Announcing the Notre Dame Hub: Taking Students’ Academic Lives Online

The Hub @ Notre Dame is now live! The Hub takes students’ academic lives online, providing a platform for exploring ideas, presenting their work, and social networking within an academic community.

I initiated this project in the spring of 2009 at Notre Dame, so it is wonderful to see it come to fruition. Here is the opening to my original Hub Proposal:

Students today can share their personal lives on online sites like Facebook and MySpace. They do not have a comparable site for their academic lives. Through the creation of the Notre Dame Hub, students will be able to share their research and artistic creations, reflect on what they are learning, and discuss new ideas and opportunities.

The Hub will offer that through a centralized online architecture, a core group of students in charge of managing the site and handling editorial responsibility, a faculty advisory group, and content created by students from across the Notre Dame campus.

To get a full description of the Hub Project, including downloading the Hub proposal and examples of the Hub in action, head over to the full PLoS description of the Notre Dame Hub.

Daniel Lende: Looking for Graduate Students

Since I am now at the University of South Florida, I can finally mentor some graduate students! I encourage people to apply to the graduate program in anthropology here. USF accepts students at both the masters and the Ph.D. level. If you’re going to start at the Ph.D. level, your masters does not have to be in anthropology.

My research interests fall into three broad areas: neuroanthropology, medical anthropology, and applied social science. Most of my long-term research has focused on substance use and abuse, including the neuroanthropology of addiction, risk and preventive factors for drug use, and the cultural moderation of substance use.

In recent years I’ve broadened that focus to include research on alcohol use, video games, stress, and PTSD. I might also develop a project on frontotemporal dementia. I have also done work on breast cancer and embodiment, new media & technology, and public anthropology. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods, and advocate combining theory-driven work with community-based research.

You can read more about my projects on the Neuroanthropology PLoS site. And here is my departmental website, where you can access my CV. If you want to contact me, please send me an email at dlende at usf dot edu.

The USF anthropology department emphasizes both theory and applied work within anthropology, and uses an interdisciplinary approach in training and mentoring students. Here is a condensed excerpt from the Department’s Mission:

Anthropology is the comparative and global study of humanity which addresses all aspects of human experience. We are committed to understanding global diversity through community-based applied research that is holistic and interdisciplinary.

Here is one of the main things to emphasize about our graduate program:

The Graduate Program at USF aims to develop creative scholars and scientists who will apply their knowledge and skills to contemporary human problems.

The graduate program has both biological and cultural tracks, and includes a concentration in biocultural medical anthropology. You can see my syllabus for my course on Biocultural Medical Anthropology here. You can also get a dual degree, with an MA in anthropology and an MPH in public health.

Click here for information on how to apply to the USF anthropology program. And here is information on financial assistance and scholarships. Applications are due December 15th, 2010.

I advocate that graduate students find both good mentors and a department that broadly fits their interests. The USF anthropology faculty has a range of expertise and interests that are a great complement to what I do.

Faculty specializations include medical anthropology, human biology, urban policy and community development, educational anthropology, media studies, ethnic policies and heritage, economic development, immigration, archaeology, cultural resource management, gender, environment, applied linguistics, and archaeological science. Geographic specializations emphasize the Caribbean, Latin America, United States, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

You can find out more about the major research themes of the department here, including biocultural dimensions of health and illness, material culture, community identity and heritage, communications and education, sustainability and development, and the social and cultural construction of race, ethnicity and gender.

USF includes a range of departments and affiliations that also complement what the anthro faculty and I do. USF Health includes programs in medicine, nursing, and public health. There is a strong department of psychology, a concentration in neuroscience research, and a broad array of other excellent programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Locally USF has affiliations with the Florida Mental Health Institute, the Moffitt Cancer Center, and the Veterans’ Hospital.

Please email me at dlende at usf dot edu if you have questions!

Find More over at PLoS!

Lots of great stuff happening at our new home: Neuroanthropology PLoS

For those of you who haven’t updated the rss feed yet, here is our new PLoS feed. Or the actual html: http://feeds.plos.org/plos/blogs/neuroanthropology Please update! We miss you!!

Recent Popular Posts

Daniel Hruschka and the Book of Friendship

Cordelia Fine and the Delusions of Gender

Fetal Origins: In the News, In the Womb

National Research Council Rankings: Anthropology

Terry Deacon, Relaxed Selection, and the Evolution of Language

Other Posts

Latest Wednesday Round-Up

Ellen Langer and the Psychology of Possibility

Anthropologist Shannon Lee Dawdy – 2010 MacArthur Fellow!

Linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird – 2010 MacArthur Fellow!

Context and Variation: Kathryn Clancy

The Machine That Teaches Itself… Kinda

Peter Kalivas on Learning, Memory and Addiction

Daniel Lende on Twitter

I’ve joined Twitter. You can find me @daniel_lende. Or just click on daniel_lende to see all my latest tweets.

