Oneonta’s hilltop universities may sometimes be in competition, but two anthropology professors, one from each college, are doing big things by working together.
The duo is Sallie Han, associate professor at SUNY Oneonta, and Jason Antrosio, associate professor at Hartwick College, who were recently hired as co-editors of “Open Anthropology,” the first digital-only, public journal of the American Anthropological Association.
Han and Antrosio also happen to be married, having met in college, and will celebrate 19 years together in the fall, they said Tuesday.
Open Anthropology’s March issue, which is about climate change, is the first edited by Han and Antrosio, who are passionate about anthropology, or “the study of humanity,” Han said.
As editors, the two are charged with digitally curating and editing material from the American Anthropological Association’s publishing archives “to make the journal a ‘dream’ course pack of supplementary readings” on anthropological topics, Han said. They will also write editorials and film video abstracts that contextualize the material.
Han and Antrosio were named co-editors this fall after Antrosio, who writes the blogs “Living Anthropologically” and “Anthropology Report,” was invited to apply for the position, he said.
“Jason said, ‘I can’t do this by myself,’” Han recalled. “So I said, ‘I’ll help’ and we ended up being co-editors.”
Both professors have taken on research assistants at their respective colleges to help with the culling of articles, according to Han. She specializes in cultural and medical anthropology while Antrosio’s focus is environmental and economic anthropology.
Working together on a project that marries their specialties has been wonderful for the pair, Han said.
“It’s a collaboration at the next level,” Antrosio said. “One we haven’t taken on before.”
Antrosio has spent a great deal of time in the northern Andean highlands of South America, conducting field work and covering topics of consumption and development, artisan and peasant economies and globalization, he said. His book, “Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy,” is scheduled to be published in October by the University of Chicago Press.
In the past, Han has focused her anthropological research on pregnancy, and authored “Pregnancy in Practice: Expectation and Experience in the Contemporary United States.” She is now focusing her research on parenting, she said.
The American Anthropological Association, dedicated to advancing human understanding and addressing the world’s most pressing problems since its founding in 1902, is the world’s largest professional anthropology organization, according to its website.
Open Anthropology is free on the internet for users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of the articles. Each issue is geared toward topics of interest to the general public, educators, advocates and public policy makers.
“The aim of Open Anthropology is to bring anthropology to broader audiences,” Han said. “We want to get it out to as many people as we can, not just other scholars.”
Since Antrosio’s specialty is environmental anthropology, he took the lead on the March issue, exploring the social, economic and cultural impacts of climate across the globe and throughout time, he said. The issue features 12 articles and three book reviews of anthropological works on climate change.
The journal’s June issue, which Han said she is already working on, will tackle the topic of youth culture by looking at how change is driven by young people and how culture gets passed down and shifts.
“As anthropologists, we take people really seriously,” Han said. “We don’t ask an expert to tell us why something is the way it is. We ask people and observe them in their environments.”
When they’re not observing others, Han and Antrosio are spending time with their children, an 11-year-old daughter who loves ballet and a 7-year old who is becoming quite good at taekwondo, they said.
And although they do spend a majority of their time talking “anthro,” they said, life at their Oneonta home is not all academic. Han recalled a scholarly conversation between the two that took place last week in the kitchen while washing dishes.
“We ask each other questions and trade ideas,” Han said, “but usually it’s just ‘What are the kids doing?’ and ‘Do we have milk?’”
“It’s nice to have someone,” Antrosio said, “who understands where the other is coming from.”