Category Archives: Site News

Information about updates, outages, design changes, and so forth.

Anthropologies on Savage Minds

After a couple years of running the anthropologies project and writing for Savage Minds, I have decided to combine my online energies.  Anthropologies is moving to Savage Minds!  The core idea of the project is going to stay the same, but the way it works is going to change a bit.  Instead of publishing collections of essays all at once in journal-esque format, the new anthropologies here on Savage Minds will entail a series of themed, invited posts over a 1-2 month period.  At the end of the series I will publish the collection in either E-pub or PDF format to make things nice and accessible.  I think it’s going to work out very well.

All upcoming issues will be announced in advance to encourage as much participation as possible.  If you have any comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at ethnografix at gmail dot com.  Suggestions and ideas are always welcome.

The first Savage Minds/anthropologies issue will focus on the pressing, depressing, and ever-worsening subject of student debt.  It’s an issue that affects far too many people, and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.  I wrote about student debt here on Savage Minds a while back–at the end of the post I mentioned the idea of marshaling anthropology to start finding some answers.  That’s what this issue is all about: bringing anthropology to bear on a subject that hits close to home for a lot of people trying to slog their way through grad school, recent graduation, adjunct-hood, and the horrible job market.  Several contributors are already lined up, and the first installment of the series will be online soon!  In anticipation of the student debt issue, check out this must read article on the Chronicle of Higher Ed by Audrey Williams June (published today), which mentions the PhD Debt Survey that Karen Kelsky started just a few days ago (it already has more than a thousand anonymous responses).  Also check out Rebecca Schuman’s related piece on Slate.  Those two articles will be a good prep for taking on–and hopefully pushing back against–the entrenched problem of student debt.

*Upcoming themes include: The politics of global warming and environmentalism; Aging; The uses and abuses of “culture”;  An anthropology of the stuff we eat.  And more!  This series is open to suggestions, participation, and ideas, so please feel free to post your comments here or email me (

Apply for an internship with us!

Savage Minds is currently seeking a volunteer to join our crew to help Rex with community outreach. This internship (if that’s not too fancy a name for it) will run from late January to early May, with a possibility of extension. Duties may include: comment moderation, interview transcription, handling correspondence with publishers, and posting on social media such as facebook and twitter.

SM plans to provide mentoring and training to our volunteers, which will may also include readings (on for instance, comment moderation, best practices for transcription, etc.) We expect this job to take 3-10 hours a week, depending on how interested you are and how busy we become. I’d really like to use it to go beyond comment moderation to expand what we are doing to include more interviews, podcasts, syllabi collections, and other things that we just don’t have the cycles for at the moment.

No one at Savage Minds is paid to work on the site, so you won’t be either. At the end of the internship, however, we will be willing to provide a letter of recommendation for job or grant applications. If you hit it off well with us, then there is also the possibility of joining us as a blogger.

We imagine these positions will appeal to a graduate student or aspiring undergraduate anthropology major. However, pretty much any one can apply if they want to.

Savage Minds is strongly committed to increasing the diversity of our Minds, and we are particularly interested in receiving applications from people who are not White Men.

We will soon post another call for volunteers for a position to work with Matt Thompson. You can apply for both positions if you like.

To Apply

Send a CV, contact details of three personal references, and a short (no more than a page) bio describing who you are and why you’d be good for the job to The application deadline is next Friday, January 17th.

Please wait a bit for your comments to post

Good morning everyone. As promised, I’ve changed the discussion settings on our blog. Everyone who wants to post comments will now have to register with the site (you can do this with preexisting credentials, such as twitter or WP). Pseudonyms are fine.  All comments will now be manually approved by me (or, in the future, an intern) before they appear on the site, and they must follow our existing comment policy (which you can find in the header of our site). I expect 90% of the comments submitted will be approved, but please be patient if it takes a little bit — especially if you post during the Hawai‘ian evening. If I feel your comments are in violation of our comment policy, I will do my best to send them back to you to explain how they don’t meet it. That way you can resubmit and have your comments appear. Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Welcome to my reign as comment czar

Happy 2014 everyone! We have a number of improvements and expansions planned for Savage Minds that we’ll roll out as the year goes forward. Today I’m announcing the first one: we will be revamping the comments policy on our site.

