Museum Anthropology Review: A New Era & A New Double Issue

The Scholarly Communication Department is pleased to announce a new double issue of Museum Anthropology Review (MAR) published for the first time by Indiana University Press.  MAR is an open access, research and professional practice journal promoting international and interdisciplinary communication within the fields of museum anthropology, museum-based folklore studies, and material culture studies. 

MAR homepage logo

The opening editorial details MAR’s office transition from the newly incorporated Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA, previously Mathers Museum of World Cultures) to IU’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.  There, it will be a part of the Material Culture and Heritage Studies Laboratory.  These editorial and publication transitions present exciting opportunities for the journal, including a new professional design, assured continuity, and the ability to recruit editors worldwide.  The editorial also reminds readers that MAR is actively seeking submissions for future volumes, with an emphasis on project reports and full articles. Information on preparing submissions is available on the MAR website.

In The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum: The Life and Afterlife of a Public Folklore Organization, Timothy Lloyd describes the unique history and preserved archives of an organization that has been gone for almost 40 years, the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum (GCEM).  The museum was brought about by the recognized importance of documenting the cultural heritage of Cleveland’s numerous nationality communities as well as local and national funding.  During its five-year existence, the museum was able to develop several documentary projects describing the immigrant experience as well as traditional music and dance.  Crucially, GCEM was able to foster a relationship early on with the Western Reserve Historical Society, a local, larger cultural institution that maintains the majority of GCEM’s documentary and administrative data today, though the museum closed in 1981.  Lloyd extends a healthy reminder that “Waiting until the eleventh hour to plan and act for sustainability, though it certainly is a standard strategy, is most often not enough” (p. 16).

Jessica Evans Jain documents her fieldwork with market henna artists across North India in her monograph-length study Mehandi in the Marketplace: Tradition, Training, and Innovation in the Henna Artistry of Contemporary Jaipur, India.  Though the application of henna has long been a culturally significant tradition for women in this region, the convenience of henna stands in marketplaces is a relatively new phenomenon.

Two male artists apply henna to a young girl in a marketplace.

Jain completes in-depth interviews with these stand workers, experiences their perspective first-hand during her apprenticeships, and analyzes their work through the lens of Albert Lord’s theory of spontaneous creation.  While the market artists often downplay their work or do not consider themselves to be artists, the author couldn’t help but notice the creativity and innovation involved as she became more familiar with the henna application process.  Though this henna application has innovated in recent years,  it is still an important cultural act and promotes a happier and more positive atmosphere in North Indian communities.

In Repair Work Ethnographies: Revisiting Breakdown, Relocating Materiality (Strebel, Bovet, and Sormani, eds), Kristin Otto reviews the book by the same title, edited by Ignaz Strebel, Alain Bovet and Philippe Sormani.  The book centralizes studies of repair as an important link between people, things, and their environment through discussing its place in conversations about networks, assemblages, and politics.  Otto regards the work relevant and applicable to a large number of fields including scholars of science and technology studies, anthropology, material culture studies, and sociology.  

In 2008, the Museum Anthropology Review became the first faculty-generated, open-access electronic journal to be supported by IU Libraries.  With MAR as part of a pilot test, the Scholarly Communication Department has since been able to offer a journal publishing platform for IU affiliates as a part of IUScholarWorks services.  The Scholarly Communication Department is excited to to continue with MAR in its expanded partnership with IU Press.  

For more information on open access journals or another IUScholarWorks service please visit the website or contact us at IUSW@indiana.edu

Applications for Course Material Fellows Accepted until December 1

According to the most recent survey data from the College Board, the average full-time, on-campus undergraduate student at a four-year school is estimated to have spent $1,240 on books and supplies during the 2019-2020 academic year. To address the rising cost of textbooks for IU students, IUPUI and IUB Libraries have created a Course Material Fellowship Program with support from the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC). The program helps to address the issue of rising textbook costs for students at IUPUI, IUB, and IUPUC, in part by educating instructors about the benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are learning materials (tutorials, syllabi, worksheets, interactive experiences, lesson plans, and blogs) shared under an intellectual property license that enables others to reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute them. In addition to OER, fellows will have the option of creating/ editing  Pressbooks with their own material and/ or using library eBooks and databases. The Program recognizes that a mix of these solutions is often required in order to move to zero cost course materials. 

