Category Archives: Around the Web

Around the Web Digest- September 4

As Fall begins to creep around the corner in the Northern hemisphere, I present you with this week’s readings.

As big data continues to permeate every facet of your life, Cathy O’Neil reveals how structural inequality perpetuates through your personal information.

As the days get shorter and winter creeps on the horizon, I can only remember the Mai Tais from the summer. However, the history of the tiki bar and its commodification of Hawaiian religious symbols leaves a sour taste.

Need a movie suggestion? Might I suggest Ixcanul by Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamente. The film is shot in the Mayan language of Kaqchikel in a conscious effort to combat the racism against indigenous groups in Guatemala.

In a piece for the Medium series Muslim Women Speak, Ayqa Khan details the false dichotomy of being a Muslim woman and embracing sexuality.

As Gary Johnson continues to not inspire voters by stating “What is Aleppo?”. Feel free to use this to educate the people in your life about the Syrian conflict. 

As the struggle of activists in Standing Rock continue, the American Anthropological Association released this comprehensive statement of solidarity with Tribal Nations. 

See you next week!

Around the Web Digest- August 28

Hope readers in the U.S. are having a great Labor Day (aka your annual state-mandated day off from the crushing reality of capitalism)! Here are your readings for the week!

Is your groundbreaking ethnography not informing public discourse as much as you hoped? Peter Taylor-Gooby turned his research into a novel. Literary ethnographers keep doing your thing!

I am still weak from Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade, but did you catch any of the references to Yoruba and the representation of the Orisha, Oshun? 

As Boliva recently passed Law Nº 807, the “Gender Identity Law” that provides a wide-range of legal protections for transgender and transsexual people in the country. The law providing a contrast in international LGBTQ rights discourse that focuses on same-sex marriage and decriminalization of homosexuality.

August 31, 2016 marked the 64th Anniversary of the “Criminal Tribes Act” in India. However, these communities still face stigma from police and structural barriers to resources.

Perplexed by an enthusiastic “YAAASSSS” from the young people in your life? Dive into the queer history of “YAS” and its recent appropriation in popular culture.

Skid Row in Los Angeles exposes the loophole that intense poverty and over-policing have on each other, as witnessed by sociologist Forrest Stuart.

See you next week!

Around the Web Digest- August 21

Hi everyone! Hope your first days of class are going well! (If your first week of class is not going as well as you hope…may I suggest becoming a farmer?)

Here are some readings for the week!

Donald Trump loves to spread the gospel of American exceptionalism, however much of his goods are manufactured outside of the U.S. Jakarta Post publishes a photo essay about the irony of producing political souvenirs in Indonesia.

NPR interviews McGill University anthropologist Gretchen Bakke about her book The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Electricity Habit and how the U.S. is failing to embrace new energy infrastructure.

As a rare book collection from occupied East Jerusalem moves to West Jerusalem, archaeologists and activists worry about the political ramifications of moving Palestinian artifacts.

As the U.S. National Parks gears up for their first centennial, the racist history surrounding the National Parks has come into light. From the hunting grounds of wealthy white men and the displacement of indigenous groups in the name of conservation.

University of Chicago has caused much controversy surrounding their denouncement of “safe spaces”. Many have espoused the necessity of safe spaces for teaching students who experienced trauma. However, the question remains who is safe in these “safe spaces”?


Local Chicago activist Charles Alexander Preston

See you all next week!

Around the Web Digest- August 14

Hey everyone! Hope you are enjoying the last few days of summer before the academic grind starts for another year. Here are your readings for the week.

Akemi Johnson details the contested and racialized history of the term hapa in Hawaii. Identity, colonialism, immigration, and cultural appropriation all coalesce into what it means or does not mean to be hapa.

For those interested in gender and medical anthropology,  Buzzfeed reports on why some transgender activists in Japan are pushing to keep “gender identity disorder” among their psychiatric professionals.

Picking your own produce straight from the field may sound like a fun day for the family, but not the families of farmworkers who work in dangerous conditions and for low wages every other day of the year.

Multispecies ethnographers can enjoy the interplay of oysters, climate change, and sea farmers in Connecticut cough Anna Tsing? cough

What do you do when gentrification comes from within your own community? Citylab analyzes “gentefication” within Latino neighborhoods and the conflicts between keeping cultural heritage and displacing low-income residents.


See you next week!

Around the Web Digest- July 31

Hi everyone, hope the first week of August is not beating down on you too hard! Here are your readings for the week.

As the 2016 Summer Olympic games begin this week, Gregory Mitchell observes the effects of mass sports tourism on the lives of sex workers in Brazil.

