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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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.[…]

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[…]

Fashion, Faith and Culture Come Together Through the Global Art of Head Wrapping

Model Aliyyah Abdul-Raul wearing designs from Ohio-based designer Chimiwear poses in front of the camara at a past Beautifully Wrapped Headwrap Expo. During the event, fashion shows take place every hour and features different looks from designers. Credit: Courtesy of Felicia Tolbert By Public Radio International / 11.27.2017 There’s no shortage of glam at a[…]

Collective Intelligence is the Root of Human Progress

By Raya Bidshahri / 11.08.2017 The Underestimated Role of Collectivity Many of us intuitively think about intelligence as an individual trait. As a society, we have a tendency to praise individual game-changers for accomplishments that would not be possible without their teams, often tens of thousands of people that work behind the scenes to make[…]

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

Creative Commons By Dr. Katherine W. Phillips / 09.18.2017 Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics Management University of California, Berkeley The first thing to acknowledge about diversity is that it can be difficult. In the U.S., where the dialogue of inclusion is relatively advanced, even the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to anxiety and[…]

A New Festival in Madhya Pradesh Revives a Lost Indigenous Culture

The festival of Rani Kajal Mata / Screenshot from YouTube By Sangeeta Rane / 06.06.2017 Thousands of people have gathered in Verwada village in Barwani district to celebrate the newest festival in Madhya Pradesh – the festival of Rani Kajal Mata, an ancient, indigenous deity. The deity, a sacred rock, is the guardian goddess of the[…]

‘Anumeric’ People: What Happens when a Language has No Words for Numbers?

A Pirahã family. / Photo by Caleb Everett By Dr. Caleb Everett / 04.25.2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow Professor of Anthropology University of Miami Numbers do not exist in all cultures. There are numberless hunter-gatherers embedded deep in Amazonia, living along branches of the world’s largest river tree. Instead of using words for precise quantities, these[…]

What’s Lost When We Photograph Life Instead of Experiencing It?

With our attention diverted, we’re no longer in the moment. ‘Concert’ via www.shutterstock.com By Rebecca Macmillan PhD Candidate in English University of Texas at Austin At a conference on June 14, Facebook’s head of operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn, predicted that the social networking site would be “all video” within[…]

Spreading My Father’s Ashes on the Ganges Felt Like a Link Across the Globe, Generations

Fisherman are silhouetted against the rising sun in the waters of the Ganges river. / Jitendra Prakash, Reuters By Atul Gawande / 06.19.2016 EDITOR’S NOTE: In his new book, surgeon and writer Atul Gawande talks about the biggest checklist that relatives and an aging family have to make — what conditions should occur in which a family[…]

Universit(AR)y Journeys: An Ethnographic Play

Photo by Unsplash (courtesy of Pixabay.com) By Sonja Trifuljesko Doctoral Candidate, Social and Cultural Anthropology University of Helsinki Prologue When the fireworks in the Senate Square in Helsinki announced the beginning of 2015, they also marked the start of a special year for the adjoining University of Helsinki: its 375th anniversary. Though this jubilee per se might[…]

Ambivalent Happiness and Virtuous Suffering

Yap Day Festivities / Creative Commons By Dr. C. Jason Throop Associate Professor of Anthropology University of California, Los Angeles Abstract This article advances an analysis of those affective, mooded, and worldly happenings that define the limits, contingencies, and possibilities of happiness. More specifically, drawing from sustained ethnographic research, ambivalent orientations to experiences of happiness[…]

Using Life: Instructions for Play

By Ben Koerber / 05.16.2016 Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji is serving two years in prison: guilty of having written the playful, language-rich, genre-crossing novel Using Life, he will be given the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, today, in absentia, in New York City. When Naji was charged with “violating public morals” for an excerpt of his novel published[…]

Screw Finding Your Passion

By Mark Manson / 05.22.2016 Why You Should Stop Trying to Discover Your Purpose Remember back when you were a kid? You would just do things. You never thought to yourself, “What are the relative merits of learning baseball versus football?” You just ran around the playground and played baseball and football. You built sand[…]

Sri Lanka’s Musical Diversity, From Traditional Drumming to Urban Rap

By Amalini De Sayrah / 05.23.2016 All Photos from Amalini De Sayrah, Groundviews The skies overhead were overcast. Strong winds played with the hair of those walking along the ramparts. A light drizzle came and went as it pleased. Far away, there was music. It was coming from the recent Galle Music Festival, which brings together performers from the Northern[…]

Transmutating Beings: A Proposal for an Anthology of Thought

By Dr. Carlos Severi Director of Research, Professor of Anthropology Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Abstract Forms of thought, from what Lévi-Strauss called the “systematization [of] what is immediately presented to the senses,” to the causal theories studied by Evans-Pritchard in witchcraft, have generally been interpreted as an expression of a specific language[…]

Social Media Activism at the Margins: Managing Visibility, Voice and Vitality Affects

theodysseyonline.com By Dr. Anthony McCosker Professor of Media and Communications Swinburne University of Technology Social Media+Society 1(2), July-Dec. 2015 Abstract This article is concerned with social media activism at the margins and deals with the problem of managing visibility and voice and the role of affect in the emergence of contested publics over time. While[…]

Literary and Artistic Metropolises

  By Dr. Markian Prokopovych and Dr. Rosemary H. Sweet Prokopovych – Professor of Modern European History, University of Birmingham, UK Sweet – Professor of Urban History, University of Leicester Leibniz Institute of European History / 05.13.2015 Artistic and literary production are not inherently urban processes in themselves but they have always flourished in an[…]