This Anthro Life is an experimental narrative podcast that takes a unique cross cultural and time spanning perspective on what makes us human, from the designed world, future hopes, and myths of how things came to be. Join anthropologist Adam Gamwell and friends as they venture into the countless possibilities encountered in everyday global life. From Missing Link Studios in Boston, MA.
Storyslamming Anthropology Series, Story 2. Written and Performed by Taylor Genovese
In recent years, the terms Public and Anthropology have been paired with more frequency. Yet, what this seemingly suspect partnership is, how it could function, and what goals it could have are still in relative formation. Today, public anthropology might mean several different things ranging from jargony lectures that are “open to the public”, digital media (like blogs, videos, or podcasts) that are generally accessible online, or presentations given to an informant public on work produced by a researcher. Large voids remain. We ask, then, why not turn to already publicly oriented writing for inspiration? What if “Guns, Germs and Steel” (Diamond 1999), “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, (Harai 2015) or “Freakonomics” (Levitt and Dubner 2009) were written by anthropologists?
What if we told you that once upon a time, they were? When Margaret Mead wrote “Coming of Age in Samoa” in 1928, anthropologists and non-anthropologists alike flocked to her work because of its accessibility - and felt topical relevance. Could such an achievement be attainable today?
While some scholars might reject an approach based on “popular” writing, we argue that the enormous success of the above books (as well as the podcasts, YouTube videos and Netflix series based on them) demonstrates a general interest in theories of humankind, what it means to be human in the contemporary world, and throughout history. We ask why have anthropologists not followed suit? Despite the massive amount of scholarship published each year by anthropologists, none seem to crack that elusive space between rigorous research and “pop-science.” While there are trade offs between academic complexity and writing for a lay audience, the theme of the 2017 American Anthropological Association conference, "Anthropology Matters!" speaks to our need to talk across (and storytell) different worlds. Our goal with this experimental panel was to invoke the public spirit of Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Melville Herskovits and others to speak to 21st century concerns from a comparative perspective in clear language. We picked papers that revealed juxtapositions, seemingly counter- or non- intuitive links between subjects, objects, ideas, emotions, practices, or traditions that we felt can intrigue, educate, and delight participants. The goal of this series of to expand our genres of sharing ethnographic and anthropological insight. We hope you enjoy!
Story 1: #MeToo: Stories in the Age of Survivorship by Emma Backe
Welcome to This Anthro Life x EPIC 2019. This is the first episode in our 2019 collaboration with the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community or EPIC. EPIC is a professional organization that brings together ethnographers and social science practitioners across fields like user experience research and design, marketing, computer science, academia, and more. This year’s conference theme is agency, which is fascinating given the rapid rise of artificial intelligence, voice recognition software and platforms like Alexa or Hey Google, and controversies over privacy and sale of people’s personal data.
Today host Adam Gamwell and guest host Matt Artz virtually sit down with the EPIC conference chairs Julia Haines and Lisa Di Carlo.
Julia conducts research at the intersection of technology, innovation, and human practices. She is a Senior User Experience Researcher at Google where she leads UX research for a team of over 400 designers and engineers, bringing an inclusive, human-centered perspective to the project. She is a co-founder of the Responsible AI License (RAIL) initiative and an inaugural member of the ACM’s Future of Computing Academy.
Lisa is an anthropologist and lecturer in the Sociology Department at Brown University. She teaches courses on design anthropology, applied qualitative research methods and research ethics. The common threads throughout her research are migration and displacement, .from labor migration, to religious conversion as migration and displacement, to social innovation through the migration of ideas. When not preparing a massive conference, she conducts ethnographic research primarily in the Mediterranean area, most frequently in Turkey and Turkish diaspora communities.
We have a wide ranging conversation that covers questions such as
what agency looks like in industry and classrooms,
what responsibilities corporations have to the agency of users,
how we can make computing more equitable,
the pace of research in academia and industry,
how students and other professionals looking to move into industry ethnography and research can get a leg up.
As always, we want to hear from you! Drop us a voice message on Anchor or a message on Twitter @thisanthrolife or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you get some value out of listening to the show, please consider supporting us at Patreon.com/thisanthrolife or on Anchor.fm with a dollar or a few bucks a month, whatever you can afford. Your support makes this show possible. Thank you!
Adam sits down (in a cafe, so this is live, people) with Jay Hasbrouck, Founder and Principal of Filament Insight and Innovation and author of Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset, a how-to guide for anyone looking to better understand and apply many of the methods ethnographers learn to their own businesses and practices. We talk through some of the techniques Jay covers in his book as well as talk candidly about the world of consulting and client relationships.
Adam and Andrea continue the conversation with Julie Lesnik, author of Edible Insects and Human Evolution, but this time they’re going prehistoric. Oh, and they’re talking about gorillas and chimpanzees too. Learn how to fish for termites, why we wish we had more baskets, and why any of those things matter to understanding human evolution. Edible Insects, part 3
Check out discussion questions here: https://www.thisanthrolife.com/insects/
More about Julie:
Think you could eat a cricket? What about a spider? In this episode of TAL Adam Gamwell and guest host Andrea Eller are chatting with Julie Lesnik about her new book, Edible Insects and Human Evolution. Listen in as they discuss why Americans tend to be so grossed out by bugs, and if it’s always been that way. Edible Insects, part 2
We know many of you are educators, and some are already using TAL in the classroom. Great! To help support the educational impact of TAL, we are including some discussion questions from each episode. Please feel free to use these (in whole or part) for classroom discussion prompts, essay questions, or larger research inspirations. We think we cover a lot of quality anthropological knowledge on TAL, and we hope you think so too!
TAL and their contributors are dedicated to the value of audio scholarship. Let us know how you end up using these questions in the comments below. We’d like to know how you want us to make more educational materials in the future. Check out the discussion questions here: http://www.thisanthrolife.com/insects
Edible Insects part 1. Will crickets ever catch on as an alternative source of protein in the United States? How about cockroach “milk”? Why do people in so many parts of the world NOT eat insects? Where does that disgust for or against eating certain things come from? Adam is joined once again by guest host and biological anthropologist Andrea Eller to dig into edible insects, what just might be a new marketing idea for McDonald's, and how insects reveal underlying cultural trends of disgust, environmental resource use, gender and economic trends. Episode 118
Part 2 of The Social Life of Robots, with Emma Backe. In this episode hosts Adam Gamwell, Ryan Collins and Emma Backe tackle sex and gender norms underlying digital voice assistants like Siri, Cortana and Alexa, the history and gendering of science and technology studies (STS) and what this means in an era of AI and robots, and third, theories of rights such as the right to work, the right to sex and how robots clarify and confound these issues.
Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move, an audio collaboration between the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association, and This Anthro Life Podcast.