Durkheim and the “collective effervescence” has picked up some steam to explain the popularity of Trump. However,  Religion Dispatches looks at the Scottish anthropologist James Frazer and The Golden Bough to explain Trump as a magician-king.

When kawaii becomes kawai. The immaculate construction and cuteness of bento lunch boxes are used as markers of social status among Japanese parents and a source of shame for more humble lunches.

The linguistic diversity of indigenous people in Mexico is gloriously animated in several short films that seek to preserve endangered languages.

The Nation profiles the lives of several Korean adoptees in America and the struggles that follow. Alyssa Jeong Perry cites University of California, Irvine anthropologist Eleana J. Kim and her book Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging (which I am currently reading and highly recommend).

See you next week!

Around the Web Digest- July 24

Hi everyone, I apologize for the delay but here is this week’s readings for you!

With Hamilton, the musical sensation soon traveling to different cities in the U.S., Current Affairs questions its revisionist portrayal of European colonists and downplaying the history of slavery.

Pokemon Go has millions of players exploring their neighborhoods and ending up in interesting situations in the past few weeks. However, not everyone with disabilities can go out and catch them all. How does the rise of augmented reality technology ignore the needs and embodied experiences of different groups?

Have you noticed your Chinese takeout getting more expensive? Joe Pinsker examines a “global hierarchy of taste” that relates the price and prestige of cuisine to a nation’s political and economic influence.

Anti-Black racism does not only take the form of police brutality. City Lab connects the militant policing of Black neighborhoods with environmental pollution that contribute to higher rates of conditions such as asthma and cancer in Black populations.

Two-Spirit indigenous populations in North America have a complicated history with anthropologists. In recent years, more non-indigenous people have claimed two-spirit as part of their identity. Black Girl Dangerous interrogates the violence of colonialism when non-indigenous people claim to be two-spirit. 

See you next week!

Around the Web Digest – Week of February 14

I hope your Día del Cariño was full of love of some form – the version of the holiday I experienced in Guatemala pertains to a much wider definition of familial and platonic love than the typical US Valentine’s Day, which makes it easier to get behind. If you want me to feature anything in the digest, send me the link at

This HuffPost piece on Valentine’s Day looks at how the celebration is increasingly popular among younger people in Indonesia, and how the globalization of consumer culture overlays a deeper globalization of notions of romantic love: Valentine’s Day: A Global Perspective

Anthropology News also responded to the holiday by looking at how breaking up with someone on Valentine’s Day remains more of an unshakeable taboo than breaking up over social media: Achy Breaky Heart 

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Around the Web Digest: Week of January 31

Human life stages are the theme for this roundup, with posts ranging from early childhood to senescence. Send me links to anything you want to see included here at

To frame the discussion, this post on the blog of the Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course discusses how age is an under-discussed facet of human experience and how childhood is rarely treated like the special category it is: Aged Culture

We begin with birth in this post on Anthropology News, Childhood in the Americas: Part One, which discusses how circulating rumors about Western biomedicine practitioners and their hastiness to proceed to C-sections make Yucatec Mayan women reluctant to use their services.

According to this post from the British Psychological Society’s research digest, when the “mirror test” of self-awareness is replaced by one more rooted in a toddler’s awareness of herself as a physical object, Zambian children outscore Scottish children: Cross-Cultural Studies of Toddler Self-Awareness Have Been Using an Unfair Test 

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Around the Web Digest: Week of January 24th

Happy Monday, dear readers! Don’t forget to send me any links to feature here at

Incredibly (or not so incredibly, given the power of his name as clickbait), there’s another post this week on the anthropology of Trump (“antrumpology”?), this time from a biological anthropology perspective: Evonomics Renowned Anthropologist Says Donald Trump and Alpha Male Chimpanzees Play the Same Political Game

This Leiden Anthropology Blog also uses Trump as an example, using a Daily Show clip to highlight how humor can demarcate social boundaries or comment on them: Humour: A Threat to Society?

Thematically related is this Anthropology Now post that I can’t clam to understand very well (poetry was never my forte): Laughter is Social Glue

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Around the Web Digest: Week of January 17

Greetings from the heart of a city ravaged by Snowzilla! Send me anything that should be included here at

This Decasia post argues that half-formed, abandoned and unpublished projects represent intellectual work and should be acknowledged more openly in professional circles as part of the process of creating knowledge: Failed Research Ought to Count

The Anxious Anthropologist reflects on the power of dress (in this case, a suit jacket) to claim membership in a community and assert authority, particularly in gendered contexts: The Jacket

Allegra looks back at its most popular posts from the last year: Top 10 (or Thereabout) of 2015

Teaching Culture looks forward to the topics and trends that will preoccupy us in the coming year: 2016: Trends in Teaching, Publishing, and Anthropology

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Around the Web: Year in Review 2015

It’s been a big year for Savage Minds, so big that the annual blog review didn’t fit in 2015! (Yes, that’s why it was delayed). This year we celebrated our 10th blogiversary with a panel at the AAAs, an executive director’s award, and a rare in-person gathering, which gave us the chance to reflect on our work and how this project has evolved over time.

