Category Archives: Around the Web

Around the Web Digest: Week of April 26

It’s that time of year that makes you grateful for good students and good moments throughout the semester… we just had a great review session that helped put the whole course into perspective. If anything is happening online that I need to know about, send me the link at

This post on Brain Pickings is a little older but a reader just brought it to my attention (thanks!). It describes a broad-ranging public conversation between Margaret Mead and the writer James Baldwin that touches on issues of the extent of our moral responsibility and the formation of American racial/ethnic identities:  A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness and the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility 

For this week’s piece of shameless self-promotion, here’s a post I wrote for Anthropology News about a tour I took of a Guatemalan archaeological site that took a post-colonial turn: Welcome to the Jungle: Touring Tikal 

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Around the Web Digest: Week of April 19

I practiced writing “Dr. Rebecca Nelson” a few times but it still doesn’t flow naturally… The anthropology blogs seemed a bit quiet this week, which makes sense for this time of year. It’s also possible that I missed some good pieces (something you can remedy by sending me links at

This Past Horizons post summarizes an Open Access article suggesting that Caribbean architecture that could be flexibly rebuilt might provide a model for aid workers providing disaster relief: Humanitarian Decision Makers and Archaeologists Should Collaborate 

This “GradHacker” post on Inside Higher Ed is not specifically anthropological, but it might be of interest if you’re new to academic conferences and networking: Preparing for Conferences. We can forgive them for the title of the section and the use of “hacking” to refer to any kind of daily activity…

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Around the Web Digest: Week of April 12

Greetings to everyone at the SAA meetings this week. Also, I defend my dissertation on Thursday so wish me luck! As always, if you write or read anything interesting in the anthroblogosphere, let me know at and I will include it here.

This is an article published last year by Business Insider Australia, recently republished by the New Zealand mag Stuff. I include it because I’m currently facing the job market and I have questions. First, where are these companies and why are they not stalking my LinkedIn profile? Second, why are these kinds of stories of anthropologists in the private sector getting passed around? Do we cling to them as signs of the commercial value of our field? Why Companies are Desperate to Hire Anthropologists

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Around the Web Digest: Week of April 5

I’ve declared it Language Week at the Around the Web Digest! If you write or come across any interesting blogs, email me the links at

This New Yorker article discusses a particularly paradoxical new phrase, drawing from the history of negation: What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand? 

Slate featured this article Jahai speakers from the Malay Peninsula have a rich language for describing smells and perform better on smell tests than English speakers: English Speakers Stink at Identifying Smells

This Language Log post links to a modern noire masterpiece about a detente between prescriptivists and descriptivists as they face off against the clickbaiters: The Conditional Entente

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Around the Web Digest: Week of March 29

If you observe it, happy Easter! The theme for this week seems to be “navel-gazing,” with a variety of blogs across the anthroblogosphere focusing on anthropology itself and academia as a whole. Don’t go anywhere, though: these are interesting posts. Please send any cool blog posts my way at… particularly if you wrote them!

I can sympathize with this topical post on the Scientific American anthropology blog, which takes a jaundiced historical view of childish April Fool’s Day pranks like the one we featured on here… Then and Now: April Fools’ Day—How Did We Get Here?

Moving from one holiday post to another, DigVentures has some lovely visuals in this post on ancient egg decorating: How to Decorate Your Easter Egg Like It’s 60,000 BC

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Around the Web Digest: Week of March 22

This week I’m trying to spread the love to some blogs I haven’t featured in the past. Please, if you know of any good blogs, particularly physical/biological anthropology blogs, send them my way at

If you haven’t done the Savage Minds Reader Survey yet, don’t fret! There’s still time to get in the running for the Awesome Stuff giveaway.

DigVentures describes a genetic mapping study that found a shocking lack of Viking DNA in the UK:  Not So Vicious Invaders? What Genetic Mapping Tells Us About Our Past 

Similarly, this post on The Conversation discusses recent evidence from genome sequencing that adds a new wave of steppe pastoralists to the history of European settlement:  European Invasion: DNA Reveals the Origins of Modern Europeans 

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Around the Web Digest: Week of March 15

For those of you in the Northeast like me, spring has officially come so don’t let a little snow fool you into thinking it hasn’t. As always, if you want me to feature anything here, send me the link at

In honor of Sir Terry Pratchett’s life and work, here’s a quote from The Science of Discworld II: The Globe: “The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens (‘wise man’). In any case it’s an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.” If you’re unfamiliar with his books, I recommend the Rincewind series, which begins with The Colour of Magic and skewers academic pretensions.

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Around the Web Digest: Week of March 8

Beware the Ides of March, pansies. The dedicated anthropology blogs were a bit quieter than usual this week but to make up for it, anthropologists were featured in a variety of other spaces. As always, if you come across anything good or want to bring an anthro blog to my attention, email me at

Let me take a minute to boost the Savage Minds Reader Survey (after all, survey data shows that people who take surveys are nicer and smarter than people who don’t!).