Besides tweeting about the latest posts on Neuroanthropology/PLoS, I do the typical re-tweets, life commentary, exciting links, and the like. So I hope to see you over there!

And if you haven’t updated your feed yet for Neuroanthropology on PLoS, here’s the link to do that right now! Thanks.

The Latest on PLoS Neuroanthropology

We moved over to the Public Library of Science on September 1st, and so far it has gone well. However, I was just looking at Google Reader, and saw that not everyone had updated their subscription! So we are now at: http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/

Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:

Addiction & Learning: More Than Glutamate and Dopamine – Building a better understanding of how learning and memory play a role in addiction

From Good Study Habits to Better Teaching – Taking what we have learned about how students learn more effectively and applying it to my teaching in the classroom

The Narcotic Farm & Nancy Campbell – The United States’ most infamous drug prison/research laboratory, complete with a video interview with the author who helped unearth the archives and photos that tell the story of this foundational institution for drug research and policy

2 legs good, 4 legs better: Uner Tan Syndrome, part 2 – Get your crazy videos of bipedal dogs and goats, as well as Greg’s continued in-depth examination of human bipedality and the fascinating case of “the family that walks on all fours”

You can also find these posts (and more besides!):

Daniel Lende: Projects on PLoS Neuroanthropology – what I am up to over there

Wednesday Round Up #120 – the latest one

Schizophrenia and Cross-Cultural Mental Illness and Treatment – online video and posts from the Foundation for Psychocultural Research

Gonorrhea and the Clap: The Slap Down Treatment – “This might not sound like a good treatment since it involved smashing the penis.”

Aboriginal affairs & pre-human morphing: quick links – See Greg as a Homo heidelbergensis

Over at PLoS: Humans as Quadrupeds!

Greg has a great post over at our new home, PLoS Neuroanthropology:

Human, quadruped: Uner Tan Syndrome, part 1

The photos that accompanied news releases about quadrupedal people living in Turkey, members of a family that allegedly could not walk except on hands and feet, looked staged when I first saw them. Three women and one man scrambling across rocky ground, the women in brightly coloured clothing, the sky radiant blue behind them, their eyes forward and backsides high in the air – like children engaged in some sort of awkward race at a field day or sporting carnival.

For an anthropologist interested in human motor variation and adaptation, the family looked too good to be true…


UPDATE (Greg added):

I’m grateful to Daniel for posting the link, but the first post was just the straight set-up for the much more Neuroanthropology-esque second part, in which we open the discussion to include Faith the walking dog, Slijper’s Goat, Johnny Eck the ‘Half Boy,’ capoeira practitioners who crawl around, and other intriguing examples of exotic locomotion including human quadrupedalism, animal bipedalism, and human handwalking. If you want to, skip the first part, and go straight to: 2 legs good, 4 legs better: Uner Tan Syndrome, part 2.

Neuroanthropology Is Moving to PLoS Blogs

Neuroanthropology is moving! We’re joining a new Public Library of Science project: PLoS Blogs. We’ll be part of a new cluster of eleven science blogs at PLoS.

You can now find us at PLoS Neuroanthropology. Please update your subscriptions, come over and comment (or complain), and let us know what you think.

We are tremendously excited about this opportunity for many more reasons than we have space to articulate. Here we’ll touch on some of the main ones.

The Network

We are thrilled to be part of an initiative that combines serious scholars and serious writers together. That first. As a group, we share interests in science and medicine, in the public uses and misuses of knowledge, and in promoting awareness of ideas and research in a broad fashion.

This amazing new network of people includes writers we’ve followed, others we’ve admired from afar, and some new names with impressive track records. A Pulitzer Prize winner, the former editor-in-chief of Scientific American, professors at Duke and North Carolina Central University, a range of award-wining science journalists, and some top-quality science bloggers with rigorous science backgrounds – that is a great group of people. We are particularly excited to learn from the writers how to better practice this craft, and to engage with people with such an array of interests.

Anthropology within the Public Library of Science

One of the things that has us most excited, that really clinched our decision to make the move to PLoS, is that we hope we might act as a voice for anthropology in a scholarly and public forum built around science and medicine. Anthropology offers powerful insights from cross-cultural research and sophisticated integrative theory that deserve a much wider audience, one we hope to help grow here at PLoS Blogs.

As research becomes increasingly international and interdisciplinary, researchers in all fields need to confront the complexities of worldwide variation and of cultural biases, including our own. Anthropology has done this work for over a century now, and is in a wonderful position to offer the fruits of these intellectual efforts, including hard won wisdom from our own field’s mistakes, to the work of science and medicine represented at PLoS.

PLoS and Blogs

As a non-profit, ad-free adventure, PLoS Blogs also suits what we’ve done long-term at Neuroanthropology. We’ve debated that topic several times, whether to go for ad revenue, whether to join a network that might pay us. We’ve always decided no. We didn’t start doing this for money, we haven’t kept at it for money. We do it because we enjoy writing and we like sharing our ideas with a broad public.