In this fifth and final episode, Adam Gamwell, Leslie Walker, and Ryan Collins focus on cultural survival, a complex subject framed by migration, misconceptions over language and identity, as well as by resilience of the human spirit across borders. With a subject like cultural survival, the question comes to mind, what factors threaten shared heritage, tradition, and disband communities? Here we are joined by Alejandro Santiago González (Ixil), and Mercedes M. Say Chaclan (K’iche) representatives of Washington, DC-based Mayan League, an organization working to sustain Maya culture, communities, and lands. Alejandro and Mercedes share their experiences and give insight into the ongoing struggles Maya peoples face today, including issues of language, translation, and communication for indigenous immigrants who are currently in the United States. Helping to elucidate this subject, we are joined by Ph.D. Folklorist Emily Socolov, a frequent collaborator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Division of Folklife and Cultural Heritage and an Executive Director of the Non-Profit Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders, serving the Mexican immigrant community in New York.
In the pop culture imagination, perceptions of robots and AI occupy a space of mystery and intrigue that gravitates between harbingers of impending societal collapse and bringers of mythical salvation. However, where does contemporary science and technology stand? Moreover, how do the social experiences of the past and in the present color our understandings of emerging technological realities? On this episode, hosts Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins are joined by Emma Backe to discuss these questions and more. In Part I of Making Robots Human our conversation embraces the humor of pop culture AI while making room to address that our fears and hopes of robotic futures are revealing of our complex social concerns today.
Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move, an audio collaboration from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association, and This Anthro Life Podcast. In this episode, Adam Gamwell, Leslie Walker, and Ryan Collins dive into the topic of curation. What does it mean to put on a festival or put on a museum exhibit? How can we understand culture on display and introduce outsiders to other social realms? Sharing their narratives and experiences with different forms of curation are Diana Baird N’Diaye, Cultural Specialist and Curator at the Smithsonian Center for Culture and Folklife, Arman Atoyan, CEO and Founder of the (AR) and virtual reality (VR) app and game development company Arloopa, and Pablo Girona, a researcher from Tucuman, Argentina who studies cultural heritage in Catalonia and Quebec. To learn more about Diana Baird N’Diaye’s work visit: https://folklife.si.edu/authors/diana-n-diaye. And, to learn more about Arman Atoyan and Arloopa, visit: http://arloopa.com/
On this episode of This Anthro Life, hosts Adam Gamwell and Matt Artz are joined by assistant professor and musicologist Nate Sloan and music journalist and songwriter Charlie Harding, the hosts of Switched on Pop, a podcast about the making and meaning of popular music. On Switched on Pop, Charlie and Nate break down pop songs to figure out what makes a hit and what is its place in culture. They also help listeners find "a-ha" moments in the music, make you laugh, dance, and dig deeper into the world of pop music. Here Nate and Charlie speak with TAL on the study of popular music, the appropriation of musical elements, what defines “pop” and how that is changing. This episode focuses on Nate and Charlie’s choice to use podcasting as the narrative venue to house their storytelling and dives into the value of deep listening. Tune in to hear more. To learn more about Switched on Pop check out: www.switchedonopop.com and
Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move , an audio collaboration from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association and This Anthro Life Podcast
In the US, fashion has been relegated to large impersonal retail spaces and increasingly online stores. Fashion in the US, as many know all too well, is transactional. The sense of community one has through clothing is often expressed through style though it is exceedingly rare for truly deep relationships to develop between the designer and the purchaser, even if an article of clothing is commissioned. But, community and fashion can be much more integrated.
With this episode, we invite you into the conversations we had with participants in the Crafts of African Fashion program at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2018. We speak with Soumana Saley a Nigerian leather worker and designer, Cynthia Sands and her mentee Tomara Watkins, also known as Tam, two fashion designers who work between the United States and the African continent, and the program’s curator Diana Baird N’Diaye. This episode was broken into three underlying themes of African fashion, and craft production focused on: the local marketplace, transnational and international fashion trends, and the relationships between consumers and producers within a community.
The Crafts of African Fashion is an initiative promoting the continuity of heritage arts in Africa, exploring the vital role of cultural enterprises in sustaining communities and connecting generations on the continent and throughout the diaspora. The activities for this portion of the Festival took place in the Folklife Festival Marketplace.
About our Speakers:
Diana N’Diaye is a Cultural Specialist and Curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She holds a PhD in anthropology and visual studies from The Union Institute.
Soumana Saley is a leather craft artisan from the West African country of Niger. He currently lives in Millersburg, Pennsylvania running his own business. You can learn more about Soumana and see his products on his online store accessible at https://www.facebook.com/pg/soumanasaleyonline/ and you can learn more about Soumana’s school at https://www.ngodima.org/.
Cynthia Sands is an African American textile artist and businesswoman in Washington, DC. Sands’ art career includes experimenting and blending contemporary and original African artistic methods, materials, and dying techniques. She also works closely with African artisans to sustain the use of indigenous art and craft making tradition for social development, income generation, skills-transfer, and art education. You can learn more about Cynthia and her work at the website: www.entuma.com.
Tomara (Tam) Watkins, is a mentee of Cynthia Sands and is the founder of Loza Tam, a hair accessory line created in collaboration Ghanaian women artisans and entrepreneurs. Visit Tam’s online store at www.Lozatam.com.
Adam Gamwell is the co-host and executive producer of the This Anthro Life (TAL). He is the founder and director of Missing Link Studios www.missinglink.studio a new media collective dedicated to producing creative media for social impact. Adam holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brandeis University.
Ryan Collins is the co-host and editor of This Anthro Life (TAL). Ryan holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brandeis University.
Leslie Walker is the project manager of the Public Education Initiative at the AAA. He served as a special guest host, collecting stories during the Folklife Festival the forthcoming podcast series with This Anthro Life.
Contact Adam and Ryan at thisanthrolife -at - gmail.com or individually at adam -at- thisanthrolife.com or ryan -at- thisanthrolife.com
Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @thisanthrolife.
All of our content can be found on thisanthrolife.com. Be sure to leave us a review, let us know if you like the show. We love to hear from you.
“I hope that more people will listen to more music outside of their own little comfort zone. I think that we enrich ourselves, we are better human beings when you open up your heart to other cultures, other music, to other worlds to other points of view. Because ultimately, as I said in the very beginning, we’re all the same. We’re all humans, and we all can connect in different ways with the things that we like. But, when we see it through the eyes of a different person. Then we better ourselves. We enrich ourselves.”
Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move , an audio collaboration from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association and This Anthro Life Podcast.
