Within the context of anthropology in the UK our collective grant income over this period has been substantial. Over the past five years we have been the most successful research unit in anthropology in the UK with respect to basic (non-applied) research grants funded by the Research Councils. Last year we were awarded over 30% of all ESRC grants allocated for anthropology in both number and value.
The basic research activities of the Centre have been supported by some 22 Research Council grants, a major grant from the Leverhulme Foundation, a number of smaller grants from the Nuffield Foundation, and substantial infrastructural support from competitive Social Science Faculty and University Research programmes. Most recently the Centre has secured a contract to coordinate information technology for the £4,000,000 EU Avenir des Peuples des Forêts Tropicales project, for which Kent also is providing coordination for the Pacific region.
At the last HEFCE research review the computing-related research programme, all of which was initiated by CSAC members, was awarded a special letter of commendation. We have made significant improvements in research output since that time, and expect the research activities of CSAC members to contribute strongly to the forthcoming research review.
Although specific funding for computer-related teaching derives largely from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropolgy, this teaching has benefited from the activities of CSAC. Most of the course material is based on the research activities of members of the Centre, and depends on software which has been developed by CSAC members and often hardware acquired for these projects. This is in part due to the unique position of anthropology as both a highly empirical discipline which at the same time possesses a minority of primary data which is suitable for meaningful quantitative representation but which can make only limited use of software designed for so-called qualitative methods . This makes locating possible specialised sources of software from other disciplines difficult, although we glean a bit here and there. We do make heavy use of more general tools, such as programs for numerical taxonomy or basic functions such as support for digital video, and, of course, general applications such as text and image editors, database managers and programming languages. More specialised software needs are satisfied by members of the Centre.
CSAC Monographs has expanded to ten titles, with four more scheduled over 1995/6. This series has been self-financing to date; all of the original titles have covered their costs and contributed to further titles. We have also extended our original computer-based bulletin board to more conventional Internet-based resources, using FTP, Gopher, WWW and WAIS, and we launched video-conferencing services in 1995/6. Our WWW site traffic is relatively low, about 10,000 documents served per month, but we can expect that to rise as more anthropologists get on-line in the coming year. We have just agreed with the Association of Social Anthropologists to host information for that organisation, and expect to make similar deals with the Royal Anthropological Institute and the American Anthropological Association soon.
The general activities of the Centre in future are likely to continue current research interests, though we expect expansion in language and visual related research. With the forthcoming addition of two additional specialist staff members to anthropology, some additional work in mathematical methods will likely be forthcoming. We are unlikely to seek commercial sponsorship directly, since this leads us away from primary research, but will probably increase the number of consultancies we undertake.
The paper publications series will continue to expand, at a modest pace, within its capacity to self-sustain itself. We are currently a beginning major electronic publications effort, based on Gopher/WWW, which will include peer review, both by re-printing out of print volumes which have previously undergone review, and setting up a more formal peer-review mechanism for new submissions than we have used in the past. We have also initiated a programme to publish all doctoral theses in anthropology which are submitted on disk to our specifications.
Dr. M Fischer (Director)
Dr. D Zeitlyn (Deputy Director)
Prof. R Ellen (Deputy Director/Alternate)
Dr. N Ryan (Computing)
Mr. A Butcher (History)
Participating Fellows :
Mr. J Bousfield (Philosophy)
Dr. W Watson
Dr. J Bagg
Updated Saturday, December 30, 1995