Mmm… brains (and culture!)

Our friends at Culture Matters have spawned. Leave them alone and you never know what they’ll get up to. In this case, a new blog on “neuroanthropology.” This is the kind of think I really like to see, for a couple of reasons. One is that it is precisely the kind of place where there is room to move anthropology and biology forward together. As Greg puts it, it allows us to “think much more seriously about how culture might shape development, allowing us to think seriously about a kind of deep enculturation of the brain, senses, endocrine system, and the like. Researchers in fields that specialize in these topics are increasingly aware of the degree to which developmental variables affect developmental outcomes, creating opportunities for anthropological research to influence a host of other fields.” There is room for a new kind of medical and bio-cultural anthropology for people willing to connect— though it does depend on finding the brain scientists willing to meet the cultural scientists halfway, which is no mean feat.

The other thing i like about it is that it is a specialized scholarly blog; that’s something i’d really like to see more of because it gives me hope for the future of the field to see people openly and enthusiastically sharing ideas, research, new finds and new theories, rather than squirreling them away in the hopes of being first, and honor that seems increasingly less important.



Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.