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