Around the Web Digest: Week of August 30

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The BBC reports that Chimpanzees and Monkeys Have Entered the Stone Age (by using relatively sophisticated stone tools). More interesting to me is the claim that they recognize the value of cooked food and seem to understand the process of cooking in experiments.

Science Daily writes that archaeologists have linked Mayan environmental alterations to the beginning of the Anthropocene. Clues from Ancient Maya Reveal Lasting Impact on the Environment 

A blog called Stuff Mom Never Told You featured the profiles of 9 Women Who Changed Anthropology, including some I had never heard of myself. As with any list, we can immediately begin questioning who was included or excluded.

Living Anthropologically points to how Ruth Benedict particularly shaped the development of the concept of culture that we attribute to Boas… for better and for worse, given that her words sowed the seeds for the equation of the culture concept (as an abstraction or verb) with groups (becoming Cultures, as a plural noun): Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, and the Anthropological Concept of Culture

Treating culture as a static entity can lead us to place it in an adversarial relationship with health and development: Health, Culture, and Wellbeing: Beyond Seeing Culture as Obstacle 

Discard Studies responds to the refugee crisis that has recently gripped our attention with a short, information-rich review of the body of literature that treats refugees as human matter out of place: Refugees: Humans-As-Waste? 

Allegra Laboratory describes how nationalism and infrastructure development can become spectacularly intertwined: Can a Gas Pipeline Heal Bolivia’s Wounded Geo-Body? 

Pop Anth posted this review of a book about money as a cultural institution. One part of the summarized book resonated with me strongly after my fieldwork experiences: that damaged bills are believed to have lesser or no value. I once went to three banks trying to get them to accept a U.S. twenty-dollar bill with a slight tear in one corner: Dreaming of Money in Ho Chi Minh City. 

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).