This is a January post, and it’s not even written by an anthropologist. Bear with me. It blew up my feeds this week when it was republished by The Guardian, so I think it’s worth a look. The title is pretty self-explanatory: Don’t Call them Expats, They are Immigrants like Everyone Else

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Around the Web Digest: Week of March 1

Greetings anthroblogosphere! Do we have a word for our readers? Savage Minders? Pansies? As the new Around the Web intern, I’m going to be collecting and sharing anthropology-themed blog posts that I find interesting. If you come across (or produce) anything that you’d like me to share next week, please email me at I could particularly use some recommendations for physical/biological anthro blogs.

National Anthropology Day was February 19th and I’m nothing if not observant, so here’s an older post from Glossographia: How and Why (Not) to Go to Grad School 

This interview in Guernica with Lily King, the author of Euphoria,  a novel inspired by the life of Margaret Mead, explores the experience of ethnographic fieldwork, what it feels like to be an outsider, and intellectual eroticism: Ethnographic Invention: Megha Majumdar interviews Lily King

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Around the Web: Year in Review 2014


As 2014 comes to a close, I thought I’d take up the annual task of rounding up the best of Savage Minds and the anthroblogosphere. First, some fellow Savage Minds authors will share their favorite posts from the year. As the Around the Web curator, I’ll list the posts (from SM and elsewhere) that stood out for me. Then, I’ll show some of the submissions that we received from our readers. Finally, we’ll review some of the best blogs and articles that have provided an anthropological perspective on the 2014’s current events.

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Around the Web Digest: Week of September 28

After a couple rather dry months on the anthroblogosphere, it seems that this week anthro-bloggers have rallied (and conspired against me?) to give you, dear reader, so much content. There are so many blog entries (this doesn’t include anthropology-related news) that I can’t even read them all. I just can’t – it’s not gonna happen. We’re going to try a (‘nother) new format for cases like these – author name, title, and blog – and please let me know how you feel about it. If you have a blog article that you’d like me to share next week, please don’t hesitate to hit me up at or on Twitter at @dtpowis.

First, some business:

Most importantly, the AAA Webinar on Ebola and Anthropology. If you missed it, do yourself a favor, watch it, show it to your classes, and talk with them about it.

Next, a petition: Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

And then: A Letter to the AAA in Response to IAA’s Letter of 28 August 2014

And now your digest awaits. Continue reading

Around the Web Digest: Week of September 21

Here are some items you may have missed this week in anthropology. If you have something that you’d like me to share next week, email me or hit me on Twitter @dtpowis.

Bruce O’Neill wrote about living a life of boredom in Bucharest. (Allegra Lab)

Anne-Marie Martindale talked about ethics and the face, in the context of facial transplant. (Allegra Lab)

Sharon Abramowitz listed the reasons that anthropologists are needed by the global response to Ebola. (Somatosphere)

Susan Lepselter moved towards an ethnography of feeling. (CASTAC Blog)

Anthony Stavrianakis related impatience to assisted suicide. (ARC)

This is why liberals love the Disease Theory of Addiction, written by a liberal who hates it. (Pacific Standard)

The names of our diseases carry meaning and the way we use Ebola is political, racist, and xenophobic. (Salon)

Around the Web Digest: Week of September 14

In case you missed it, here are some of the best things provided by the internet this week. If you have something that you want me to post next week, email it to me at or hit me up on Twitter at @dtpowis. Now go ahead a procrastinate a little.

Dr. Todd and Natalia are talking shit again. (YouTube)

Adia Benton called attention to the “race and immuno-logics” of spectators of humanitarian efforts in Ebola-afflicted regions of West Africa. (Somatosphere)

Raad Fadaak discussed the difficulty of tracking the migration of “emerging infectious disease.” (Somatosphere)

Anthony Stavrianakis responded to George Marcus’ reviews of Demands of the Day and The Accompaniment, as well as Michael Fisher’s review of the latter. (ARC)

Elizabeth Ferry described the ritual of the West Point Class Ring Memorial Melt. (CASTAC Blog)

Michael White wrote on why science might help, but it certainly won’t stop Ebola. (Pacific Standard)

Around the Web Digest: Week of August 24

If, like me, you’ve been living under a rock this week, here are some things you may have missed. (From the size of this list, I feel like I missed a lot.) If you have something that you’d like me to feature next weekend, please send it to me at or on Twitter at @dtpowis.

A new anthropology MOOC is starting up on edX, called World101x: Anthropology of Current World Issues. (World101x)

Gerhard Hoffstaedter, course director of World101x, has written on the immigration from the perspective of Australia’s own crisis. (HuffPo)

Also, be sure to check out the World101x interview with anthropologist-journalist-blogger Sarah Kendzior. (YouTube)

While you’re on YouTube, a full length video of the documentary on Bourdieu, “La sociologie est un sport de combat,” was uploaded this week (in French, no subtitles). (YouTube)

Continuing in the theme of legendary French theorists, the audio of a lecture by Durkheim was also made available this week (in French). (Urban Demographics)

Stephen T. Casper discussed neuroscience, Ferguson, and the concept of “contagious shooting.” (Somatosphere)

Jennifer Carlson sat down with John Hartigan, anthropologist and director of the Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies at University of Texas at Austin, to talk about the use of multispecies ethnography in his work. (CASTAC Blog)

Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne described the long history of Africa’s reputation as a “dirty, diseased place.” (WaPo)