Category Archives: Around the Web

Around the Web Digest: Week of June 21

It’s been a rollercoaster week in US politics! Hope that, no matter where you are in the world, something in the news made you happy this week. Send me any blog links at

According to this post on Media/Anthropology, bilingualism has a different social valence in Spain (where it signifies upward mobility) and Denmark (where it signifies loss of competency in Danish): Educating “Bilingual” Children in Spain and Denmark

At Raving Anthropology, a student is chronicling her fieldwork on drug use and harm reduction in electronic dance music halls in Toronto. In Eat, Sleep, Anth, Repeat, she discusses entering the field, and follows up with excerpts from her field notes in Field Notes: This Data Collection is Interfering with My Dancing. (There’s strong language in case you’re squeamish).

This AAA blog post points out that white middle-class parenting standards should not be taken as the norm, with any difference seen as a lack: White+Word Gap=Wrong! 

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Around the Web Digest: Week of June 14

This week either the anthroblogosphere was quiet, or I was too distracted by the hoopla surrounding Rachel Dolezal to keep up… help me out  by sending me links at!

As you might have expected, anthropologists weighed in on the scandal surrounding Rachel Dolezal, the academic who was outed as “passing” as black. In this interview on the AAA blog, Patricia Sunderland points out that strategic racial repositioning has a long history:  Race and Rachel Dolezal

And on Anthropology While White, The Rules That Rachel Broke discusses “racecraft” and Dolezal’s negation of the continuous social processes that go into creating racial identity, in favor of a personal, psychological narrative.

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Around the Web Digest: Week of June 7

I love when good online content finds me! Keep submitting links to me at and I’m happy to feature them on here.

The title of this Washington Post article is pretty self-explanatory: Why Congress Should Not Cut Funding to the Social Sciences. Takeaway? Aside from having any intrinsic value, understanding social phenomena is important for shaping public policy.

My friends and I were just comparing notes on Ph.D. research with some people we know from the biology department, and they couldn’t understand our view of research as a basically solitary activity in anthropology. This post on the Global Social Media Impact Study Project Blog addresses that very perception: A Methodological Case of Comparative Anthropology 

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Around the Web Digest: Week of May 31

It’s unofficially archaeology week here at the headquarters of the Around the Web Digest… Send me anything I need to feature on here at

Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology features this attractive post about the excavation of a drover’s track and inn from the 18th-19th centuries: Ancient Routeway Revealed in Argyll

The crew at DigVentures obviously loves and hates clickbait as much as I do… Check out these 7 Medieval Medicines Dug Up By Archaeologists – the third one will change the way you see medieval medicine forever!

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Around the Web Digest: Week of May 24

Happy Sunday! Did you know the Spanish word for “pansy,” pensamiento, also means “thought,” just as in the French? I bet you did; you’re all so clever. If there’s anything you want me to share with our readers, send me the link at

In A Hobby Anthropologist Dissects the Tribes of the Upper East Side, the New York Times pans Wednesday Martin’s new quasi-ethnography on the elite women of the Upper East Side, Primates of Park Avenue. The Othering tone of the title calls to mind “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” but without the famous article’s self-conscious awareness of this tendency in anthropological writing. While she appears to have more of an anthropology background than the NY Times gives her credit for, the work sounds superficial and, according to the review, gender-biased in singling out women for criticism.

Yahoo! News featured this story, New Species of Human Ancestor Found in Ethiopia, with the claim that Australopithecus afarensis (represented by the famous “Lucy” skeleton) may not be humanity’s ancestor. also profiled this discovery, with a link to the original study, but focused only on the claim that a new species has been discovered with characteristics distinct from A. afarensis: Say Hello to Australopithecus deyiremeda, a Newly Discovered 3.4 Million-Year Old Hominid.

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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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