Wednesday, December 29, 2010

homo sapiens sapiens from 400,000 years ago instead of 200,000?

via yahoo news this week; includes a few "related content" stories at the foot of this feature story from Israel,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fall issue of AnthroNotes (Smithsonian Inst.)

Table of Contents, fall 2010 includes:

Tourists and Strangers: An Anthropological Perspective by Lyra Spang

Going Native: The Anthropologist as Advocate by Robert Laughlin

Backyard Ethnography: Studying Your High School  by Carolyn Gecan

Being a Refugee: Humanitarianism and the Palestinian Experience by Ilana Feldman

Friday, December 17, 2010

anthro mix of insider-outsider viewpoints

anthropologist Edmund Carpenter, who had this to say about his mentor at Penn, Frank Speck:
 Great ethnologists do more than record: they reveal…they entered their subjects emotionally,
 intellectually, then revealed what they experienced within…What was needed, he said, was
 the power of language, harnessed to humanistic ends 'by men who, if such exist, possess both
 the scientific mind and the literary touch'.

[source] Edmund S Carpenter.  1991. "Frank Speck: Quiet Listener."
In: The Life and Times of Frank G. Speck, 1881-1950.
Roy Blankenship, ed. Philadelphia: U Pennsylvania Publications in Anthropology, Pp.78-83.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

kerfuffle - What is Anthro... Science or Humanities?

excerpts from some well considered responses to the early December exchanges on blogs and op-ed columns of NYTimes, which ultimately led to statement by the American Anthropological Association on Monday, December 13:
[W. Beeman] Nor do we beat our breasts over the investigative excesses of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The world is a very different place than in the colonial era, and anthropologists, like all seekers of knowledge, must shake off the past and move forward trying to pursue our discipline--the most humanistic of the sciences and most scientific of the humanities and social sciences.
[H. Lewis] ...Indeed, it was the founder of American anthropology, Franz Boas, who most fully exemplified the scientist engaged in the struggle for human rights.

Friday, October 22, 2010

podcasts with Practicing (applied, mainly private sector anthropologists)

as listed to date at
The podcast series features interviews with:
  • [Listen] Patricia Clay, a fisheries anthropologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • [Listen] Judy Tso, owner and consultant of Aha Solutions
  • [Listen] Kevin Bialy, an international program officer at the National Institutes of Health
  • [Listen] Megan Hawkins, a cultural resource specialist with the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, where she is working with the US Army
  • [Listen] Lee Cerveny, a research social scientist at the US Forest Service
  • [Listen] Cheryl Levine, a social science analyst at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

using films to illustrate anthro experiences/observations

via e-list for CAE, council for anthropology and education
(1) The French film "The Class" about a first year teacher is a great one about cross cultural communication.  It has a few great scenes with a boy who is from Burkina Faso and he has to translate his own expulsion interview from a Parisian public school to his mother.  Language has a lot to do with all of the events that lead up to his expulsion as well.  

(2) I have used the Star Trek (The Next Generation) episode "Darmok" in which the captain of the Enterprise must communicate with an alien who communicates using only metaphors. I use it to engage intro classes with linguistic concepts. The conversation (unless you have dedicated anti-Trekies in the class) usually highlights relativism and the need to understand context in any communication.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

bride prices - child marriage essay

Among the many disturbing and thought-provoking audio slideshows at is this one about girls being wed before reaching adulthood in many countries [7 minutes 34 seconds]

[caution for younger viewers: 2/3 of the way along is the self-immolation attempt]

Monday, September 13, 2010

losing in translation lets you type in a phrase, then it translates to another language, then back to English. This cycle repeats for the number of round-trip translations you specify. This vividly illustrates what happens in literal (word-level, not full context-level) translation.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

materials and experiences from Peace Corps lives

Activities and lessons based on Peace Corps Volunteers' cross-cultural experiences

Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understanding
Thirteen exercises for grades 6–12 to help students understand other cultures and promote tolerance for them.