For years we’ve felt that the comments section of the blog were, well, toxic is pretty much the word that comes to mind. We never really had a solution to this problem because different Minds had different senses of how severe the problem was, and because solutions took cycles that most of us didn’t have. This semester, however, I am finally taking the plunge and am dedicating myself full-time to moderating all comments.

My goal is to create a vibrant, civil, inclusive space where genuine discussion about anthropology can occur, and where anyone — professor, grad student, or random passer-by — can participate. Creating this community has always been central to our vision of the blog, but had fallen by the wayside. We’re bringing it back.

In the next week I’ll be announcing a new comment policy. We’re still working out the kinks, but essentially, I will personally be moderating all SM posts. Every commentor will have to register with our site, and all comments will be moderated by me before they are posted. I am also planning to ask for a volunteer/intern to work with me on comment moderation, as well as other aspects of the site. There’ll be endless thanks (and a letter of recommendation) for the person who comes on board to help.

I’ll be posting more of this soon. If you want to provide comments about the new comment policy before it comes into effect, now’s your chance.

Faculty Professors

As many of you know, our blog title comes from Lévi-Strauss’s book Pensée Sauvage, translated in English as The Savage Mind, but which is a pun on the French word for “wild pansies” (viola tricolor). We are now working on a redesign of our website and I’ve been spending a lot of my time searching Google for good images of wild pansies that we could use for our banner.

The image on the blog sidebar right now is the one that was on the cover of Lévi-Strauss’s book. It is by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Unfortunately, it seems impossible to find high-resolution scans of this image in the public-domain. I have found some other botanical illustrations that I like, but was still looking when I discovered the work of Count Franz Pocci, who painted this delightful painting, which I just had to share with everyone:

viola tricolor

Continue reading

Global Stats: Who is Reading Savage Minds?

Anthropologists like to say that we cover the whole world, the entirety of human experience in all places and times. But that doesn’t always translate into global conversations about anthropology and its findings. Questions of access to published research often get in the way, as do language barriers. As we close 2013, we take an inside look at who is reading Savage Minds—this U.S.-based, English-language group anthropology blog.

Our #1 audience is in the U.S.A. While this is no surprise, the global list of readers does include some surprises, and offers a particularly situated view into who is reading anthropology around the world—from Argentina (#35 on our list) to Zambia (#113). Continue reading

House Cleaning

Since restoring the old site was taking so long, we took the plunge and paid the $100 to be able to use our old domain here, it also gets rid of the ads which were bothering us. (We’ve always been ad-free.) We still haven’t been able to restore our old posts, and we are still working on moving the site to our own self-hosted account, but all that will take much longer than we thought. Till then, we didn’t feel it was necessary to constantly advertise that this was a temporary site. If you have any problems using the site as a result of the changes, please let us know.

Oh the places you’ll go…

Way back in 2001, when blogging was a new thing, and I was crawling around the web to figure out if there were any other anthropologists using this new medium, one man stood out. Oneman actually, or as he is known around here: Dustin. Dustin hasn’t been blogging much lately, but I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate him on his latest career move. When people ask about graduate school in anthropology I usually tell them that while you might not get an academic job, anthropologists usually find interesting work outside of academia.

Well, I’m happy to announce that Dustin has just been appointed the Executive Director of The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, NV. It may seem a bit of a jump from editing a volume on Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War to running a museum of burlesque, but in between he’s been working at the UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum.

Dustin has written some of our most popular posts on issues of gender and body image. Since he still seems to pop up for about one post a year here on Savage Minds, maybe one day he’ll find the time to write about the anthropology of the burlesque…

Congrats Dustin!

Now we are seven

This week Savage Minds turns seven years old.

It’s been a great, tumultuous seven years. Although regular readers may not know it, behind the scenes we at Savage Minds have contemplated closing down the blog numerous times, mostly because it is so much trouble to keep posting things to it. But blogging is a habit that’s hard to quit, and so we stumble on.

In this past year the blog has become weirdly hegemonic in anthropology, despite the large number of better things out there being written by other authors. I was talking to someone recently who was afraid they detected a lack of quality in ‘SM’s usual high standards’ and were worried the blog was going down hill. This, to me, indicated that they has not read anything from our first three years! While we soldier on the anthropological noosphere keeps getting bigger and better, filled with more journals, blogs, occasional papers, and social networks. Its gratifying.

