Around the Web Digest: Week of October 25

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, Halloween. Send me any links to include here at

The Economist traces the growing popularity of the holiday from the Celtic Samhain through the growth of suburbia: The Meaning of Halloween

This post on the Geek Anthropologist explores the supernatural in American life and its connection with the experience of sleep paralysis: Why Halloween is for Anthropologists

It’s unfortunate that this IFL Science post uses such ethnocentric and exoticizing language in its title, because it’s an interesting survey of death-related practices in the past and present: Preserving the Dead: Weird and Grisly Practices from Around the World

This New Yorker article asks the question Are Cats Domesticated? Based on archaeological and genomic evidence, it concludes… yes and no.

This article on Medium skewers an anonymous critique of the use of an all-female cave archaeology team to retrieve the remains of Homo naledi as a publicity stunt: Anonymous Sexism in Paleoanthropology

The 2012 quota law in Brazil has been controversial because it draws attention to race as a form of social categorization in a country that denies its existence. It can also be cross-cut by social class and is a complicated way to deliver educational aid to those who need it. This post on Perspectives in Anthropology explores the debate: Affirmative Action in Brazil: Is It Necessary?

Anthropologizing features this interview with a recent graduate who uses his BA in anthropology to help people in under-served areas connect to government services: Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Will Tyner, Fellow at Code for America

Brace yourselves, it’s a linguistic post! A cross-cultural study of words to repair misunderstanding found that variations of “huh?” are present in 31 languages from different families and won an Ig Nobel prize this year: Is Huh a Universal Word? 

This map on Chris Blattman’s blog representing the countries that receive the most US foreign aid caught a lot of people’s attention: In Case You Thought Most Foreign Aid Went to Poor People Let Me Depress You with One Great Map

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).