Uncommon Journeys: Peace Corps Adventures Across Cultures
Compelling stories from Peace Corps Volunteers about cultures around the world, with standards-based lessons for language arts, social studies, and geography classes.

Voices From the Field: Reading and Writing About the World, Ourselves, and Others
More Peace Corps Volunteer stories about their service overseas, with standards-based lessons for classes in reading and writing literature.

CyberVolunteer Letters: Stories From In-service Peace Corps Volunteers
A collection of letters written by actively serving Peace Corps Volunteers from 2000 to 2005 for students in the United States. The authors of these evocative stories, who sent their letters by e-mail, were known as CyberVolunteers.

Insights From the Field: Understanding Geography, Culture, and Service
Readings and exercises that focus on the Dominican Republic as a vehicle to help students learn about geography, culture, and service—a quest that can lead anywhere in the world.

Looking at Ourselves and Others
Activities and readings prompt students to define culture, to achieve new perspectives on their own culture and other cultures worldwide, to recognize differences in perception among cultures, and to challenge assumptions.

Culture Matters: The Peace Corps Cross-Cultural Workbook
Designed for Peace Corps Volunteers, this practical, hands-on guide is also a rich and useful resource for students who want to look into their own culture and become more understanding of people of other cultures.

Folk Tales: Stories From Peace Corps Countries Around the World
Folk tales often represent the soul and history of a place. Peace Corps Volunteers hear these stories woven into conversations and daily life. Here, Volunteers retell some of these remarkable tales from more than 25 countries.

Crossing Cultures: Peace Corps Letters From the Field
A newly gathered collection of letters written by Peace Corps Volunteers capturing the adventures and challenges, joys and sorrows, trials and rewards of service in another land.

Friday, September 3, 2010

anthro education

Anthropologist About Town [excerpts]

Diary for September 2010

Thursday 16th September- Wales Anthropology Day

Similar to the London Anthropology Day, the Wales Anthropology Day is a free open day for teachers, students and the general public who are interested in learning more about what it is like to study anthropology at university. On the day, participants will be able to take part in a series of workshops run by University of Lampeter staff and talk to students currently studying anthropology. To find out more and book your free place visit the following website.

The controversial art of representation...

Melville J. Herskovits (1859-1963) was a pioneering and controversial American anthropologist who played a prominent role in shaping African Studies as a distinct discipline. Herskovits's academic work was both influential and controversial and still emerges in on-going debates on questions of identity and representation. Herkovits at the Heart of Blackness is a documentary which tracks the development of Hervokits's career in relation to African American and Jewish experiences of exile, political oppression and exclusion. The film gives a critical review of anthropologist's role in representing and documenting other societies. Take a look at a preview of the film here.

Small Places Large Issues

The third edition of Thomas Eriksen's book is now available. Small Places Large Issues has become a classic for introduction to social anthropology for undergraduate students as well as those who are new to anthropology. It gives an excellent overview of topics such as kinship, ethinicity, ritual and political systems. The new edition has updated information and has increased emphasis on the interdependence between societies. Take a look here for other introductory texts to social anthropology.

Anthropology Education

The September issue of the American Anthropological Association's official newspaper Anthropology News is entirely devoted to topics concerning anthropology and education. The issue includes articles on pre-university education, online courses, pedagogical standards and assessment models and much more. Take a look here for more information.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

future shock today

Here is a discussion prompt re: the pace of change.
Every so often, it hits home that we are actually living in one of those science-fiction worlds that I read about as a young nerd in the 1970s. Not, it turns out, one where we commute with jet packs; nor are Soviet and American colonists bantering about just how red the Red Planet should be. But now, while putting my keys in my pocket, I will sometimes accidentally hit a button on the BlackBerry that causes a robotic female voice to bark, "Say a command!"
Never having gotten around to programming any in, it always feels like I'm letting her down.

