The academic journal is obsolete

The academic journal is obsolete and we don’t need to build its replacement. We have it already. We just need to recognize its value and to start recognizing its output. We simply don’t need journals and presses anymore. We have better right now. The traditional journal system restricts both the diversity of inputs and the…

Canada 150 or Canada 15 000?

This week, I gave a talk at the Bodo Archaeological Society on the earliest human occupations in the Americas. As I was driving across Alberta, working on my talk, seeing all those stunning landscapes, thinking about how they had evolved since the Last Glacial Maximum, and imagining how people had lived in them and adapted…

What kind of culture do you want?

In a senior administration meeting, a colleague recently asked: “What kind of culture do we want in the institution?” That got me thinking about the fairly substantial intersection between my academic work and my administrative duties. The short answer to my colleague’s question is that we don’t get the culture we want. We get the…

Two rejections of Human exceptionalism

There is a very powerful human exceptionalist current in western thought, especially in, but not limited to the humanities and social sciences. Human exceptionalism is the belief that humans are fundamentally and qualitatively different from the rest of nature. One of its corollaries is that the theories and tools we use to study nature can’t…

Who and what is open archaeological data for?

Discussing the disincentives to and constraints on sharing data in archaeology, Lorna Richardson asks “Do you think there's an issue w not knowing who to aim open data at? Planning for niche, specialist use or other?”. In short, yes, I believe there is. Perhaps when faced with the prospect of preparing and organizing our data, we…