The above quote comes from Betto Arcos, music journalist and host of NPR’s The Cosmic Bario. Music, whether you create it or are an avid listener, pulls you in a deep sensory allure. The connection humans make with music is so deep that it can impact us physically and serve as a key point of return for our memories. As our guests from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival can attest, as much as it conjures deep feelings and memories, we learn something through the experience of music. Joining the distinct artists together in their views on music is a central theme, that music can help us overcome social difference. For Betto, this recognition is central to his desire to create music. Betto Arcos, in his own words:
“I think that’s ultimately why I do it [create music]. I feel like there is a responsibility. There is a sense of a higher reason, why I do this. But deep down it’s also because I love music. Because I’m passionate about it and I feel like we can only do better as a human race, as people, if we know about each other a little more.”
About our Speakers
Betto Arcos is a music journalist based in Los Angeles, host of The Cosmic Barrio, a reporter for NPR, and regular reporter for PRI. You can learn more about Betto at: http://bettoarcos.com/
Or follow him on Twitter @ArcosBetto
Amy Horowitz is an activist, promoter, feminist scholar, Roadwork team putting women artists and musicians on the road, the first multiracial, multicultural coalition. You can learn more about Amy Horowitz at: https://amyhorowitz.org/
And read about RoadWork https://www.roadworkcenter.org/
Arpan Thakur Chakraborty, Rabi Das Baul, Girish Khyapa and Mamoni Chitrakar are the Baul performers, mystic minstrels from the Indian state of Bengal. The Bauls are known for devotional songs that honor the divine within. Additionally, Mamoni Chitrakar is a traditional Indian patachitra singer and painter from West Bengal. You can learn more about their causes at: www.banglanatak.com
The purpose of this series is to create narratives linking the diverse peoples, perspectives, and activities across the Festival from a series of micro ethnographies like those above. The open format interview style allowed participants to define in their own words the relationships between their artisanship, musical ability, or experiences and how migration and movement shape their lives. Conversations with curators and other researchers supplemented the interviews with Festival participants and helped us to identify the research involved in selecting participants and the presentation of cultural heritage for the Festival. This approach allows us to foreground a central or thematic conversation and narrate events and activities at the Festival that listeners can paint in their minds as if they had been there to experience it.
About Our Hosts
Adam Gamwell is the co-host and executive producer of the This Anthro Life (TAL). Adam holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brandeis University. He founded and produces narrative media out of Missing Link Studios.
Ryan Collins is the co-host and editor of This Anthro Life (TAL). Ryan holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brandeis University.
Leslie Walker is the project manager of the Public Education Initiative at the AAA
Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move, an audio collaboration series from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association and This Anthro Life Podcast.
Join hosts Adam Gamwell, Leslie Walker and Ryan Collins as they explore what it means to craft, form, and make culture in a world defined by movement, migration, and changing borders. Step into behind the scenes conversations and candid interviews from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Hear from artists, fashion designers, dancers, weavers, and craftsmen who give life to heritage and shape the many worlds of traditional culture in a planet on the move.
"Art is a Movement" How does art help contribute to political protest? Should art never be sold for money? How can dance unify a community? How are traditions like calligraphy and traditional dances passed on between generations?
In this episode, we overview the subject of art as informed by representatives from The Armenian program and the Catalonia program of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The above ideas on art put forth by Ruben Malayan encompasses the complex feelings, ideas, and understandings that art not only evokes within society but also those of who seek to understand art from a more holistic perspective.
Art is complex. Though what counts as art within a society is often recognizable to insiders, the rationale as to why is often much more difficult to discern. Anthropology, at its best, can help us explore the complexities of art. Through critical dialogue, anthropologists can ask what it means to experience art from the vantage point of different cultures and explore the messages that the artist intended to convey.
The purpose of this series is to create narratives linking the diverse peoples, perspectives, and activities across the Festival from a series of micro ethnographies like those above. The open format interview style allowed participants to define in their own words the relationships between their artisanship, musical ability, or experiences and the ways in which migration and movement shape their lives. Conversations with curators and other researchers supplemented the interviews with Festival participants and helped us to identify the research involved in selecting participants and the presentation of cultural heritage for the Festival. This approach allows us to foreground a central or thematic conversation and to narrate events and activities at the Festival that listeners can paint in their minds as if they had been there to experience it.
Read more and see photos here: https://www.thisanthrolife.com/art-is-a-movement/
This Anthro Life is opening the conversation with EPIC (the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community) on the theme of Evidence. Taking center stage at this year's Annual EPIC Conference. “Evidence” is a subject of increasing social importance in today’s political climate. What constitutes evidence and when it is found to be credible all have far-reaching consequences. Because of this, practicing anthropologists are exploring concerns of and around evidence through experimentation, new methodologies, and research innovations that speak to contemporary ethnographic practice.
Joining TAL to open the conversation on evidence is Dawn Nafus and Tye Rattenbury, two of the EPIC 2018 Conference organizers. Our discussion with Dawn and Tye focused on the relationship of evidence in their work as ethnographic and data research scientists. Dawn and Tye work at the intersection of computational and ethnographic approaches.
Dig in Deeper Here: https://www.thisanthrolife.com/epic-evidence/
Andrea Eller is a biological anthropologist driven by a question of how do our bodies continue to react to things today? In other words, how does evolution continue to impact us and why is this important? To address this, Andrea Eller looks at how bodies respond and adapt to circumstances of chronic stresses. The stresses that Eller looks at, however, are both physiological and social. Not only does Andrea postulate explanations to account for change over time in relation to more visible circumstances like ecology, tool use, and disease. But, Andrea also considers less visible issues like, class, race, and gender as critical factors that also impact our physiology over time.
Evolution Responds, it does not React
One of the compelling predicaments that Eller discusses with Adam has to do with current data on primates. For example, data from captive primates are excluded from wider studies. In part, the problem is that there is a growing population of captive primates. With more an more primates being born into captivity, there is a concern that adaptation is occurring in many primates. As Eller notes, the pressures to adapt in one environmental setting or another (called selective pressures) will be different. That means looking at the same species of primates requires context. Whether coming from different settings, the wild, scientific laboratories, or zoos, data on primate adaptations will differ.
Similarly, humans use clothing as a tool for adapting to different environments. Down or wool coats would seem out of place at Miami beach just as scuba gear would not be an appropriate choice for reaching base camp at Mount Everest even though each of these clothing options reflects different human adaptations.
Mindfulness Training – Outreach and Engagement
One of the most captivating aspects of Eller’s conversation was her genuine passion for public outreach. For Eller, it is an ongoing struggle to help get the public to see evolution in a different light. Too often she sees a perspective of humans being the masters of the planet, rather than one group of participants within it. However, combating this perspective (among others) requires outreach and engagement. For Eller, this begins with engaging kids. “Kids haven’t had all of the primate educated out of them,” she says. They are more open to experience awe and be captivated out of curiosity when seeing examples not only of our evolutionary past but the present as well.
