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.

This post from the AAA director on HuffPost Education on the discontinuation of anthropology A-levels in the UK points to something I’ve considered important for some time: introducing young people to anthropology systematically before the college level. Anthropology In Schools: Is There a Future? I'm not saying it was aliens but it was aliens

Appropriately enough, I’m geeking out over this post from The Geek Anthropologist about what our obsession with aliens past, present, and future says about us: Aliens Among Us: Extraterrestrial Anthropology

As a knitter myself I was intrigued by Material World’s post on customizable knitwear. Of course, the possibilities for customization are only limitless when you do it yourself: Knyttan and the question of design autonomy 

Somatosphere regularly features excellent book reviews. Here’s one I found interesting: William Connolly’s The Fragility of Things:Self-organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism, reviewed by Allegra Giovine

I’m facing jury duty in June so this article at Ethnography struck a chord. I only wish it had gone further in critiquing how jury selection is biased: The Injustice of Justice: Jury Duty in America 

Archaeology has made it into the Telegraph. How good is the coverage? Please comment… The Poisonous Garden Plants Once Used as Prehistoric Weaponry

Teaching Culture draws from one of my favorite webcomics to convey insights on the subjective experience of depression: Teaching Comics in a Medical Anthropology and Humanities Class 

The American Museum of Natural History profiles anthropologist Laurel Kendall: A Fascination with Female Shamans

This two-part series at Nautilus looks at the long-term preservation of artifacts for insights into constructing effective nuclear waste repositories. Here’s part I: Looking Into the Far Future of Earth’s First Long-Term Nuclear-Waste Vault and part II: Can Remnants of Ancient Life Show Us How to Live Wisely Into the Future? 

See you next week!

Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca Nelson is the executive director of América Solidaria U.S. She recently graduated with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on volunteer tourism in Guatemala and how it is opening up new avenues for tourists and hosts to develop more cosmopolitan understandings of the world (as well as opening up new forms of friction over the circulation of knowledge).