Letter from the new Board of Trustees

Dear Readers,

HAU: Journal for Ethnographic Theory was launched in 2011. It was followed by the creation of two book series in 2012: Masterclass and Classics in Ethnographic Theory, and by the formation of the Society for Ethnographic Theory (SET) in 2013 and HAU Books in 2015.  Since its foundation, the intellectual project that saw the establishment of the journal has received support from an ever expanding group of scholars.

Members of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Ethnographic Theory are pleased to announce a further expansion of membership in the Hau project with the participation of scholars from many different parts of the world. The journal has acquired a phenomenal reputation and an increasingly diverse readership.

Given the level of expansion and enthusiasm shown by members of the anthropology community, a group of scholars set out to create a series of collectively governed boards to insure a dynamic and innovative future. We have restructured HAU’s various initiatives and have developed codes of practice. We believe that the very success of its various endeavors has necessitated a rearranging of its financial footing and editorial organization. A project that had begun among likeminded intellectual friends, deeply dedicated to Open Access, outgrew the original informality of its workings. Its labor needed better compensation, its finances needed stabilizing, it required an infrastructure commensurate with its newly-found scope.

Last winter, the Executive Council of the HAU’s Advisory Board lead by Carole McGranahan (including Carlos Fausto, Jane Guyer, Michael Lambek, Rena Lederman, Michael Puett, and Andrew Shryock) restructured the Society for Ethnographic Theory. The group wrote new bylaws and revamped the HAU organization in line with both the UK law and the best possible academic publishing practices. The legal incorporation provides the Society with needed protections and professional structures for our work as we grow, making it democratic, accountable, and reliable in the long term. Part of the process of legal incorporation involved dissolving the existing unincorporated Society for Ethnographic Theory. Per UK law, the new “HAU - Society for Ethnographic Theory” (publisher of the HAU journal and HAU Books) is now a nonprofit organization governed by a collective Board of Trustees, and a group of guarantors, in charge of voting for resolutions. You will find the updated list of trustees and guarantors here: https://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/pages/view/society

 The changes in organization also required a redistribution of the editorial functions. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory and HAU Books will now be run by two different editorial committees.  Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory will now be run by an editorial committee composed by Giovanni da Col and two Deputy Editors, Deborah Durham and Michael Lempert. HAU Books will be run by a committee of editors (Julie Archambault, Giovanni da Col, Niloofar Haeri, and Sasha Newell), it will continue to be marketed and distributed by the University of Chicago Press and funded with the support of Knowledge Unlatched’s network of libraries. The Editorial Board is also being renewed to bring in new voices from broader horizons. A robust new Scientific Board will advise on both the journal and the book series. A new Advisory Board is about to be constituted for HAU-N.E.T. institutions and other HAU-affiliated centers. 

For contributors and readers, the most significant upcoming change is that HAU Journal of Ethnographic Theory has joined the University of Chicago Press’s journal’s division as of January 2018

In May 2017, twenty members of the HAU Advisory Board were called to vote on the offer by University of Chicago Press: to move to a unique “free access”-cum-subscription model that would guarantee the long-term sustainability of the journal for the next twenty years, and the preservation of the intellectual mission of the Society for Ethnographic Theory. The business model includes one month free access after each issue’s release, green open access (and compliance of UKRI requisites for REF submission), gold open access to each issue’s key articles, and subsidized or free subscription for institutions in the Global South. For the loyal readers who can’t afford a subscription—independent scholars with no university affiliation or living in the Global South—Hau will still be free to read.  Unlike the journals contracted by corporate publishers, Hau has kept the rights to return to a full gold open access model, should a secure and sustainable source of funds become available in the future.

 HAU Books will remain the only existing anthropology open access press, thanks to our partnership with Knowledge Unlatched, our HAU Network, and a number of supporting libraries worldwide. (More detailed discussions of all these changes can be found in editorial letters by da Col 7.3/2017 and the forthcoming 8.1/2018) 

 We are concerned by recent destabilizing efforts that have been made towards HAU. These actions seem to ignore the many positive outcomes of the original intellectual project and come at the precise moment when a team of scholars has been working hard and collaboratively to restructure and incorporate HAU. We are also concerned that they misrepresent HAU’s commitment to the sharing of ethnographic theory and its relationship to the University of Chicago Press, a nonprofit publisher.

We believe in HAU’s mission and want to see it thrive. HAU has produced exceptional and creative scholarship and has made many contributions to the discipline in its short life. We are committed to a world in which the experiment of ethnographic theory and open access that HAU has begun can continue on a renewed basis and believe that its loss would be a loss for us all.

Magnus Course (University of Edinburgh)
Giovanni Da Col (SOAS)
Carlos Fausto (Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro)
Caterina Guenzi (EHESS, Paris)
Niloofar Haeri (Johns Hopkins University)
Michael Puett (Harvard University)
Joel Robbins (Cambridge University)
Carlo Severi (EHESS, Paris) – Chair
Anne-Christine Taylor (CNRS, Paris)
Angela Zito (New York University)

Michael Lambek (University of Toronto) - Member/Guarantor