Computational Anthropology Workshop – Sept 4th, Durham

One part of my SSI fellowship which I’m particularly excited about is the opportunity to support Digital Anthropology. For a flavour of the kinds of stuff being done in this fairly niche area (I’ve spoken elsewhere about the fairly luddite practices within cultural anthropology) have a look at a recent special issue of Social Science Computer Review.

You can see that there are anthropologists creating and using software to do some pretty interesting stuff, modelling kinship patterns , using graph theory to map burials or GIS techniques to analyse the patterns of burials plus plenty more.


Here are some of the software packages, that are, or have been, used:



CSAC Kinship Editor

CSAC Fieldnotes Editor


Kinship Algebra Modeller

CSAC ImageInterviewer

Knowledge Elicitation Tools


These projects use software that has often been developed by anthropologists, and made available to the community on sites such as SourceForge, but the take up by other developers has not been as hoped. This is exactly the sort of sustainability issue that the SSI was set up to adress, and this workshop will hopefully help create a community of users and developers to further anthropology research.

The aim of this one day workshop is to bring together anthropologists who use or are interested in using software  better suited to anthropological data production, management and analysis problems in the field, the lab and the office. Members of Durham University and the Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing (Kent) will present brief accounts of software tools designed or adapted by anthropologists to address complex issues arising in anthropological research.

Participants in the workshop will contribute to identifying a range of problems encountered by anthropologists in research and brainstorm to develop a prioritised wish list of software capabilities to address these issues. One of our goals is to ensure that development of software tools for anthropological research is driven by research priorities in anthropology.

If you are interested in coming to the workshop get in touch with me, and if you know other software that’s not in the list above, post a link in a comment below!


About digitalscholar

I am a sociologist with an interest in new technology. Previously I’ve worked on a number of projects at Lancaster University and the Open University looking at the use of new technologies and social media by researchers. I was also a social sciences teaching fellow at the foundation centre at Durham University teaching sociology and anthropology. I am now a senior lecturer at the University of West London's Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning where I oversee the foundation provision and support retention. I'm sure I'll still be interested in, and occasionally blog about, tech related things. I use this blog to post thoughts about using new technologies in my professional academic life and wider thoughts and links relating to technology more generally.
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