anthrodendum /anTHrəˈdendəm/ or /anTHrōˈdendəm/ n 1. anthropological annotations of a community’s practices, expectations, experiences, and relationships. 2. an additional text, directing the reader to that which is alongside or parenthetical. 3. that which possesses the power to add or change conditions or contexts, as well as acknowledging the responsibility to do this ethically, and with consideration of shifts in historical and political context. 4. the constant building of anthropological knowledge over the decades resulting in sedimented layers of thinking and activism and writing of those scholars and community members who came before us.
A new name has been a long time coming. On December 3, 2016, we announced that we would be re-naming this blog. Our primary reason was that we had come to understand that the name “Savage Minds” was harmful or offensive. Two Indigenous scholars were key to this prompt: guest blogger Zoe S. Todd – now a member of our core blogging team – was the first one to publicly state on the blog that a new name was needed; and Savannah Martin, an invaluable provocateur and wordsmith, generously gave us our new name: Anthrodendum. In a discipline with a history of entanglement with empire, and with longstanding commitments to meaning and context, we unanimously decided “Savage Minds” was no longer an acceptable name for us or for our readers. The word “savage” has historically been used to dehumanize non-White peoples and no pun or irony can obscure that reality.
Getting the name right mattered to us, and took much longer than some of us anticipated. Our deliberations were long and somewhat slow, traversing all sorts of terrain for a rethought name—some names endorsed by some, but vetoed by others; other names fell flat on their face the first time out of the gate; some generated initial excitement, then did not work for a range of reasons. The lists we had were long, very long. We now have a name we each feel represents the blog, our goals, and a sense of anthropology, both its histories and its possibilities.
As the name change committee now hands things over the design committee, the next several months will involve transitions in the website, including archiving our old website, and culminating with a name change party at the AAAs this December. We invite you to join us in DC to celebrate the next stage of this blog (which was founded in 2005). What might the next twelve years bring? We have no idea, but are glad to be on the journey with you. Thanks, all, for your ideas, your commitment, your critical feedback, and your encouragement. And, thank you, Zoe and Savannah!
The Writers of Anthrodendum (formerly Savage Minds)
In alphabetical order: Ryan Anderson, Edward Chong, Caio Fernando Flores Coelho, Adam Fish, Kerim Friedman, Alex Golub, Maia Green, Chris Kelty, Carole McGranahan, Rebecca Nelson, Dick Powis, Uzma Rizvi, Matthew Thompson, Zoe Todd, and Zoë Wool.