Incidental Anthropology: Infant Waste, Tourists, The Evolution of Imaginary Animals and More….

In this long overdue installment of Incidental Anthropology I bring you a few examples of anthropology interest incidentally found in the media. First, the vexing question of how to handle to infant waste and some ingenious responses: here Second, how have tourists in American National Parks changed over the last 30 years? Not much: here … Continue reading Incidental Anthropology: Infant Waste, Tourists, The Evolution of Imaginary Animals and More….

Local Archaeology vs. the National-Geographic-NSF-sexy funding grab

Mark Dawson’s April 2012 post “Why I Chose not to Get a PhD” post has been one of the more popular postings at Ethnography.com.   There is also a good comment stream at the end of the post with a number of “attaboys,” and “that’ll tell’em Mark!”  Such posts seem to appeal to the existential angst … Continue reading Local Archaeology vs. the National-Geographic-NSF-sexy funding grab

First Random Impressions of a Caribbean Country: Antigua

Another new country, and region of the world.  This time it is the country of Antigua, in the Caribbean where I am on vacation for 10 days.  Going new places assaults the senses, as you the old categories brought from elsewhere prove inadequate to frame what you hear and see.  That is why it is … Continue reading First Random Impressions of a Caribbean Country: Antigua

The History of the World is But the Biography of Great Genes

- Thomas Carlyle, genetic Historian Raymond Williams begins his introduction to Keywords by telling of his return to Cambridge following the end of World War II. He recounts meeting a friend he had known through various radical groups in the 1930’s. As they discussed their efforts to establish some continuity between the Cambridge they had … Continue reading The History of the World is But the Biography of Great Genes

Max Weber for Geneticists: Why the UC Davis Genetics Folks thinks they are better than UC Berkeley’s Genetics Folks (and Harvard’s)

  I’m pretty happy about my post about Max Weber, and Luigi Cavalli-Sforza.  Getting geneticists to at least acknowledge the existence of the patron saint of Sociology is big thing!   From an academic standpoint, Weber is one of my favorite topics, even though no one else seems to agree with me.  I’ve been writing … Continue reading Max Weber for Geneticists: Why the UC Davis Genetics Folks thinks they are better than UC Berkeley’s Genetics Folks (and Harvard’s)

Can Cultural Anthropology Scrogg Population Genetics?

James Mullooly invented the word Scrogg, meaning something along the line of “anthropologist who catch geneticists playing fast and loose with the data.”  In my experience, Scrogging is fairly easy to do on open-source turf of the Biological Sciences journals where there are often places for comments.  These comments are typically reviewed by editors, and … Continue reading Can Cultural Anthropology Scrogg Population Genetics?

Max Weber, Cavalli-Sforza, Ethnicity, and Population Genetics

Ok, below is a complicate and attenuated definition of ethnicity by the classical sociologist Max Weber.  Variations of this definition are found in many anthropology and sociological textbooks, though he is by far not the only source of wisdom.  But be aware that as with most classical literature, it is often difficult to read.  But … Continue reading Max Weber, Cavalli-Sforza, Ethnicity, and Population Genetics

Attack of the Armchair Scientist

The reason I post about cultural anthropology now and then isn’t that I want to argue or discuss with cultural anthropologists. Rather, I want to aid in spreading the message the discipline should be extirpated from the academy, just as Creationists have been extirpated from biology – Razib Khan There is a long history of … Continue reading Attack of the Armchair Scientist

Human Genetics and Social Theories

It has been a lively week on this blog. “DAD” and Razib Khan have challenged our (Michael Scroggins and myself) basic competency to discuss genetics and race/intelligence/etc.   We have responded with similar incredulity to their ability to critique anthropology.   In other words, we in the social sciences think they are naïve, and they think … Continue reading Human Genetics and Social Theories

Gene Promoters 3: Tony Strikes Back

Ok, I think I will jump into Michael’s stream.  I have a problem with the reductionism of geneticists, evolutionary psychologists, socio-biology, etc., too.  And I’m also annoyed when such types go beyond their data, and start making generalizations that would be better addressed with the nuanced data ethnographer-types generate.   Notably such data often cannot … Continue reading Gene Promoters 3: Tony Strikes Back

Gene Promoters 2: The Wrath of Khan

In the Star Trek episode “Space Seed”, Khan was a genetically engineered human who, in the wake of the eugenic wars, was exiled to a distant planet. This Khan is a sensitive observer of the human condition, who at one point, asks Kirk if he has ever read Milton. Kirk, in turn, laments, “Yes, I … Continue reading Gene Promoters 2: The Wrath of Khan

Gene Promoters: On Chagnon and Diamond

Like clockwork (or a comet, perhaps), the noisiest problem in anthropology makes its return every few years. And this year we are blessed with the two noisiest comets in anthropology returning together. Both Diamond and Chagnon have new books and, more importantly, new book campaigns with money for appearances and exposure to media outlets. Even … Continue reading Gene Promoters: On Chagnon and Diamond