PLoS itself has taken bloggers seriously for quite some time. It offers bloggers access to preprint versions of articles on the same terms as journalists and organizations. The PLoS team has used its own weblogs – PLoS.org, everyONE and Speaking of Medicine – to highlight scholarly content in an accessible format. As Brian Mossop, PLoS Community Manager (and many thanks for the thrill of that initial call!), says, PLoS Blogs will open up “the discussion, and debate, on science and medicine.”

Although online discussions are no longer new to academia, many of us are searching for ways to better integrate online discussion with serious scholarship to increase the quality of the former and the vitality of the latter. We want PLoS blogs, and Neuroanthropology in particular, to be a place where readers can reliably turn to find a broad engagement with new research at the intersection of brain and culture.

The Principles behind PLoS

PLoS’s Core Principles – Open Access, Excellence, Integrity, Breadth, Cooperation, Community Engagement, Internationalism, and Science as a Public Resource – resonate deeply with us.

The Principles capture how we want science to be: open, international, and public. These values resonate with the ethics of anthropology, where integrity, breadth, and community engagement are core guiding principles for our research with people around the world. These values also correspond well with our home institutions, University of South Florida and Macquarie University, where top-notch science, interdisciplinary cooperation, public education, and community contribution are all fundamental to how these universities strive to conduct themselves.

What PLoS Does

There are also some selfish reasons to be part of PLoS. The Public Library of Science is a serious and powerful voice for open-access scholarship and education. We want Neuroanthropology to be a part of that.

PLoS One, the flagship interdisciplinary journal of PLoS, is soon to become the world’s largest journal, given how it is doubling in size every year.

The PLoS family extends to 1200 academic editors. In 2010 PLoS will publish roughly 8,000 articles, providing about 10% of new articles added to PubMedCentral and 1% of new articles added to PubMed.

At a time when scholars are widely discussing the potential of open access, PLoS is leading the charge to make new research accessible to scholars everywhere. To paraphrase a well-worn hacker’s aphorism: science wants to be free. We’d like to be part of letting it loose.

2.3 million page views per month. That’s what the PLoS sites average as a whole. If that’s not enough, PLoS emails Table of Content alerts to 100,000 readers on different weekly and monthly intervals. Its Twitter stream has 4300 followers; its Facebook group, 7000 fans. We’re both thrilled and humbled to be able to join such a vibrant community and will do everything in our power to return the trust.

Even though PLoS has been an innovator in the creation of the new Article Level Metrics Program, we know deans like their traditional journal impact factors right now. And here PLoS is strong. PLoS Biology has the highest impact factor in Biology, according to the Journal Citation Reports. PLoS Medicine is ranked sixth in Medicine, just after the major medical journals in the United States and Britain like the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet.

Those are serious numbers in the impact game. The point is not simply that PLoS is successful, but that it’s changing the rules of that game. They’ve created this success using the power of online and open access and creating networks of scholars to ensure high quality.

PLoS Blogs and the Future

PLoS has revolutionized open-access, peer-reviewed scientific publishing since its founding in 2003. It opened up the world of academic publishing, making new research widely accessible regardless of whether a reader had access to a leading research library. We hope, and even believe, that blogs can go through a corresponding transformation, albeit in a different direction. Science blogging has different challenges and potentials for success.

Blogs have become an important channel for the popularization of science, often at an intermediate depth, between the level of the expert specialist and the most unfamiliar public or general readership. Because science blogs are so nimble, writers can respond quickly, posing questions, offering critiques, seeking connection and writing in open-ended fashion. We can comment as science stories unfold, responding both to the research and to popular versions, helping to highlight why findings are particularly interesting or exposing when someone’s over-reaching from the results.

For anthropologists, and for those interested in brain-culture relations, blogs are especially important because they provide a forum for synthetic work, a place where theorists and scientific analysts can try to draw conclusions from diverse sources and types of data. Although it may sound dry, the informal format can allow us to speculate and float ideas that might not yet be substantial enough to support a more traditional academic paper or book.

Finally, science blogs are fun, hopefully for the reader as much as the writer, as the rules for academic writing are relaxed and we can exercise our (sometimes warped) senses of humor. At Neuroanthropology, we like to think that anthropologists are particularly well suited for the role of online entertainment: nothing is quite as entertaining as the range of human oddity, including our own.

Recent controversies in the realm of for-profit science blogs and concerns about the business models for online publication suggest that, as with open-access publishing, a not-for-profit organization, founded on principles of community responsibility and accessibility, might offer the best way to bring together diverse talents.

We hope that PLoS can do for science blogging what it has done for academic journals, encouraging innovation and cooperation, offering an alternative model for supporting science, by people who are passionate about research.