One of the goals of the program is to centralize support for instructors working with the variety of affordable course material solutions available. In addition to librarians specializing in an instructor’s content area and OER, fellows will have access to experts from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) and the UITS Digital Education Programs and Initiatives Team. 

The Fellowship Program is a result of years of work building awareness about course material affordability solutions, including a symposium to discuss the issue in 2018, CITL and library partnerships to raise awareness about OER within STEM, University Information Technology Services (UITS) providing access to the Pressbooks platform to easily organize and publish books, and, most recently, the IU system joining the Open Education Network.  

Instructors at IUB, IUPUI, and IUPUC can learn  more about eligibility, application details, and expectations of the Program by visiting the Course Material Fellowship Program website. Applicants are required to fill out a short qualtrics survey with details about their course on the Fellowship Program website in order to be considered. Applicants must be an instructor of record at IUB, IUPUI, or IUPUC.  

Selection will be based on a variety of factors such as potential student savings, enrollment rate, interest in the Fellowship Program and its benefits, and sustainability of resources. The Fellowship Program seeks a diverse group of applicants who have a passion for making educational resources more accessible. 

Please e-mail Sarah Hare (scrissin@iu.edu) with questions. 

IUSW Chalk Talks Explain Information Creation in Academia

IUScholarWorks houses course materials for numerous lectures and seminars across campus. While this content is typically created for a specific class discussion, many of these materials are continually applicable to students outside of the course they were originally created for. One collection of course materials that is particularly useful for research and information literacy instruction in all disciplines is the EDUC-L700 Course Materials collection. This collection consists of seven chalk talks related to information creation in academia, designed by Dr. Beth Samuelson and librarians Julie Marie Frye and Sarah Hare. The conversations highlighted in these videos relate directly to the work we do in the Scholarly Communication Department and provide a great introduction to the development of open access initiatives in higher education. Specifically, the fifth, sixth, and seventh chalk talks investigate the role of journals in academia and how the journal publishing environment has impacted information access over time. 

Video 5 Journals in Higher Education discusses the history of journal publishing and how higher education’s reliance on high-impact journal publishing has affected the evolution of this ecosystem. High-impact journals play a crucial role in faculty and institutional evaluation. An academic’s reputation and case for tenure improves when they publish in a top tier journal. Their university also benefits through improved institutional rankings, which leads to a stronger reputation and higher enrollments. Unfortunately, some publishers have now exploited this need in higher education.

Video 6 Inequities in the Ecosystem explains that while publishers enhance journal articles through editing, typesetting, and indexing and warrant compensation for this work, they have built a business model on scholarly works that have been submitted, reviewed, and edited at no cost to them. They have been able to then sell these works back to institutions for extremely high prices through library subscriptions. Moreover, they often restrict how authors can use their work, usually through publishing agreement terms and paywalls. This expensive content is only accessible by select institutions, creating disparities in information access even  in higher education. Additionally, this content is often impossible to obtain by community members not associated with an institution due to its price. This has created a space in which information inequity and privilege exist. 

Video 7 Transforming the Information Ecosystem highlights how, in the past two decades, institutions have reconstructed this narrative and used their power to promote inclusive access to information. Many government officials, administrators, faculty, librarians, and students are now working together to create models and incentives that both transform scholarly publishing and change the disparity dynamic to create a more equitable information ecosystem. Specifically, many institutions are embracing open scholarship practices to challenge this information inequity. At IU, we have implemented numerous open access policies and initiatives to create barrier-free information access, including:

Most recently, IUB Libraries and IUPUI Libraries, with support from the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC), have created a Course Material Transformation Fellowship Program for instructors interested in adopting or creating affordable course materials. In addition to getting involved with any number of IU’s open access initiatives, faculty are encouraged to publish their works open access, use OA publications in their courses, and empower students to use open access materials in their assignments and research. Each of these actions will shift the unbalanced journal publishing environment mentioned in Video 5 and combat the inequalities in information access discussed in Video 6. You can find these chalk talks, along with others in the collection in IUScholarWorks. For more information about the open scholarship services available to IU affiliates, visit our website or contact us at IUSW@indiana.edu