A Sociological Understanding of Deviance, Social Control, and Crime

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.15.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Deviance 1.1 – Introduction Merton’s Social Strain Theory: This diagram depicts Robert K. Merton’s Social Strain Theory. Deviance, in a sociological context, describes actions or behaviors that violate informal social norms or formally-enacted rules. Among those who study social norms and their relation[…]

How Billy Graham Married Evangelism and Anthropology

In 1960, Billy Graham met with Maasai people while preaching throughout Africa. / James Burke, Getty Images “America’s Pastor” left behind a complex legacy built on Christian worldviews and a deep sense of racial injustice. But, he wished for more. By Dr. Brian Howell / 03.07.2018 Professor of Anthropology Wheaton College On March 2, millions[…]

Secrets of a 19th-Century Brothel Privy

the mid-19th century, brothels were just one among many businesses in Boston’s North End. / Bostonian Society via Wikimedia Commons By Anna Goldfield / 03.06.2018 PhD Candidate in Archaeology Boston University For Jade Luiz, a graduate student in archaeology at Boston University, historical archaeology is all about detective work. Through piecing together historical documents and[…]

An Introduction to Social Psychology

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.03.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Defining Social Psychology: History and Principles Introduction The field of social psychology is growing rapidly and is having an increasingly important influence on how we think about human behavior. Newspapers, websites, and other media frequently report the findings of social psychologists, and the results of[…]

How People Talk Now Holds Clues about Human Migration Centuries Ago

What can a modern-day Creole language tell us about its first speakers in the 1600s? M M,    By Dr. Nicole Creanza (left) and Dr. André Ché Sherriah (right) / 03.02.2018 Creanza: Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University Sherriah: Postdoctoral Associate in Linguistics, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus Often, you can tell where someone[…]

The ‘Oral’ Nature of African Unwritten Literature

The significance of performance in actualization, transmission, and composition. Audience and occasion. Implications for the study of oral literature. Oral art as literature. By Dr. Ruth Finnegan Emeritus Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology The Open University Introduction Africa possesses both written and unwritten traditions. The former are relatively well known—at any rate the recent[…]

Culture, Heritage, and Ethics

By Dr. Constantine Sandis[1] Professor of Philosophy University of Hertfordshire Introduction Heritage is that which has been or may be inherited, regardless of its value. Unfortunately, the term ‘heritage’ (the thirteenth-century English word is derived from the Latin haeres, meaning heir or heiress) is nowadays frequently used for purposes best described as touristic, to sell everything[…]

An Introduction to World Geography: People, Places, and Globalization

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.01.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction The discipline of geography bridges the social sciences with the physical sciences and can provide a framework for understanding our world. By studying geography, we can begin to understand the relationships and common factors that tie our human community together. The world[…]

Why This Paleolithic Burial Site is So Strange (And So Important)

Ivory beads and ochre—affixed to the pelvic bones of a child—likely decorated the burial clothing of this 10-year-old interred at Sunghir some 34,000 years ago. / E. Trinkaus/Trinkaus and Buzhilova/Antiquity An ancient interment site in Russia challenges us to rethink how Paleolithic humans in Europe treated their dead and organized their societies. By Lea Surugue /[…]

The Sociology of Socialization

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – The Role of Socialization 1.1 – Introduction Socialization prepares people for social life by teaching them a group’s shared norms, values, beliefs, and behaviors. 1.1.1 – Overview The role of socialization is to acquaint individuals with the norms of a given social group or society.[…]

Can the Hunt for Skeletons Help Heal a Nation’s Wounds?

David Williams/SAPIENS Anthropologists in Cyprus are quietly working to unite the intensely divided island country—by finding and identifying human remains. By Megan Gannon / 01.31.2018 The abandoned Nicosia airport in Cyprus is a strange place for an anthropology lab. But there I was—at the end of a humid spring day in 2017—looking at about 30[…]

Dancing Zebras in the Streets of La Paz

Young people in La Paz dressed as zebras protect pedestrians, dispense advice and keep people smiling on the streets of Bolivia’s third-largest city. (La Paz Secretaría Municipal de Educación y Cultura Ciudadana) By Johnny Magdaleno / 12.18.2017 Young people dressed up in zebra costumes careen through the halls of an office building here, cheering and[…]

