An Introduction to Southeast Asia

By Dr. Barbara Watson Andaya Professor, Asian Studies Program University of Hawaii at Manoa Introduction Southeast Asia consists of eleven countries that reach from eastern India to China, and is generally divided into “mainland” and “island” zones. The mainland (Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) is actually an extension of the Asian continent. Muslims can[…]

Purging Daily Demons: What’s Behind the Popularity of Exorcisms?

An exorcism being performed in Fafe, Portugal. Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters The belief in demonic possession – often thought to be a relic of The Dark Ages and theSalem Witch Trials – remains surprisingly mainstream. By Dr. Joseph P. Laycock / 11.30.2015 Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Texas State University At Texas State University, I teach an honors course called “Demonology, Possession, and Exorcism.” It’s[…]

Why Does Culture Sometimes Evolve via Sudden Bursts of Innovation

A particularly fruitful moment for technological innovation? Viktor M Vasnetsov Not all technologies are created equal. Researchers devised a new model to explain why, after eons of nothing much new, we sometimes see an explosion of innovation in the archaeological record.    By Dr. Nicole Creanza and Dr. Oren Kolodny / 11.24.2015 Creanza: Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University Kolodny: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in[…]

Have Humans Always Gone to War?

Yuttasak Jannarong / shutterstock Archaeological remains, traditional tribes and conflict among chimpanzees can tell us much about the history of human warfare. By Sarah Peasey / 04.11.2016 PhD Candidate in Ecological Systems of Cooperation University College London The question of whether warfare is encoded in our genes, or appeared as a result of civilisation, has[…]

How Identity and Culture Intersect in Art

Iranian fine art photographer Mehrdad Naragahi’s photography is the visual embodiment of Gabriel García Márquez ‘s magical realism. “We can be anywhere in our dreams.” Photo untitled from “The Fairyland” series. Provided by Naraghi through his website and used with permission. 04.16.2018 How does an artist tackle the questions of identity and home when they’re[…]

Every God is Plural: Anthropology of Polytheism in Ancient Greece

The three Moirai. Relief, grave of Alexander von der Mark (de) by Johann Gottfried Schadow. / Old National Gallery, Berlin, via Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Marcel Detienne Basil L. Gildersleeve Professor of Classics Emeritus Johns Hopkins University The discovery that gods make good objects of research was not made by contemporary anthropology. The very first anthropologists never failed to recommend making an[…]

Anthropology of Ancient Greece

Porch of Maidens, Acroplis, Athens / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Marcel Detienne Basil L. Gildersleeve Professor of Classics Emeritus Johns Hopkins University Our history begins with the Greeks. – Ernest Lavisse Back in the mists of time, long before the emergence of articulate language, the human race discovered that it possessed the power to imagine[…]

The Caucusus as Cultural Transition between East and West

A map of the Russian Caucasus published in Tiflis in 1903 / history.az via Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Zaur Gasimov / 11.17.2011 Professor of History Orient-Institut Istanbul Abstract The multi-ethnic Caucasus, an area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, was subject to foreign imperial domination for the great majority of its history, during[…]

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[…]