We're all walking around carrying devices that are in contact with unimaginably vast systems of information. You get used to it. It ceases to seem strange – which is, arguably, the strange part. Future shock becomes second nature. (To remember what things were like before requires something like the exact opposite of the willing suspension of disbelief.) And discussing any of this with friends or colleagues in their 20s is out of the question. It leaves me feeling like I have become my own grandfather...
source, Surrendering to Tomorrow [September 1, 2010 by Scott McLemee]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

underwater archeology in fresh water

from Lake Michigan's cold clear water, the Walter B. Allen project:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

six anthropologists in profile -what do they do?

Meet six Smithsonian anthropologists and learn what inspired them to go into the field and why they love what they do...
--cf. the webpage, Careers in Anthropology,
additional information on careers in anthropology:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

archeology on land and water

research essay from The Museum of Underwater Archeology (August 2010): Great Lakes, USA.

child anthropologist observes USA life

People play on computers.
People grill on a grill.

People read books.
People talk to people.
People write on paper.
People write and read papers.
People read magazines.
People lay on couches.
People can talk and see.
People can be a boy or a girl.
People have flowers.
People have houses.
People love people.
People have lives.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010 anthro-day (London, July; Wales, September)

Diary for August 2010

Monday 30th August- Booking Ahead for Wales Anthropology Day

Many of you who were not able to come to this year's London Anthropology Day will be happy to know that there is a sister event happening on the 16th of September in Wales. Every year the University of Wales Lampeter organises a free university taster day of anthropological workshops and films aimed at Year 12, 13, FE students and teachers. To find out more and book your free place visit this website.

London Anthropology Day 2010 Photos now Online!

The London Anthropology Day 2010 is a university taster day for Year 12,13 and FE students, career advisors and teachers. Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute's Education Programme in collaboration with the British Museum and participating universities the event was held on 8th July. This year's event included 18 universities from England, Ireland and Wales and over 350 participants making it the largest London Anthropology Day to date. Take a look at the this year's photos along with other anthropological events on this website.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

online Anthro News

via Yahoo,
Special Series on National Public Radio, "The Human Edge"
::Discover what's made us the most versatile and powerful species on Earth::

Friday, June 18, 2010

excavating meanings from a single photograph (1937 England) [discussion about the following article]
For 70 years, this picture has been used to tell the same story – of inequality, class division, "toffs and toughs". As an old Etonian closes in on Downing Street, it is being trotted out again. But what was the story behind it? Ian Jack investigates
[From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Spring 2010;]
Almost since its invention, photography has had the habit of turning people into symbols by accident. A painter might spend a year on a canvas, working up the personification of an abstract idea to its full visual glory ("Truth Triumphant" or "Temptation Denied"), but a camera could capture a scene in a fraction of a second, and if the scene was somehow striking and memorable – in its composition, its subject matter, its light – it might become "iconic", meaning that its particulars might be understood to suggest much more general emotions, conflicts and problems. When the shutter clicked, such a metaphorical future was rarely suspected either by the photographer or his subjects, who might not even be aware that a picture had been taken. The moment could be ordinary or extraordinary: a couple kissing in a Paris street, a sharecropper and her children in California, a burning child running down a road in Vietnam. It could happen anywhere, to anybody. It might happen even at an old-fashioned English cricket match.

Navaho - sheep - ecology & worldview

Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now

June 13, 2010 For as long as anyone can remember, Churro sheep have been central to Navajo life and spirituality. Yet the animal was nearly exterminated by the federal government, which deemed it an inferior breed. Now the Churro is making a comeback, but the old Navajo ways may not.
[National Public Radio broadcast, Sunday, June 13, 2010]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

underwater archeology, 1600s armed merchant, Poole Harbour (UK)

Bournemouth University in the UK recently started work on a rare and historically important northwest European armed merchant ship. It was wrecked in the approaches to Poole Harbour in the early 17th century. With almost 40% of the port side of originating ship being present this project has the potential to yield important information about merchant vessels from this time period.   The Swash Channel Wreck team has posted
its first two entries on the MUA and will provide periodic updates over the next few months.