Looking at Culture: Symbolism, Adaptation, and Ideology

Creative Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.15.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Culture and Society 1.1 – Culture and Biology 1.1.1 – Overview Culture relates to nature (our biology and genetics) and nurture (our environment and surroundings that also shape our identities). Human beings are biological creatures. We are composed of blood and[…]

Songs in the Key of Human

A new Harvard study suggests that people around the globe can identify lullabies, dancing songs, and healing songs — regardless of the songs’ cultural origin — after hearing just a 14-second clip. / Image by Adobe Some musical meaning may transcend cultural boundaries and be universally human. By Peter Reuell / 01.26.2018 Poet and Harvard[…]

Hurtling Back through Time – Harvard Wintersession Course and the Atlatl (Spear Thrower)

During Wintersession, students learn to make and use the technology that revolutionized human life. The atlatl, or spear-thrower, is a 10,000-year-old tool developed independently across the globe by cultures from the Arctic to New Zealand. The workshop takes place in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. Andrew Majewski (pictured), the workshop instructor, demonstrates how to[…]

Medieval and Early Modern Warfare and Cultural Transfer, 1450-1789

By Dr. Aaron Graham / 09.22.2015 Professor of History University College London Abstract Warfare was one of the few experiences between 1453 and 1789 that almost every European had in common. Although new causes and technologies emerged during this period there were also strong continuities, and although it caused death and destruction warfare could also[…]

Did Easter Island Culture Collapse? The Answer is Not Simple.

Ik T/Flickr/Creative Commons By Dr. Christopher Kavanagh / 05.11.2016 Post-Doctoral Researcher in Cognitive Anthropology University of Oxford Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is an island in the Pacific famous for the massive humanoid statues peppered along its coasts. These moaiare commonly called stone heads, but actually most possess bodies, and the largest constructed stands at[…]

The Diachronic Ethnography of Media: From Social Changing to Actual Social Changes

By Dr. John Postill / 06.21.2017 Senior Lecturer in Communication RMIT University, Melbourne Abstract In this article I address the challenge of how to study media and actual social changes ethnographically. To do so I draw from the relevant media ethnography literature, including my own research in Malaysia and Spain. I argue that ethnographers are[…]

Memory and Enshrining Writing: Rethinking the Ethnocentrism Embedded in Written vs. Oral Traditions

A protester faces soldiers near the Pentagon on October 21, 1967. Credit Marc Riboud/Magnum Photos By Elizabeth Eklund Instructor in Anthropology University of Arizona Author’s Note: The following essay is a call for further research, rather than a summary of all the available research on the topic. There is a need for both anthropologists and archaeologists[…]

Two Million Years of Human Stories

Every object in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology tells not just one but many stories. The Museum’s collections chronicle two million years of human history, revealing the diversity of human life over millennia and the ongoing dynamism of world cultures in the present. Many individual artefacts reflect histories and cultures that are contested. 10.12.2017[…]

An Anthropologist Explains Why We Love Holiday Rituals and Traditions

Working together on a once-a-year project feels festive and special. Flotsam/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas / 12.12.2017 Assistant Professor in Anthropology University of Connecticut The mere thought of holiday traditions brings smiles to most people’s faces and elicits feelings of sweet anticipation and nostalgia. We can almost smell those candles, taste those special meals, hear those[…]

Anthropology’s Top Findings of 2017

“Fossil scout” Pedro Boshoff inside the Rising Star cave system in South Africa, where Homo naledi fossils were found. / Wits University For the field that studies everything human, the past year has been one of great upheaval and radical revelations. 12.21.2017 This year’s anthropological findings brought us fascinating insights from across the globe, upending long-held assumptions[…]

Writing his Life through the Other: The Anthropology of Malinowski

Photograph of Bronislaw Malinowski, circa 1920, shortly after his return to England from his first major ethnographic stint in the Trobriand Islands / Public Domain Exploring the personal crisis plaguing the Polish-born anthropologist at the end of his first major stint of ethnographic immersion in the Trobriand Islands, a period of self-doubt glimpsed through entries in[…]

Death and Dying 101

Students from the author’s class on death and dying explore Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. / Photo by Anita Hannig A study of cross-cultural attitudes toward mortality can help young people accept death as a part of life. By Dr. Anita Hannig / 10.03.2017 Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brandeis University Back in February, on[…]