call themselves “Open Access Anthropology,” keep in mind that is the name of a blog that has existed for a good while.

      When one has two sites with identical, or even nearly identical names, the search results for both are messed up, some items pushed down, and some older search engines “punished” sites that appeared to be mirrors, by submerging the visibility of both the perceived original and the perceived copy (to what extent, I am not sure, or if this still holds).

      1. Stacie

        Oh no, I was merely emphasizing the middle word to suggest that if they were hell-bent on using “open anthropology” they should at least clarify with a middle name. Of course, I couldn’t say that phrasing because they insisted on a polite tone to the conversation. I assumed they would understand that they shouldn’t use “open access” from Michael’s point that the site wasn’t about open access.

        I liked Salzman’s comment on a “broad church” though. If it’s not going to be any different than a broadly-focused academic anthropology on the web, that clarifies a lot.

        For some reason I don’t get emailed your blog updates until almost a day after their posted.

  13. Maximilian Forte

    I also see the email works slowly, as you say, usually a day after. I think that’s how feedblitz works.

    I meant to reply to Enrique:
    I do read Spanish, but I avoid writing it in the comments section since I don’t have easy access to accented letters. I wrote several exchanges in Italian with one visitor and the shortest sentences took many minutes to prepare (Italian having even more accented letters). The last time I wrote something in Spanish, a name, without an accent, someone posted a long comment explaining how that was “racist.” My writing ability in French is very limited — had I ever written in French, without accented letters, I would get some real hell from people here in Quebec (that first “e” is accented, for example).


    The final response to the non-resolution of this issue by the OAC can be found here:


    Those who wish to understand better, can also see Jeremy Trombley’s post, “Why I Left the OAC,” and my responses:


  14. Pingback: Misrepresentation: Prostituting “Open Anthropology” to the Military « OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY

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