Read more: https://www.thisanthrolife.com/andrea-eller/
When TAL first interviewed Hamilton Morris, it was shortly after he and his production team had finished season 1 of Hamilton’s Pharmacopoeia. Now, Morris has completed two seasons of his critically acclaimed show on VICE. This time on TAL, Morris has a more reflective tone.
With Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins, Morris shares his experiences as a filmmaker in traditional and counter-culture environments. These experiences have given Morris a unique window into psychedelics, underground pharmaceutical research, and the ethics of sharing information. The last point hits home for many anthropologists and social researchers, who also must be wary of the unintended consequences of sharing information. Depending on what is at stake, information can endanger informants and friends. Similarly, journalists and ethnographers are confronted
Dr. Tricia Wang sees her work consulting as sitting at the crossroads of data and social justice. As a global tech ethnographer, Dr. Wang is obsessed with how technology and humans shape each other. In her own words, she wants to know, “How do the tools we use enable us to do more of what humans do, like socializing, emoting, and collaborating? And how do human perspectives shape the technology we build and how we use it?”
Said differently, Dr. Tricia Wang’s expertise inhabits a gray space between industry and the academy. A space where many social scientists do not find easy comfort. Yet, Dr. Wang’s very candid enthusiasm is enough to draw in even the most ardent skeptics. In her own words, Dr. Wang has “always been between worlds” seeing the best in both. Though academics tend to value known discovery methods, and excel, they are less likely to engineer new prototypes.
Welcome back listeners! Adam and Ryan have taken some time away as of late to finish and defend their dissertations. Now that Ryan is done, and Adam defends in just one week (so close!), TAL is getting back into gear with new content in the development and production stages. Now, another key detail, several episodes recorded earlier this spring are also on their way. Some of these are guest interviews (including a second interview with Hamilton Morris of HBO’s VICE and Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia) as well as the remainder of our Story Slamming Ethnography episodes (we haven’t forgotten about those). All that is to say, there is an extensive repertoire of content coming your way, including an upcoming collaboration with EPIC. Speaking of…
With this episode of This Anthro Life, we are joined by Dr. Alexandra Mack and collaborative guest host Matt Artz. Together we interview Alex and explore her story. What makes our discussion with Alex so distinct is her breadth of research and applic
Thanks to the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) for having Adam Gamwell and Matt Artz of This Anthro Life present at the annual meeting in Philadelphia. We presented as part of the New Methods, Interventions And Approaches session.
Our paper title was Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution Finding. You can read it here.
The session was recorded for the SfAA Podcasting project.
The simple idea behind the notion of consulting podcasting is that we are using the podcast format to intentionally bring together professionals to co-create meaningful conversations that provides expert advice through the anthropological paradigm of the emic and etic. Consulting podcasting applies the flexible, digital recording techniques of podcasting with a process of in-the-moment of real-time discovery. To that end we askew rigid preconfigured narratives or storyboards in favor of an open-format conversation that mimic the methods of semi-structured interviews. We allow room for the conversation to breathe.
With openness we let guest stories speak and allow them to unfold along their own path, on their own terms, without imposing our own worldviews or narratives. In the process, we learn of a speaker’s insider perspective, their motivations, and methods. We then compliment the insider perspective with our outsider perspectives – as voices that encourage deeper reflection and context building around issues of key importance to the guest, to co-create a larger meta-narrative that makes up the consultative engagement.
Check out Adam's and Matt's Creative Consulting and Production work at Missing Link Studios
On this episode of This Anthro Life, hosts Ryan Collins and Adam Gamwell are joined by TAL correspondent and guest host Astrid Countee and by a very special guest, Valorie Aquino. They joined us to talk about the 2017 March for Science. Valorie is one of the key organizing 30’s something scientists who helped make the 2017 march a reality. As she conveys in this episode, doing so was no easy task. This required countless late nights, missed social occasions, hours of frustration, and unfortunately, the all to occasional naysayers. Yet, Valorie’s story is one complete perseverance, rooted in a deep passion for science that began at an early age (
Welcome listeners to the second installment of our Diversity and Inclusion crossover series, bringing together This Anthro Life with Brandeis University. For those of you who are new to the show, This Anthro Life (TAL) was launched as a scholar-practitioner program designed to bring anthropological and social science research and thinking to interdisciplinary and public audiences. The original idea behind the podcast is to use our skill sets and toolkits as anthropologists to translate and socialize data, cultural patterns, and research into accessible open format dialogues and conversations that provided solutions for social impact and actionable insight.
On this episode, TAL hosts Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins are joined by Dr. Janine de Novais of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) to expand on the ideas behind “Brave Community” (discussed in episode 1 of the Diversity + Inclusion in Higher Ed series) and to understand the major hurdles she finds with diversity and inclusion in higher education today. With her dissertation Dr. de Novais explored the ways in which classroom experiences in higher education do and do not contribute to deep learning that influences students understandings of race. Dr. de Novais’ scholarship also focuses on a practice-based question: what kind of learning about race do college students need given our racially diverse and deeply unequal society? Her answer: Brave Community–a pedagogy that relies on academic grounding, the distinctive culture of a classroom, to support students. As we learned in our interview, much of Dr. de Novais’ interests today are influenced from life experiences.
Read more here on thisanthrolife.com
Welcome to Story Slamming Anthropology. This series features both innovative narrative and audio performance drawing on the deep toolkit and methods of anthropology. The goal with Story Slamming Anthropology is to invoke the public facing spirit of Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Melville Herskovits and many others to speak to 21st century concerns from a comparative perspective in clear language. The narratives here are based on juxtapositions, seemingly counter- or non- intuitive linking’s of subjects, objects, ideas, emotions, practices, or traditions that will intrigue, educate, and delight. In doing so, the goal of these stories is to bring anthropological storytelling to wider audiences and to demonstrate that anthropology matters today more than ever.
This narrative, #MeToo: Stories in the Age of Survivorship, is written and performed by Emma Louise Backe.
The reckoning of #MeToo has ushered in a renewed politics of storytelling, one whose capillary reach and discur
Design and anthropology have been seen together with increasing frequency over the last few years, but how do design and anthropology fit together in relation to industry? And, how does this pairing create insight? Adam and Matt (a guest host at This Anthro Life) are joined by Dr. Natalie Hanson to explore these questions and more.
Dr. Hanson has been working at the intersection of business strategy, technology, social sciences, and design for nearly 20 years. This gives her a relatively unique perspective on the worlds of anthropology and design. Hanson is also the founder of Anthrodesign, which started as a list serve and now has its own Slack channel (you could join too by following the instructions here).
Read more on thisanthrolife.com
Welcome listeners to the first installment of our Diversity and Inclusion crossover series, bringing together This Anthro Life with Brandeis University. For those of you who are new to the show, This Anthro Life (TAL) was launched as a scholar-practitioner program designed to bring anthropological and social science research and thinking to interdisciplinary and public audiences. The original idea behind the podcast was to use our skill sets and toolkits as anthropologists to translate and socialize data, cultural patterns, and research into accessible open format dialogues and conversations that provided solutions for social impact and actionable insight.
