Around the Web Digest: Week of February 16

Greetings all! My name is Dick Powis and I’m one of the new interns here at Savage Minds. You may know me from my own blog, Anthropology Attacks!, where I yammer on and few listen. As an intern, I will be taking over the Around the Web Digests from Matt Thompson. I intend to post new Digests weekly, starting today, and as you’ll see, I’m going to be doing it a little differently. If you come across any stories or articles that you think I should mention in next week’s Digest, please email me at I’m also looking forward to connecting with other anthropology bloggers who would like to have their works promoted, so please follow me @dtpowis on Twitter.

So I’d like to start off my first Around the Web Digest with my dilemma. Should I curate a collection of links in honor of Black History Month? On the one hand, I think that featuring a collection of articles related to Black History/Anthropology would be a great gesture on behalf of the kind of diversity that we want to see in anthropology. On the other hand, my opinion of Black History Month is not unlike that voiced by many of my colleagues in the humanities: it is a hollow attempt at equity, the designation of the shortest month of the year in honor of a history that we somehow distinguish from American History. At the very least, I want you, the readers to know that this dilemma existed. And so, this Digest will not be curated in honor of Black History Month, but I will, here and now, make a commitment to maintaining diversity in all of my Digest posts – of authors and of topics.

So here are the greatest things brought to you by the internet in the last seven days:

In the wake of silly pundits making silly assertions about a fictitious lack of public academia, Angela C. Jenks raises a great point on how she thinks of teaching undergraduates as a form of public anthropology.

Another form of public anthropology is the amazing job that John Tao did the other night by live-tweeting the wholly misguided event #OneWinterNight, which was meant to raise money for the homeless and promote awareness at the same time, but fell rather short on the latter.

A much better way would have been to ask the homeless to collaborate, the way that Hunger Free Colorado has asked food stamp recipients to take photos of their daily lives for a program called “Hunger Through My Lens.”

Using photos to tell stories automatically reminds me of Bourgois and Schonberg’s ethnographic work with homeless drug injectors, and this happens to be a launching pad for Stacey A. McKenna’s latest Somatosphere post. In an effort to further humanize the work that is done on addiction and drug use, the author urges us to consider the value of emotional decision making in addition to the rational.

The father of collaborative visual ethnography, of course, is none other than Jean Rouch, who passed away ten years ago this week. Paul Stoller has written an article on legacy of the legendary anthropologist and French filmmaker, which includes a two-week film festival in his honor. (Stoller also makes me reconsider my adversarial stance on HuffPo.)

Following the wonderful Google nod to another legendary anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston on her birthday (January 7), Gradient Lair unearths some of the work Hurston did for the WPA program, the Federal Writers Project, which includes this song “Dat Old Black Gal.” (Related little known work a great historical figure: Angela Davis gave a single lecture at UCLA as an Acting Assistant Professor!)

Speaking of legendary anthropologists, Matt Elam may just win that title for being the highest paid anthropologist in the history of ever.

If you’re having a hard time finding a non-academic job to which you can apply your anthropological education, Allegra has started a series of helpful guides to help you along. (There is no guarantee that you’ll be as successful as Matt Elam, but you can try.)

If you’ve decided to continue your academic training, and you need to fund your research, roll a d20 for a saving throw and take a cue from Nick Mizer who is crowdfunding his dissertation fieldwork on Dungeons and Dragons.

Once you’re done playing D&D and you’ve finished binging on House of Cards Season 2, I recommend reading this feminist dissection of Claire Underwood. Warning! Lots of spoilers! Also chock full of spoilers: This brilliant review of 12 Years a Slave. If you haven’t seen it, see it.

I often wonder if there is any truth to House of Cards, but Clarence Lusane from American University tells us that historically, it is worse.

Sarah Kendzior warns us about the clickbait “disaster porn” coming out of Ukraine.

This sex-positive Duke University freshman talks about her decision to pay for college by acting in actual porn. Because #strikedebt, really.

And finally, in a stunning turn of events, Facebook now offers you 56 different genders to choose from. One can choose ten a time, opt to be referred to as the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” and choose who on your friends list can see those genders. I give this a “Like.”

Dick Powis

Dick Powis is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His research interests include men and childbirth, prenatal screening technologies, and reproductive health in urban settings in Senegal. Read more at