In this yearly post, we look back on the year in blogging, both for us at Savage Minds and in the anthroblogosphere in general. First, the Minds will share their favorite posts from the year, and then I’ll highlight a few of the posts on other blogs and news sources that struck me as the most important, memorable, or otherwise worth revisiting if you missed them.

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Around the Web Digest: Week of December 13

Dear readers, this post is late and I apologize for nothing. Send me any links for inclusion here at

I hope you’ve been enjoying the glow of lights and the stir of familiar songs that seem to be everywhere these days… with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens! The AAA blog featured this post using the movie to explore why movies about humans’ relationships with technology are so popular: Our Movies, Ourselves: Reel Life Vis-á-vis “Real Life”

This time of year seems to bring out a reflective streak in blogs. For example, Struggle Forever listed some of the fiction and non-fiction books worth reading from this year: My Favorite Books of 2015

Allegra also produced a list of books based on a reader survey of the most important and influential books for the discipline and beyond. Unsurprisingly, there’s a bias towards the mid-twentieth century classics, but some newer books were also recognized: The 30 Essential Books in Anthropology

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Around the Web Digest: Week of December 6

The blog harvest was rich again this week at the Savage Minds ranch. Help me find more blogs by sending me links at

HuffPost featured this article in which an anthropologist argues that isolating babies in cribs and sleeping 8 continuous hours a night are Western constructions: My Conversation with Co-Sleeping Expert James McKenna

In this National Geographic post, Jason De León discusses some of the findings in his book, The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. He argues that migrant deaths at the border have been deliberately caused and normalized in national media: An Anthropologist Unravels the Mysteries of Mexican Migration

In this episode of the Craft podcast, anthropologist Jeffrey Cohen describes some moments of adaptation in his fieldwork in Mexico: Eating Soup (and Grasshoppers) Without a Spoon with Jeffrey Cohen. The interviewer actually asks how to avoid “changing their civilization.”

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Around the Web Digest: Week of November 29

Good grief, the anthroblogosphere was active this week! I usually don’t have to omit too many entries I find interesting but this week you might need to do some searching on your own to catch everything. Send me what you find at

This delightful post on uses Christopher Boehm’s cross-cultural survey of “Late Pleistocene Appropriate” foraging societies to argue that the figure of the self-serving individualist promulgated by Objectivist author Ayn Rand runs counter to human (pre)history. The author illustrates this argument with examples from Colin Turnbull’s classic, The Forest People.  Ayn Rand vs. Anthropology. “Who is John Galt? He refused to participate in society and no one has seen him since.”

Institut Pasteur reports on a study that compared populations in different Central African environments to examine the effects of moving to different environments on human epigenetics. Forest-dwelling and sedentary Bantu groups, who have lived in different environments for a relatively short time, exhibited epigenetic changes affecting immunity. By comparison, the genetic differences in immunity between Bantu groups and Pygmy groups, who have inhabited different environments for much longer, have become hereditary: Our Epigenome is Influenced by Our Habitat and Lifestyle

This HuffPost article makes the point that referring to terrorists as “animals” is a misnomer, because there are almost no parallels for violent behavior on that scale among other species: The Evolution and Ethology of Terrorism: We Are Unique, Violence is a Dead End, But There Is Hope

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Around the Web Digest: Week of November 22

Happy Sunday, readers. Don’t forget to send me links to content I should mention here, at

It’s a linguistic link! HuffPost Women characterizes a controversial Jeopardy contestant’s verbal tic as “upspeak” and sketches out the gendered dimensions of how women are penalized for their forms of speech: This ‘Jeopardy’ Contestant’s Voice Has The Internet Freaking Out (I’m hedging because it doesn’t strike me as classic upspeak).

It’s a physical anthropology link! This Nautilus post describes how the low-fiber Western diet seems to be limiting the diversity of microbiomes women pass on to their children at birth: How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution. The microbes that flourish in the guts of people on a Western diet, specializing in breaking down fats, sugars and protein, are also those that attack the mucus lining of human guts, which can cause chronic inflammation.

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