In this Conversations episode, This Anthro Life hosts Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins are joined by author Andrew Rowen to discuss his new novel, Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold. Coming in the months trailing the 525th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s (or Cristobal Colon’s) voyage to the America’s, Rowen’s novel seeks to add some much needed depth to the modern myths on the subject. Encounters Unforeseen doesn’t start at the (in)famous voyage, or even in Europe. Instead, The drama alternates among three Taíno chieftains—Caonabó, Guacanagarí, and Guarionex—and Bakoko, a Taíno youth seized by Columbus, Spain’s Queen Isabella I of Castile, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Columbus.
Some text from the Press Release: After 525 years, the traditional literature recounting the history of Columbus’s epic voyage and first encounters with Native Americans remains Eurocentric, focused principally—whether pro- or anti-Columbus—on Columbus and the European perspective. A historical novel, Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold now dramatizes these events from a bicultural perspective, fictionalizing the beliefs, thoughts, and actions of the Native Americans who met Columbus side by side with those of Columbus and other Europeans, all based on a close reading of Columbus’s Journal, other primary sources, and anthropological studies.
Read more on thisanthrolife.com
In this Conversations episode of This Anthro Life, Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins explore the subject of sensory ethnography – a focus in anthropology that tends to deemphasize the written word to explore visual, acoustic, and other sensory perceptions. Today, researchers explore senses increasing in the media through virtual simulations, visual and auditory stimuli that cause different reactions (fostering disorientation or meditative states), and of course art. But, how we perceive the world around us can also be influenced by culture and our surroundings, from music, to dance, to collective effervescence. After all, viral examples in recent years (like the infamous dress), demonstrate that human perception varies visually from perso
Will Emojis be the death of writing? Are emojis modern day hieroglyphs? Is the increased use of emojis in textual conversations a sign of the end of language as we know it? Join us for one of our most popular conversations revisited! Your trusty hosts Ryan and Adam discuss the origin of emojis as well as the importance of actively seeking to understand the hidden biases of language.
What is an Emoji?
The term emoji originates from the japanese kanjis of “picture word”. Shigetaka Kurita created the emoji in order to develop a way to send pictorial texts using less data. Japanese phone users were sending pictures to convey messages, but their phones were unable to handle the large amounts of data involved in sending pictures, so Kurita created the emoji keyboard that allowed for standard pictorial characters to be sent for the same amount of data as a letter.
Read more on thisanthrolife.com
In this Conversations episode of This Anthro Life, Adam Gamwell and guest host/TAL correspondent Matt Artz explore the world of Design Anthropology with the help of Dr. Elizabeth “Dori” Tunstall. Design Anthropology is a subject near and dear to our hosts, who have been excited to devote an entire episode to the subject. But, what is Design Anthropology? If you’re scratching your head, no worries. Adam, Matt, and Dr. Tunstall have it covered and describe the five iterations of design anthropology using examples of their use in the field. Over the course of the episode Adam, Matt, and Dr. Tunstall briefly cover issues of ethics within design anthropology as well as a touching upon how to find jobs in design.
Adam, Matt, and Dr. Tunstall also make time to get into the topics of whether:
the IRS is really as bad as popular culture makes them out to be.
How can we avoid cultural misappropriation?
And finally, how do value systems get expressed in design?
“The goal of design anthropology is to create conditions of compassion among human beings and conditions of harmony as it relates to the natural world and all of the things that are within it” – Dr. Tunstall
Read more on thisanthrolife.com
Hey Listeners! Adam and Ryan are back from their brief summer hiatus (a time filled with fieldwork, dissertation writing, and travels abound) with new content, a fresh Patreon campaign, lined up interviews, an upcoming limited series on diversity in the university setting and much more! Support our new campaign on Patreon! Go ahead a click that nice image to visit our new page, to read about what we want to do, and how you can give securely. Just a dollar a month makes a huge difference for us!
Kicking off the new season, Adam and Ryan dive into a new FreeThink episode, in the style and length of our Conversations. In this episode, they continue to make the case for why the world needs anthropology and social science thinking more than ever. They also speak in favor of interventionist anthropology in recognition of the
In response to several surveys that attempt to quantify happiness, Ryan, Adam, and Aneil spend this episode of This Anthro Life exploring happiness through the lens of fetishism. They discuss Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, the film Happy, and more! They seek to answer the following questions: What kinds of things make us happy? How does happiness inhere in objects and how do we use objects to display our happiness? They end on a positive note by concluding that we have control over our happiness and suggesting a happy community may be a key part of being happy.
In the episode we use the term fetish, made famous by Sigmund Freud, to mean something that points to something else. It masks what is there (I.e. a statue of a deity that seems to be what people are worshipping, but it is just a material thing that is pointing to the deity). It can be any material type of the thing that points towards an abstract idea.
3 Ways Our Imagination Fails to Guide Us to Happiness
Our imagination tends to add and remove details people might not recognize that key details are fabricated or missing from their imagined scenarios.
Imagined futures and pasts are more like the present than they actually will be. The future is not some far off thing. You are living the future.
Imagination fails to realize that things will feel different once they actually happen. We adjust to things.
Read more on thisanthrolife.com
This episode is a little different from our normal content. In it we feature a presentation Adam gave for Pivotal Labs in which he explores This Anthro Life’s (and his own) developing philosophy about conversations and podcasting as social technologies and what the worlds of anthropology and podcasting can do. Some topics Adam touches on include: what anthropology does in the world, conversation as “little social laboratories”, mapping the contemporary podcast ‘cosmos’, podcasters as cultural brokers, and the kinds of stories we well as Charismatic Data.
During this pseudo-episode (think of it like a Conversation meets a FreeThink) Adam asks the questions: What makes conversation a social technology? And how can data be charismatic?
As Adam mentions, the audio recording during the talk got messed up, so today we’
This Anthro Life has teamed up with Savage Minds to bring you a special 5-part podcast and blog crossover series. While thinking together as two anthropological productions that exist for multiple kinds of audiences and publics, we became inspired to have a series of conversations about why anthropology matters today. In this series we’re sitting down with some of the folks behind Savage Minds, SAPIENS, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology to bring you conversations on anthropological thinking and its relevance through an innovative blend of audio and text.
In our fourth episode of the TAL + SM collaboration Ryan and Adam chat with Dr. Kristina Killgrove about her str
This Anthro Life has teamed up with Savage Minds to bring you a special 5-part podcast and blog crossover series. While thinking together as two anthropological productions that exist for multiple kinds of audiences and publics, we became inspired to have a series of conversations about why anthropology matters today. We’re sitting down with some of the folks behind Savage Minds, SAPIENS, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology to bring you conversations on anthropological thinking and its relevance through an innovative blend of audio and text.
