Around the Web Digest: Week of October 4

Happy alternative to Columbus Day, readers! (I like Indigenous People’s Day personally). Send me any blog posts at

This article in New Republic critiques Anna Tsing’s new book using the matsusake mushroom as an entry point to discussion capitalist systems, pointing out that she seems to overstate the degree to which global capitalism tends to homogenize, systematize, and regularize interactions: The Mushroom That Explains the World

PopAnth suggests that the recent conversations about food waste fail to take into account the ways in which food production and disposal systems are shaped to benefit certain groups of people at the expense of others:  What’s Wasted in Recent Buzz Around Food Waste? The Answer is People. From the title, I thought this was going in a more “Soylent Green” direction, but this is good too.

The title of this National Geographic article is fairly self-explanatory: New Human Ancestor Walked Like Us, Climbed Like an Ape. In its mosaic of features, Homo naledi seems to have had similar foot morphology to modern humans and hands more suited to climbing.

This interview on Global Health Hub explores the value placed on randomized control trials and other “objective” measures in public health interventions, and their limits: Metrics, Evidence, and RCTs in Global Health: An Interview with Vincanne Adams

How to Anthropology provides another instructional on applying for grants, with a helpful addendum from Leslie Aiello herself: A Template for the Wenner Gren, Question 1

Alma Gottlieb points out that, while pre-school programs in Tennessee are showing few results, more engaging programs in Boston are proving the potential utility of such programs: As Usual, the Devil’s in the Details; or, Why Ethnography Matters for Everything

In response to the tragedy in Oregon, features this post on responsible firearms usage, calling for more education through comparisons with abstinence-only education for drugs and sex: Comprehensive Firearms Education

I’ll admit to skimming this one, but if you’re a fan of Ghost in the Shell, you’ll probably be fascinated by this post on Harris-Jones Anthropology using Althusser’s mode of symptomatic reading to look for messages about the future of humanity: Symptomatic reading of Kenji Kamiyama’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

This book review on Somatosphere of Kalpana Ram’s “Fertile Disorder: Spirit Possession and its Provocation of the Modern” suggests that the author takes a more empathetic, embodied approach to spirit possession than most accounts, which approach it uncomfortably at arm’s length.

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).