project journal, ttp://

posted on edtech e-list, from
The Museum of Underwater Archaeology,

Friday, May 7, 2010

news story, Neanderthal genes 'survive in us'

Many people alive today possess some Neanderthal ancestry, according to a landmark scientific study.
The finding has surprised many experts, as previous genetic evidence suggested the Neanderthals made little or no contribution to our inheritance.
The result comes from analysis of the Neanderthal genome - the "instruction manual" describing how these ancient humans were put together. Between 1% and 4% of the Eurasian human genome seems to come from Neanderthals.
BBC story (excerpt). Full story,

Monday, April 26, 2010

primates mourn lost mates

Chimps May Mourn Lost Ones, Study Suggests

Deciphering what death means to chimpanzees has always been difficult, as they usually die without a human witness. Two new papers in Current Biology offer a glimpse into the minds of chimps as they confront death. In one case, when an older matriarch died, the researcher says the chimps were subdued for several weeks after she passed.
[National Public Radio on 26 April 2010]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

connections of people to their land

from the on-air, online (radio) essay series, "This I Believe"
A Reverence for All Life

Friday, March 26, 2010

using education technology in classes

National Council for the Social Studies (USA) Ning,
EdTech Teacher,
Tips, sources, techniques,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

body image - Hidden World of Girls

via National Public Radio, March 22, 2010

Hidden World Of Girls - Taking Surprising Risks For The Ideal Body 

In Jamaica, like all over the world, there are deep conversations about the ideal body type. While there are competing norms of beauty, some women are using extreme methods to fit their vision of beautiful, like ingesting chicken pills for broader hips and butts, and bleaching their skin to be whiter. And they're taking health risks to do so.

Friday, March 19, 2010

underwater long ago in Sweden

Ancient Shipwrecks A Wonder Of 'Baltic Triangle'

March 13, 2010 A dozen ancient shipwrecks have been discovered in the Baltic Sea, just east of Sweden. The well-preserved ships are hundreds of years old. The oldest wreck may date back 800 years. [National Public Radio]

Saturday, March 6, 2010

archeology underwater - wrecks of Belgium

Our series on maritime archaeology in Europe continues with sites in Belgium. 
...sites from various time periods including the Doel Cog, the
eighteenth-century Buiten Ratel wreck, and the early twentieth-century
French military vessel Bourrasque.
The main webpage for all projects of the Musuem of Underwater Archeology is at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

language - possible or probably Made-up Words

...from "The Meaning Of Liff", a creation of John Lloyd and Douglas Adams:

Aberbeeg: Of amateur actors, to adopt a Mexican accent when called upon to play any variety of foreigner (except Pakistanis - from whom a Welsh accent is considered sufficient).

Ewelme: The smile bestowed on you by an air hostess.

Liff: A book, the contents of which are totally belied by its cover. For instance, any book the dust jacket of which bears the words. 'This book will change your life'.

Meathop: One who sets off for the scene of an aircraft crash with a picnic hamper.

Peoria: The fear of peeling too few potatoes.

Scraptoft: The absurd flap of hair a vain and balding man grows long above one ear to comb it to the other ear.

Thrupp: To hold a ruler on one end on a desk and make the other end go bbddbbddbbrrbrrrrddrr.

Ventnor: One who, having been visited as a child by a mysterious gypsy lady, is gifted with the strange power of being able to operate the air-nozzles above aeroplane seats.

Yarmouth: To shout at foreigners in the belief that the louder you speak, the better they'll understand you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

jobs to get with anthro training

eye-opening poster by Pearson textbooks

Saturday, January 30, 2010

playing with language and ethnicity

Comedian Russell Peters Capitalizes On Indian Roots
...He is now on the road with his Green Card Tour. He spoke with NPR's Audie Cornish from New York City.

After ribbing Cornish about her family's Jamaican roots, he confessed his love for speaking in accents that are not his own.