Most gratifying for me, however, has been working with the other Minds on this site. I probably lay eyes on Kerim or Celty once every two years, and so I’m always amazed that when we do sit down together we find that we really have become close friends. Even if SM can’t take credit for the development of anthropology’s online community, it definitely has created — no kidding — friendships that are set to last a lifetime. I’m quite happy in our little silo, and I hope regular readers have enjoyed the past year as much as I have.


Just writing to send two quick thanks out to the anthropological blogosphere. First, on behalf of myself and all the other Minds here at SM I wanted to say thanks to all our readers for voting us their favorite anthropology blog for 2011. I understand that 75 votes may not be a totally representative sample of Teh Internetz, but it’s nice to receive the honor. We hope in future years we are totally blown out of the water by some of the other great anthropology blogs that have sprung up on line — it’s great to see the anthropological community grow.

Second, I wanted to thank Jason over at Anthropology Report for running the survey and for the bang-up job he’s been doing keeping us up to date with the goings-on of the blogosphere. No matter how many aggregators and algorithms you have, there is no substitute for a human filter, and anthropology has long needed a blogger who has made our online community his ‘beat’. Various people — us, Neuroanthropology, and so forth — have done this to some extent or another, but it’s never gotten the attention its deserved, so I’m very excited to see someone take this on. What I take to be Jason’s two beats — covering the blogosphere and connecting popular audiences to academic anthropology — are really valuable. He’s on my short list of feeds to read, so maybe he belongs on yours as well?

Once again, thanks everyone and here’s looking forward to a richly anthropological 2012.

Two Amazing Things

It just occurred to me that two amazing things happened in Ryan’s post about Wasting Away In Grantlandia. First, I find it sort of amazing that someone could write a post asking for advice how to apply for grants and then have the readership, which includes people who have actually doled grants out, offer advice. Maybe this happens regularly on other blogs in other fields, but I don’t remember seeing it before — especially in anthropology. Grantsmanship is usually the sort of thing discussed at secretive graduate seminars and even then grad students are given advice about how to apply, rather than being told what it is like to actually judge the damn things. I don’t know — it just struck me that this sort of instant, true feedback on the topic of grants is pretty unusual.

The second amazing thing is the same as the first: a grad student wrote a blog post and then tenured professors left comments in the margins. Usually this goes in reverse order: professors write books, articles, lectures, and so forth, and then the graduate students get to leave some feedback, if they are lucky. On SM, the grad students have a chance to be front and center

There are lots of websites on the Internet that do a better job of building community than Savage Minds, I’m sure, and we still have a long way to go to really do what we want the site to do. I just mention these two things to point out something that suddenly struck me as unusual and valuable about the site.

Success Stories

I write a lot about graduate school and graduate student life — mostly because I’m responsible for training graduate students myself, which has forced me to figure out… well… what to tell graduate students to do. As a result, my thinking out loud on the blog has mostly been for my own sake, as I try to present my best approximation of the advice that I’d like to give people and the state of my thoughts at the present moment. I was really, psyched, therefore, to get an email from an SM reader who I’d corresponded with briefly who had actually followed some of that advice and successfully gotten into a graduate school they really wanted to go to. Lordy — it works! It’s always nice to know that your online ruminations actually amount to a hill of beans, or at least take the form of a metaphorical bean which, along with others, presents a hill on which future anthropologists can climb climb climb until they reach that Ph.D. program in the sky. Of course it’s also nice to know when you’ve done something to totally screw people up as well. So just a reminder — if you find SM useful, feel free to let us know either via email or in comments.

Welcome Ryan (and Future Guest Bloggers)

Just a quick note to announce that Ryan Anderson, who recently guest blogged on Savage Minds, will be joining us full-time.

Welcome Ryan!

We will also be making some other changes here with regard to how we handle guest bloggers, hopefully making it easier to have more guest bloggers. Ryan will be the last one who gets a special introduction. Instead, you will see short bios at the bottom of all posts on the blog. (If you are looking at an individual post rather than the front page of the site you should see this below.) We also hope to have more former guest bloggers stick around like Zoë, popping in to do an occasional post now and then when the mood strikes them. Expect to see these changes rolled out over the summer. Of course, even as we open up to new voices, we intend to keep the same high standards. Know someone you’d like to see blogging on Savage Minds? Feel free to contact us, or leave a suggestion in the comments.

We want you to like us

On Facebook that is.

Eventually we might get around to adding “like” box to the website, but for now you can just go here. Liking us will allow you to keep up with both new posts and twitter posts via your Facebook account.