In our third episode of the TAL + SM crossover series (
In the second conversation of the TAL + SM crossover series, Ryan and Adam were joined by AAA Executive Director Ed Liebow and Program Manager for Educational Outreach Leslie Walker. They explored the work of the AAA, the changing natures of work and research today, and critically assessed anthropology in terms of scope and impact.
This Anthro Life has teamed up with
This Anthro Life has teamed up with Savage Minds to bring you a special 5-part podcast and blog crossover series. While thinking together as two anthropological productions that exist for multiple kinds of audiences and publics, we became inspired to have a series of conversations about why anthropology matters today. For this series we’re sitting down with some of the folks behind Savage Minds, SAPIENS, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology to bring you conversations on anthropological thinking and its relevance through an innovative blend of audio and text. That means each week for the month of June we’ll bring you two dialogues ̵
We like to bring you some of our favorite conversations from our catalogue as we think about new ways to explore the topic. This week we’re bringing you our Visual Anthropology conversation split into two, digestible parts, so here’s part 2. Plus we (still) miss Aneil and wanted to hear his voice again. We hope you enjoy the conversation revisited with us! Join us for an ‘enlightening’ trip as we ‘shed some light’ on the world of sight, seeing, and visual anthropology. In this episode we explore the deep impact of visual culture across the globe and time from ancient Greece to the invention of photography to metaphors of knowledge, to genotypes and phenotypes, arrangement of food, and more!
If you like TAL, please drop us a 5-star review on iTunes or Stitcher or however you enjoy the podcast. If you are able, dropping us a couple of bucks makes a huge difference in making the show sustainable! [wpedon id=”2386″]
We like to bring you some of our favorite conversations from our catalogue as we think about new ways to explore the topic. This week we’re bringing you our Visual Anthropology conversation split into two, digestible parts. Plus we miss Aneil and wanted to hear his voice again. We hope you enjoy the conversation revisited with us! Join us for an ‘enlightening’ trip as we ‘shed some light’ on the world of sight, seeing, and visual anthropology. In this episode we explore the deep impact of visual culture across the globe and time from ancient Greece to the invention of photography to metaphors of knowledge, to genotypes and phenotypes, arrangement of food, and more!
Check out some links discussed in the episode:
How do academics write for a variety of audiences? Is routine a necessary part of creating? How many times will Ryan mention Stephen King? In this episode of This Anthro Life, Adam and Ryan talk with Anita Hannig of Brandeis University about the writing process behind her new book, Beyond Surgery: Injury, Healing, and Religion at an Ethiopian Hospital. While they are looking at writing as a craft from the perspective of anthropologists, Ryan, Adam, and Anita draw on a variety of perspectives outside of the discipline to suggest some tips for writing routine, reaching a broad audience, and writing ethnography.
About Anita Hannig
Anita Hannig is an assistant professor at Brandeis University, where she teaches classes on medicine, religion, ge
FreeThink 6 – Who Are the 13,000?
In this week’s Free Think, Adam and Ryan introduce a new member of our team, Matt Artz, who will be leading a new project to study and research you! We hit 13,000 subscribers in the past week which is a huge milestone for us. In order to keep This Anthro Life growing we would like to better integrate the desires of our listeners with how we market, produce, and choose our content. We want to get to know you! To do this we will be updating the What’s Your Story page with a space to submit your emails if you would like to be interviewed by one of the team. We will post more information in the coming weeks. We cannot wait to hear your thoughts on the podcast and ways we can make it better! NOTE: Since recording this episode less than a week ago, we are now over 14,100 subscri
On this episode, Adam and Ryan dive into the complexities of our ever evolving human family. How we understand our ancient ancestors, cousins, and ape family has the potential to impact our understanding of what it means to be human and how we are still changing. The new and exciting data we dive into this episode is all about Homo Naledi, perhaps the most recent addition to our family. As of the day we recorded this episode, April 25th, the first concrete date range for the species was publicized (but stay tuned for further developments). Rather than being very early (that is more ancient) and dating to the time of the earliest Homo Erectus specimens as originally hypothesized (some 2 million years ago), it now appears that Naledi was potentially a contemporary of the earliest Homo Sapiens (that’s us) ranging from 200 to 300 thousand years ago. This means we need to re-evaluate our genus once again and think about the complexities of dating our ancestors.
Species – a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding; Homo, Australopicus
Genus – one step below species on the taxonomic system: A. afarensis (Lucy), H. sapiens (us), H. neandertal, H. naledi
Read more on thisanthrolife.com
Chef Maguiña with Adam Gamwell. Property of Adam Gamwell.
This episode of This Anthropological Life presents a little differently from our normal episodes. The Society for Applied Anthropology generously allowed us to release the audio from Adam’s presentation at the SFAA 2017 Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so this episode is based entirely on this presentation. Adam discusses a quinoa gastronomy project he is working on in conjunction with Dr. Alipio Canahua Murillo and Chef José Maguiña. They are designing an agricultural-gastronomy project in the region of Puno, Peru in order to create new dishes based o
Freethink #5: Finding Balance in the midst of Burnout
In this week’s free think Ryan and Adam talk burning out and finding balance. They reflect on their travels to conferences for the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Society for American Archaeology and why conferences are inspirational and invigorating. Also the AMAZING fact that TAL now has over 11,000 subscribers!! Thank you so much to everyone for helping us build the tribe, let’s keep taking this to the top! Social Consciousness FTW.
Links to Learn More:
Sapiens and Fuente’s essay on Nature’s Most Creative Copulators
This episode focuses on a conversation between Adam and Amy about a TEDtalk titled The Power of Vulnerability presented by Brené Brown. In this video, Brown breaks down the “wholehearted individual” one who has courage, social connection, compassion, and an appreciation for his/her vulnerabilities. They were unashamed to be vulnerable. They are comfortable with saying I love you first, putting an opinion piece out regardless of potential backlash, being authentic without fear. As Brown stresses, the wholehearted have ”the willingness to do something with no guarantees”. It’s allowing for things to fall outside of your control. To accept the controllable and the chaotic aspects of lif
As you may have noticed, TAL has been on a bit of a break from releasing new episodes. But, the good news is that we have not been idle. The other night when Ryan and Adam were out and about they got to talking about TAL and their perspectives on public anthropology. What does the future hold? What inspires change? Realizing they were on to something good, they pulled out a phone and hit record. This episode is what came out. We hope you’ll enjoy! This episode was recorded live and near a kitchen so please forgive the extra noise :). In this FreeThink Ryan and Adam get a little personal, shedding light on their own stories, views on art, religion, creative writing, literature, and what it is that drives the team to do anthropology.
