About the OAC



Anyone can become a member. Registration is easy. In the interest of openness, we like you to use your full name as ID; but if you prefer a shorter version (not an unrelated nickname), please put your full name in your profile, along with any further information about yourself that you wish to share with us all.




The OAC was launched on 28 May 2009 by a group of friends who met on Twitter before joining Ning.

The most important word in our title is the first. By this we mean open access, open membership, open to sharing new ideas, open to whatever the organization might do or become; open to everyone, as in ‘open source’. The word ‘open’ is highly contested, including within anthropology. In identifying this network with ‘open anthropology’ we do not imply any specific association with the Open Anthropology Project, Open Anthropology Journal, Open Access Anthropology, or Shared and Open Anthropology.

Anthropology has a distinguished past, but it has an even greater future. We hope that professionals and students who are already committed to the discipline will find here like-minded anthropologists, as well as new tools, resources and opportunities for collaboration. But we also welcome anyone for whom our conversations are interesting. An engaged anthropology for the 21st century should be open to interdisciplinary collaboration. This depends on making full use of the emerging social and technical synthesis entailed in the digital revolution.

We do not have anything specific in mind by calling our network a ‘cooperative’; but we hope that some members will eventually find fruitful ways of working together, as well as enjoying the site as a rich source for individual consumption. We have already started many discussion groups, blogs, a forum and places to share a variety of ideas and materials, including a wiki for more permanent deposits. This is just the beginning: we expect to hold virtual conferences and seminars, to add podcasts, publish longer pieces online and incorporate a variety of social networking devices into our exchanges. We encourage initiatives using languages other than English.

The OAC is for all of us to explore and elaborate. Let the people take over! There is a Forum where you can participate in shaping the Cooperative’s development. A small team of administrators takes responsibility for collective tasks and is available to help you make the most of what is here.


Members are why the OAC exists, and without member-generated content, the OAC would have no value. Civil, respectful discussions between members are one of the most exciting aspects of the site, and they are strongly encouraged. We also want members to share their own thoughts about subjects that interest them, and encourage them to do so on their own blogs. The OAC is also a great place for members to link up with others who have similar interests: Members may join existing groups or start their own, where discussions relevant to the specific topic can thrive.

In order to keep the site humming along for existing members and to capture the interest of potential new ones, the administrative team has created the following guidelines for how to add content to the OAC.

Site-Wide Content

  1. Forum – The OAC main forum is for creating site-wide discussions. Members should post questions intended to spark an open discussion on a subject that will be of interest to a broad cross-section of the OAC membership.

    New forum discussions may be created by clicking the “Start Discussion” link at the bottom of the Forum box on the OAC main page, or by selecting “Forum” from the “Discuss” menu.
  2. Events – The OAC also has dedicated section for announcing future lectures, conferences, symposia, and calls for papers.

    New Events may be posted by clicking “Add an Event” at the bottom of the “Events” box on the left side of the OAC main page, or by selecting “Events” from the main menu.
  3. Offers – The OAC has a separate forum reserved for the exchange of services between members, such as translation and interpreting, or advertising grants, courses and fellowships.

    Offers may be posted by selecting “Offers” in the main menu and clicking the link to “Add a Discussion.”

Focused Content

  1. Group Discussions – members should begin discussions that address more specific topics within an appropriate group (e.g., a comparative discussion of Anasazi masonry styles would belong in the Southwest Archaeology group).

    Search for relevant groups using the OAC Group Index. A group discussion may be started by clicking the “Start Discussion” in the “Discussion Forum” box of any Group’s main page.
  2. Blog posts – Members can make valuable contributions to the OAC by posting their opinions, summaries of their current work, or references to interesting content elsewhere on the internet by blogging.

    Blogs posts may be created by clicking the “Add a Blog Post” link at the bottom of the “Featured Blog Posts” box on the OAC main page, or by selecting “My Page” from the main menu and then selecting “Add a Blog Post” in the “My Blog” box.

Admin Team Oversight

If admins discover that a member has posted material in one of these areas that is more appropriately placed in another, they will:

  1. Capture a copy of the content
  2. Delete the content
  3. Contact the member via a private message containing:
    1. A notice that the content has been removed,
    2. where the content should be posted,
    3. a link to these guidelines, and
    4. an invitation to please re-post the material (which will be included).




