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There were more than a few moments while preparing this issue when the two of us wondered how and why we thought it was a good idea for us to take on the editorship of Open Anthropology—and to tackle the rather daunting theme of “climate change” for our first issue.
It always came back to this: If an aim of Open Anthropology is to bring anthropology into public conversation on critical social issues and policy debates, then an important way that many anthropologists already do this is through teaching. Climate change is both one of the most urgent topics of the day and one that anthropologists are well positioned to teach to a range of publics.
Our aim is to continue developing Open Anthropology as a useful and relevant tool for the teaching of anthropology—not only in our courses for undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities, but also in those anthropological teaching moments we might have with colleagues in other disciplines, reporters and writers, policy makers, and friends and followers on social media. Teaching about climate change will be an especially important matter for anthropologists in 2015 with events such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Paris later this year, bringing particular focus on the human impact on the environment.
Given the timeliness of climate change as a theme, this issue of Open Anthropology features a number of articles published within the last decade, which are being made openly accessible for the next six months. The book reviews, those articles listed in anthropology journals that are currently open access, and articles in American Anthropologist published more than 35 years ago remain open access in perpetuity. If you are developing courses on anthropology and climate change for next semester or looking for materials to include in classes you teach already, see also the AAA’s Teaching Materials Exchange where anthropologists have uploaded useful teaching materials. Whatever your audience, we recommend linking to the December 2014 report of the AAA’s Global Climate Change Task Force and the AAA Statement on Humanity and Climate Change.
As we continue to develop Open Anthropology, we plan to include links to other resources on the web and incorporate other features like video abstracts. We invite your participation in “opening” anthropology, including your suggestions on what you might like to see here.
So, peruse and use this issue. Share it with others. Teach it!