“Human Being is an art, and we gotta dig into that” – Adam
Psychedelia is the culture and experiences of psychedelic substances. Where did all the research on psychedelic drugs go? Could psychedelics be used in psychotherapy? How are hallucinogenic drugs used cross-culturally? In this episode of This Anthro Life Adam and Ryan explore the world of psychedelic drugs with Hamilton Morris of Vice’s Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia. We discuss his fieldwork in the Amazon where he hunted for a locally important frog, the potential diagnostic, medicinal, and therapeutic uses of psychedelics, as well as the obstacles in the way of studying human consciousness. Special thanks to Alice Kelikian and the
with Aneil and Ryan
Special Guest: Serra Hakyemez
Is waiting political? Can you cut in line at Starbucks during your hectic morning commute? In this episode of TAL we team up with Serra Hakyemez, a Junior Research Fellow from the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University to discuss her paper entitled, “Waiting, Acting Political, Hope, Doubt, and Endurance in the Anti-Terrorism Courts of Northern Kurdistan”, which focuses on the ways political detainees’ families are actively shaping and constructing community identities while waiting in the courthouse (Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar). We also discuss the pedagogical effect the p
Today’s D+A minisode follows last week’s powerful conversation with Jara Connell on protests and people-powered forms of resistance. In this minisode Jara offers us a nugget of wisdom to be cautious about thinking all protests are the same or that we can even evaluate them with the same criteria.
TAL D+A Minisodes are short, actionable steps you can take in your everyday life to become more socially savvy, culturally competent and holistic in your actions. If you have any suggestions for D+A minisodes or longer Conversations, drop us a line! We’re always looking for new ideas.
What does mass-protesting accomplish? Does no arrests equate success? Why is protesting disruptive? And more! In this action packed episode of This Anthropological Life, Aneil, Adam, and Ryan talk to Jara Connell about mass protesting and the strategies behind social movements.
Who is Jara Connell?
Jara is a PhD candidate at Brandeis University. She focuses on race, space, and policing in Saint Louis. Jara’s Master’s thesis dealt with sex and gender politics in Ferguson. When Jara is not advocating for social change and challenging dominant political agendas she takes her cat, Booger, on walks.
What Do Mass
Minisodes are finally here! If this is your first TAL Podcast experience, welcome! We recommend you start off with our regular Conversation series – 25ish minute dialogues about everything and anything human – one topic at a time.
Design + Application (DnA, get it??) Minisodes are bite-sized actionable insights and social building blocks to help you become more socially savvy, culturally competent, and holistic in thinking and action. With D+A we move from anthropological thinking to anthropological doing. These are 5-10 minute nuggets from our guests on Conversations or inspiring tidbits we come across that you can use in your daily lives. We release these weekly on Monday mornings to give you a boost for the week.
To kick things off, Dr. Andi Simon discusses with the TAL team how to deal with change. Our bra
How can we make change easier? Do women lead differently from men? What is corporate anthropology? Ryan, Adam, and Aneil are back to answer these questions and more with Dr. Andi Simon. Change is hard, but with Dr. Simon’s toolkit of anthropological knowledge, games, and theater she is able to help businesses change a little easier.
We have a copy of Dr. Simon’s great book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights to give away to one lucky listener. How do you do that? Drop us a review on iTunes within a week of this episode release (Released January 25th), and email us with what review you wrote. We’ll pick a lucky winner from the reviewers and send you the book!
Will Emojis be the death of writing? Are emojis modern day hieroglyphs? Is the increased use of emojis in textual conversations a sign of the end of language as we know it? In our first episode of the New Year we discuss the origin of emojis as well as the importance of actively seeking to understand the hidden biases of language.
Check out our What’s Your Story page to tell us what you would like us to discuss in our next episode!
What is an Emoji? 😍
The term emoji originates from the japanese kanjis of “picture word”. Shigetaka Kurita created the emoji in order to develop a way to send pictorial texts using less data. Japanese phone users were sending pictures
Do you need Podcast advice? How is social media transforming the nature of protesting? Can we hatch a good episode out of chickens? Join us in our latest Free Think where we talk upcoming episodes, public anthropology, podcasting, and the future of This Anthropological Life.
Links to Check Out
The Podcast Garage
Stride and Saunter
Are balance and movement something that can be culturally shaped? Why aren’t female rats being used in drug studies? In this episode of This Anthropological Life we team up with Vivekanand Pandey Vimal to talk about his research that explores how people learn to balance when their sensory systems are taken away. We then relate studies on balance and movement to anthropology and discuss the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration. Show notes by Nina Oria-Loureiro.
Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more about
Balancing on skyscrapers
Who is Vivek?
Vivekanand Pandey Vimal is a Neuroscience PhD candidate at Brandeis University. He is part of the
Have you ever felt disconnected from your relationships and your life because of your reliance on your phone and social media? Do you ever feel nostalgia for the art of handwriting letters? Hannah Brencher understands what you are feeling. In this episode of This Anthropological Life, we discuss the difficulties of being present, the importance of time in maintaining relationships, the pitfalls of random acts of kindness, and the joys of writing a love letter. Copy Prepared by Nina Oria-Loureiro
* “The only thing that can beat out fear is love. It can’t be just a statement. It has to be something we live, throug
Join us for another listen of TAL Conversations favorites on Multi-species and Non-Human Centered Anthropology. Originally aired December 2013, with a follow-up conversation coming soon!
Do you have a pet? Do you talk to your pet? How about your house plants? Ever thought about where those vegetables you use as food and bought at the grocery store came from? Like, really came from? “Human Nature”, Anna Tsing writes, “is an interspecies relationship”. It’s never been just about humans; life on this planet (and possibly beyond) is an entanglement of many different kinds of living selves, inert objects, and assemblages of ideas. This week, Adam and Ryan will try to figure out just what the heck this idea might mean and what implications it has for rethinking our connections with and construction of the material and social world.
Tune in a very special episode of This Anthropological Life where we take on the very idea of “Human Nature”
Do you find yourself increasingly frustrated at the lack of real conversations between candidates and politicians? Are you confused about why someone who doesn’t walk to the beat of your life claims to represent the whole of your interests and everyone you know? This episode is not about the candidates, we’ll leave the bashing to them and other pundits. Rather, with this episode we aim to expose some of the mechanisms driving American politics and show different social truths about political systems in general. Join Adam, Aneil, and Ryan as they discuss the debate and informed positions on big questions like “Does my vote, a single vote, matter?”, “What is the role of government?”, and “Have we outgrown our current political system?”
Join Aneil, Adam and Ryan for the second FreeThink episode, where they talk unscripted about upcoming projects and potential interdisciplinary collaborations beyond the mic.
FreeThink is a new series of episodes that works like a backstage pass, where we talk unscripted about what’s on our minds and hearts, the nuts and bolts of making a podcast today, and the larger projects we are working on surrounding the show. If you’ve never heard This Anthropological Life, we don’t recommend starting with these episodes. check out our more in-depth Conversations series with some of our favorite episodes curated just for you. TaL Best Of (so far…).