No flaming, mobbing or insults

Discussion of fundamental issues is likely to get heated at times. But personal attacks, insults, malicious behavior, bullying or taunting are incompatible with our shared life as a community. Sending an abusive private message will not avoid public sanction, if reported.


No spamming

Spamming links, images and malicious content or repeatedly posting nonsense will discourage others from participating in our public discussions. Content of this sort will be removed and in blatant cases the perpetrator banned without warning. We would also ask you to refrain from excessive promotion of your other sites, company or personal brand.


No pornography

There is some room for debate over what constitutes an “explicit” image, but we will not allow pornographic material to be posted on the site. We also ban the use of the OAC for “adult dating services”.


No solicitation

Use of the network to beg for any purpose will lead to a summary banning.


No pseudonyms

We make it clear above that members should post their real names as a User ID or on their profile. We encourage transparency here and hope that members will post personal information on their profile, so that others may have a better chance to evaluate who they are dealing with. Protracted violation of this rule after a warning may lead to a member being banned.


Ning terms of service

Registering as a member of Ning requires your acceptance of the Ning Terms of Service. Violation of the Terms of Service is a personal matter, but the admins will enforce them where applicable to protect the integrity of OAC site content.



In any case where there is room for doubt over infringement of these rules, the Admins Team will approach the member concerned. If we are not satisfied, a warning will be issued. Penalties for continued infringement could include deletion of material and banning from the network.


The admins team will not tolerate blatantly disruptive behaviour, especially when combined with ignoring any of the above rules.




Our current volunteer admins are:

Francine Barone
Keith Hart
Justin Shaffner
Paul Wren

Click through to our profile pages to learn more about us, and feel free to contact us from there.

We represent several different time zones, with the idea that at least two people should be available at any time in case something crops up. Our self-imposed remit is that, when we could do something or nothing, we choose the latter. In the former case, we will take action cautiously, and expect that we should be accountable to the members.




What the OAC Ning network is for:


There are several places where discussion can take place on the network. Please refer to the tabs at the top of the page in relation to the information below.

Forum: All OAC members can create a new topic or "thread" in the public forum on the OAC network. Forum posts will appear in the content box on the OAC main page and are visible and available for comment by all members.

Groups: Groups allow the discussion of a specific subject or theme. Anything posted to a group can be read by all members of the OAC, but you must first join a group to leave comments or forum posts on the group page. In addition to joining any number of the specialist groups which already exist on the OAC, members can also create new groups. All groups must have their privacy permissions set to public (so that any member can join your group without an invitation and display the group icon on their profile). Read more on how to create a new group here.

Blogs: Members are automatically provided with a facility to blog about personal interests, ongoing research, etc. You can add a new blog post from the Blog tab at the top of the page. The latest posts from the network will appear on the OAC homepage. Blogs are also open to comments.

Profile comments: You can leave comments for other users by visiting their profiles (click on their name or icon anywhere on the site).

Events: If there is an event - such as a conference, seminar, symposium or gathering - that you will be attending or organizing, you can list this publicly on the OAC homepage with details such as when and where it will take place.



Photos and Video: In addition to discussion and blog posts, you can also upload photos and videos to the OAC.

Member profiles: Each user on the OAC has a personal profile where you can add details about yourself and your research, interests, or hobbies; upload or change your photo; customize the appearance of your page; and/or create your own content by adding widgets and feeds. It is strongly encouraged that users provide some basic information about themselves on their member profiles, including their full names, location and anthropological background.


Making friends

It is hoped that the OAC will enable anthropologists to get to know each other in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The social networking style of the Ning interface allows members to add each other as friends. You can also contact another member privately by clicking on "send a message" on their member profile.



The functions of the site mentioned above are designed to enable easy and productive communication between members. Ning is the platform for the OAC, but collaboration can take place within and beyond the confines of the site. Some initiatives that have already developed from the OAC include an e-seminar series and specialist wikis. On a personal level, meeting other people (both inside and outside academic anthropology) potentially provides new channels of conversation from which we can all benefit in this open setting.

Anywhere you see the symbol on this site, you can syndicate the relevant content to another place on the web or in an RSS feed reader. This enables you to share and link the OAC content found here with other sites and services.



Site visitor and traffic overview [pdf]:






OAC Press



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