"Sometimes I get stuck in a Chinese accent and just want to talk to everybody like a Chinese person," Peters says. "Sometimes I might even just talk like myself, but that's on a crazy day."

One of his standup routines includes a bit about the Indian accent.

Monday, January 25, 2010

all about Practicing Anthropologists

The four field approach to anthro in North America comes from its 1800s roots: trying to understanding and inter-relate the scores of Native peoples at the time and the earlier societies leaving an imprint on the land. Archeology, linguistics, biological or physical anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Later in the 20th century the fifth field was added: Applied Anthropology.

Here is a synopsis from the website of the National Association of Practicing Anthropology,

Practicing Anthropologists

Practicing anthropologists do exciting work to understand and help people around the world. We also turn up in places you might not expect to find us, including the fields of agriculture, computer science, law enforcement forensics, and more.
Our profession is dynamic and constantly evolving into more opportunities for professional anthropologists. The links, at left, contain many examples of anthropology in action, and interesting information for the public, the press and educators. You can also locate a local organization dedicated to anthropology and share and view upcoming events related to our field.


Areas of Practice

Practicing anthropologists work in many industries and areas, including:
  • Agricultural Development
  • Business – Product Design
  • Business – Project Management
  • Business – Program Management
  • Business – Research and Development
  • Computer Science – Database Design and Development
  • Computer Science – Software Design and Development
  • Computer Science – User Interface Design
  • Community Development
  • Cultural Resource Management
  • Education and Training
  • Environment – Management
  • Environment – Policy
  • Government – Local/Regional/Federal
  • Government – Military
  • Government – International Policy
  • Information Technology – Human Factors Engineering
  • Information Technology – Localization and Globalization
  • Information Technology – Network Design and Administration
  • Law Enforcement – Forensics
  • Legal Practices
  • Medical – Health Care
  • Medical – Public Health
  • Museums – Curation
  • Museums – Program Managers
  • Organizational Management
  • Nonprofit – Grant Writing
  • Nonprofit – Management
  • Nonprofit – Policy
  • Social Services
  • Saturday, January 16, 2010

    foodways, Old Testament example

    from the Bible (New International Version), Leviticus 11:20-22
    cf. insect eating account by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, Man Eats Bug (2004)

    20 All flying insects that walk on all fours are an abomination to you.
    21 Yet you may eat these: of all winged creeping things that go on all fours, which have legs above their feet, with which to hop on the earth. 22 Even of these you may eat: any kind of locust, any kind of katydid, any kind of cricket, and any kind of grasshopper.

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    teaching anthro at US Marine Corps University [Jan 9, 2010 Nat'l Public Radio, Weekend Edition-Saturday]
    In Class, Marines Learn Cultural Cost Of Conflict, mp3 audio download

    The students in front of Paula Holmes-Eber wear camouflage and have close-cropped hair. Most of them are Marine officers, and many of them have already been to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    They're here to learn the consequences of their actions.

    "Should we change another culture?" she asks the class. "The reality is, the second you land on the ground with 100,000 troops eating and using the materials of the area, you've changed the economy; you've changed the environment."

    "It's not should we," she tells them, "it's what are we doing — and is that what we want to be doing?"

    An anthropologist, Holmes-Eber trains American warriors to be sensitive to other cultures. She teaches operational culture at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va. It's her job to get soldiers to think through how every move they make on the battlefield has a consequence — not just for enemy forces, but for ordinary people.


    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    radio treasure trove, "interfaith voices"

    The archives for "Interfaith Voices" offer rich listening segments. This one includes segments about pilgrimage to sites where relics reside.

    Whiskers, Bones, Toes, and Teeth

    In Rag and Bone, author Peter Manseau explores the macabre world of religious relics—the bodily odds and ends of saints, gurus and prophets, scattered all around the world.  From Muhammed's beard whisker to the Buddha's tooth, it's a look at why we save and celebrate pieces of the dead. Our interview originally aired in July 2009.

    Peter Manseau, author of Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World's Holy Dead, founding editor of