research group – reading group

Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology

Wired reports this week on the Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology.  Written by Amber Case, the founder of, the dictionary illustrates and defines 50 topics with artwork by Maggie Wauklyn. You can preview and purchase it here.


This dictionary is, to say the least, not peer reviewed, although many of the entries do cite articles from peer reviewed publications. However in the image above, for example, she cites herself in the definition. And the citation is for a post on her blog. I wonder what the dictionary entry would be for describing that phenomenon, I think wikipedia editors might have some suggestions.

The release brings up some questions that I’d like to put out for discussion. Amber Case founded a tech company, worked at marketing company Wieden + Kennedy and does guest lectures and a TED talk. She calls herself a “cyborg anthropologist” and lists her biography alongside Donna Haraway and Sherry Turkle. But, I wonder: is she an anthropologist? Does getting a B.A. in anthropology and then becoming well known in the technology and marketing world mean you’re an anthropologist? Is she doing anthropology?  Fieldwork? Anthropological research? Can those things happen outside of graduate degrees and associations with academic institutions?

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