Around the Web Digest: Week of July 19

Happy Sunday, pansies! Please write in with links to include here at… or just to say “¡Hola!”

An interesting debate is forming surrounding uncontacted groups. In an editorial in Science, Protecting Isolated Tribes, Robert Walker and Kim Hill argued that it is unfeasible and patronizing to maintain the current “hands-off” approach to uncontacted groups. Stephen Corry has responded in Truth Out – Uncontacted Tribes Don’t Need the “Protection” of Western Anthropologists – and Survival International – Defending Tribes’ Right to Remain Uncontacted, arguing that contact has been universally detrimental to groups and that their ways of life can be viable in today’s world.

Hakai Magazine on coastal science featured this post about the material remains of sea otter tool use, drawing from primatology and archaeology: The Quest for an Archaeology of Sea Otter Tool Use

Similarly, this short post on John Hawks’ blog questions the uniqueness of human behaviors, exploring how elephants deliberately bury their dead: Carl Safina on Animal Grief

This is an older post but I want to bring A Hot Cup of Joe to your attention, as I become more familiar with the landscape of archaeoblogging. The Underground City Hoax explores certain tendencies in pseudoarchaeology, like citing 19th century journalism as a more authoritative source than modern research.

Another blog you should know is Middle Savagery. Post-Photography and Archaeology points out that dynamic models and three-dimensional imagery too often become frozen into two-dimensional, static images in archaeological publications.

I love this post from The Educational Linguist, which critiques the deficit model of language by flipping the script and deploring the linguistic poverty of monolingual white children: What If We Talked About Monolingual White Children the Way We Talk About Low Income Children of Color?

This post on Tabsir critiques the politicization of anthropological descriptions of Afghani migration, which the author argues is primarily an economic phenomenon: Anthropology and the Representation of Migrations from Afghanistan

If I include another weekly digest in my blog roundup, will the Internet enter an endless recursion loop? Let’s risk it! This digest from Anthropologizing has some older material from a variety of sites that’s worth a look: Great Internet Stuff: The Not-So-Weekly Digest 7

The Geek Anthropologist points out that fieldwork can be emotionally exhausting and that researchers can struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I remember going through a bout of amoebas and feeling unable to face the eight-hour roundtrip bus ride to interview a participant, and how that made me feel like a terrible anthropologist. Check out Playing Along: Emotional Labor and Self-Care 

This post on Disability Field Notes also points to the personal nature of fieldwork and how it can interact with our own histories, experiences, and issues: Disability, Anthropology and a Sister’s Ambivalence. I relate to this quote: “It is too intimate, too close, and I struggle to break out of the scripts I’ve been working on for three decades now. Friends nod when I mention writers block, saying this is simply what happens with academics – the projects drag, they mess with our perspectives of the world – but for me it is much more than that. My research grows forth from my core, from the most hidden and intimate spaces of my being.”

The Anthropo.scene hosts the keynote for the 2015 Dimensions of Political Ecology conference. Kim Tallbear points out that cryopreservation is reinscribing the philosophy of salvage ethnography by seeking to conserve indigenous genomes (among other things). In her words, “cryopreservation and its disappearing indigeny narrative aids a broader genomic death song.” Disrupting Life/Not-Life: A Feminist Indigenous Take on New Materialism and Interspecies Thinking.

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).