Four Stone Hearth – a themed anthropology blog carnival

Four Stone Hearth is a long running blog carnival that focuses upon anthropology in the American sense: that is, archaeology, bio/social/cultural anthropology and linguistics. I am hosting it here on the 30th March.

In this edition of 4SH I am considering asking for contributions around a theme of broader interest and importance to anthropology. However, rather than being too prescriptive, I am thinking of this as something like a special edition of a journal – in blog form – that is loosely focussed around the theme. I certainly don’t want to discourage people from contributing the kinds of posts that they would normally submit to 4SH so┬áif you would rather use 4SH just as you have always done, I will happily include contributions that are wildly off-topic!

Part of the challenge will be to identify themes or issues that are of wide relevance and interest. I have some preliminary ideas, however as we have a little time to spare I thought I would see what other people think. Here are my thoughts:

1) The future of the Hearth. There have been some concerns raised about the carnival declining a little in popularity. Is it, and if so, what do you consider to be the key problems and opportunities associated with 4SH? Where did it originate, how it be improved and what contribution has it made? I’d like – in part – to pick up on some of the issues raised in Krystal D’Costa’s recent post as well for people to reflect on the history and the future of 4SH.

2) Digital innovations. How have you incorporated digital technologies into how you do what you do in terms of collecting, managing, analysing and interpreting your ‘data’ (whatever that may be!). The Paperless Archaeology approach is one that many archaeologists have become interested in, so what new or perhaps not so well known digital approaches have you taken on board in your work? Tell us!

3) Marginal issues in anthropology: One of the values of blogging is the relative freedom writers have in terms of what they write. I suspect all of us deal with problems that receive little in the way of attention in traditional academic literature or in public debate. They might relate to a management problem at an important site or place; funding constraints around particular topics; a pertinent local, regional or global research question or problem; methodological difficulties; issues with academic publishing models, and so on. What are the marginal issues or stories in anthropology that you think deserve more attention?

I would prefer to focus on one specific question, so if you have any thoughts on these suggestions or other ideas entirely, please forward them on. I would like to try and pin something down by Wednesday the 23rd if possible so that I can drum up some interest for 4SH next week (and would appreciate some help in that regard as well)! Failing that, I can always revert to the old 4SH format.

There has been quite a lot of discussion about blogging and archaeology recently and so I think that this may be a topic best left alone for now.