“We in the Biological Anthropology Section have nearly constant discussions about increasing our numbers and integrating our impact within AAA. We act as ambassadors for AAA and the American Anthropologist at our specialist conferences, and we are building an impressive social media presence preaching the AAA gospel. So it should have been heartening to read AA’s Editor-in-Chief Michael Chibnik’s recent assertion that he is committed to publishing work by biological anthropologists. Indeed, the September 2013 issue is notable in publishing an entire forum by biological anthropologists, including Alan Goodman’s presidential address from 2007, which itself hearkens at least thematically to Jim Calcagno’s article- “Keeping Biological Anthropology in Anthropology, and Anthropology in Biology”—that appeared in the same journal a decade ago. However, Chibnik strikes a troublingly marginalizing tone in what was framed as an inclusive call for papers. To be a good fit for AA, Chibnik suggests a piece should be “understandable to nonspecialists and [lack] the extensive use of terms unfamiliar to most of our readers. This poses particular problems [emphasis added] for biological anthropologists, whose work often entails specialized techniques about which most sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists know little. Biological anthropologists therefore need to be particularly careful to write in a way that is comprehensible to the generalized readership of the journal” (Chibnik, 2013.American Anthropologist 115: 357).
I think it’s fair to assume that the techniques used by many sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists are very specialized. And I would further argue that the terminology and writing used by sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists are often very obscure and sometimes even incomprehensible to specialists in other subdisciplines. To put the onus only on one subfield to be intelligible may be part of the reason some of our colleagues don’t feel particularly welcome within AAA or excited about publishing their most thoughtful work inAA. (Note: I myself have been published two times in AA under the former editor, and in neither case was I charged with the special task of being “particularly careful” to be understood)” (read more).
(Source: Anthropology News)