The Power of Sharing Stories

Research shows that a people’s knowledge of their family history correlates to higher self-esteem, lower anxiety, stronger familial cohesion, and a better sense of control over one’s life. / Photo by Gideon Mendel, Getty Images A growing body of evidence points to the mental health benefits of oral storytelling. By Liz Brazile / 10.16.2018 As Joe Clemons was[…]

What Is Culture?

To an anthropologist, it means the patterns of human behaviour, and all that that entails. 01.01.2018 Introduction The word “culture” is used in different ways by different people. To some, it might mean a string quartet and the use of multiple utensils at dinner. To others, it might be used in a vague way when planning[…]

Julius Caesar as Ethnographer

Wikimedia Commons Convention and personal interest compelled Caesar to tum his hand to ethnography. By Dr. B.M. Bell Rhodes University Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul, Germany and Britain occasioned great excitement in Rome. For Catullus “the Gaulish Rhine, the formidable Britons, remotest of men” represented “the memorials of great Caesar” (Cat. 11.10-11). Cicero too considered Caesar’s[…]

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[…]