When you’re ready, we’d love to have you join us here for a deeper dialogue.
Glad you’re here! Check out some of our favorite episodes in any order and get to know the anthropological life. And, if you’re long-time listeners we hope you’ll enjoy revisiting these gems with us. If you like us, be sure to subscribe and visit our previous episodes on the downloads page.
Episode: 10 Beer Though we made this episode two years ago and the quality is not what we do now but in terms of content its one of our all time favorites. We cover some of the historical uses of beer, its changing meaning over time, the development of taste, and perhaps even share a few ancient recipes! From contemporary hipster cans to drinks of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs you don’t want to miss this episode! Cheers, Prost, Salud, Allinta Qali!
Adam, Aneil, and Ryan are all back in the TaL studio for the first time in 18 months! And it feels good. Today we talk shop about where we’ve been and where we’re going with TaL. Check out the conversation on evolving the show content with new episode lengths and direction (same great content, shorter, more-digestible bites) and new minisodes based on Adam’s growing obsession with design and applied anthropology offering you practical ways to apply anthropological thinking and action to your daily life, and professionalizing our craft with new partnerships with the American Anthropological Association among others!
We’re super excited to be back for you and can’t wait to build this new season along with you!
We’re stoked to bring you TAL’s first ever three-city episode! Join Adam (in Peru!) and Ryan (in Boston!) and special guest Vyjayanthi Vadrevu (somewhere between NYC and Austin!) for an in-depth look into the world of Anthropological Consulting and Strategy.
What is anthropology like in the business world? Vyjayanthi runs an anthropological consulting company (Rasa.nyc) that draws on social science and design to help companies better communicate and connect with their customers.
We dive into questions such as who can call themselves an anthropologist (academic, corporate, podcasters?!), what does a consulting anthropological project look like, what makes up anthropological research, and is client-based ethnography anthropology selling out?
Join TaL’s Aneil Tripathy and Caitlin Zaloom, NYU Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, as they discuss Zaloom’s research on futures markets and most recently student debt. Hear about what initially drew Zaloom to study financial markets in Chicago and London.
Professor Zaloom and Aneil end the conversation with a discussion on how anthropologists should speak to our moment in history and the importance of studying powerful institutions. Anthropology’s job is to denaturalize social systems, and it is especially important to do so in elite settings with powerful institutions such as those active in finance.
Special guest podcast from our friends at the Food Futures Podcast
Corinna Howland interviews Adam Gamwell about experimental games, or field experiments, which NGOs and economists use to measure when, why, and how people make different kinds of choices. This data, in turn, is used to inform public policy and generate development projects. As part of Adam’s work in Peru, he ran a series of experimental games with Andean farmers for the NGO Bioversity International, to understand what kinds of incentives farmers would need to conserve threatened varieties of quinoa.
Join TAL’s Ryan Collins and Aneil Tripathy as they interview Emily Jane Murry about her work as a publicly engaged archaeologist in Northern Florida with the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Most of us don’t even consider that the world around us is an archaeological treasure trove, with worlds of diverse cultural experiences overlapping in the layers right beneath our feet. As a champion of this cause, bringing archaeology to the public’s attention, Emily works to foster a sense of stewardship to the past precisely because it is so very connected to the social present. Tune in to hear more!
How does a camera and a deep sense of curiosity lead to a lifetime of archaeological research on ancient peoples, their symbols, art, and writing? Ryan and Aneil are joined by Brandeis University Professor Javier Urcid who shares stories on the serendipity that characterized the beginning of his lifelong passion in anthropology. From Zapotec script to funerary practices, Javier’s interests are focused on the stories that influenced the daily lives of ancient people and reconstructing the few images that remain today. Javier’s story is one of reflection, but on the mysteries that compel so many to dig ever deeper into. Who were past peoples? What were they like? What stories inspired them and can we find traces of them today? Tune in for a very special episode that connects the past to the present on several levels, one of personal growth and discovery.
We’re back in Peru! Join Adam and special guest Alexander Wankel of Pachakuti Foods for a conversation about the future of food production, agrobiodiversity, sustainability, and keeping traditional culture alive. All from the view point of quinoa.
Pachakuti Foods is a brand-new startup focusing on creating a market for sustainable, pro-farmer and agrobiodiverse quinoa. It’s better for small-scale farmers, the environment, and for fighting climate change. Check out the project, and if you like it, support them on Kickstarter here!
Pachakuti Foods Website
When designing a research project, a researcher’s initial plans are often interrupted by what data we actually can access. Whether negotiating political structures, cultural taboos, necessary permissions, or the logistics of moving massive amounts of earth, borders certainly influence the research anthropologists conduct. Yet, those same borders are often at the heart of creative projects that grant an otherwise hidden perspective into the subaltern realities many diverse peoples face. Join Aneil and Ryan as they discuss these questions of research with Asli Zengin, whose studies on sex workers and trans people in Turkey was fraught with uncrossable borders. Yet, in negotiating them, deeper questions on the social realties, contested identities, and experiences that shape the lives of those who live between borders were appeared. Tune in and join us as we cross cultural boundaries.
Mate (pronounced mah-tay), or more commonly known as yerba mate for English speakers, is an herbal tea drink native to parts of South America – Southern Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay – where local people drank it for thousands of years. The incredible history of mate follows Guarani indigenous legend, the rise of Jesuit colonialism, Gaucho (cowboy) culture in Southern Brazil, and continues its rise in global popularity.
Many see this drink as beyond a drink – aside from its colorful and unique drinking apparatus made from a dried-out gourd and metal straw. Mate is known to break down barriers between people of different groups, classes, ethnicity, even religions (trust us, you’ll learn about this one).
Join Adam and special guest Guilherme Heiden, a Southern Brazilian mate enthusiast and expert, coming to you live from fieldwork in Peru, as they explore the fascinating, and thirst-quenching world of mate.
Guil and I put together a de
Join TAL as they explore the meaning and movements behind the buzz words that shape anthropology when it reaches beyond the classroom. Applied, Public, Design, and Open Anthropology. What are they, how do they work, and what for? Can anthropology intervene and create change in the contemporary world? On this episode Ryan, Aneil, and Adam explore ways to make anthropological thinking more public, accessible, and connected to the everyday lives and experiences that make the discipline so important. More than just a way to describe the world, we ask what it means for anthropology, in the words of Margaret Mead, to make the world safe for difference.
Join TAL’s Aneil Tripathy and Ryan Collins as they interview Ana Mariella Bacigalupo of SUNY Buffalo. Ana’s discussion of her research on Mapuche shamans takes us on an exciting journey, full of emotion, struggle, hope, and passion that keeps you wanting more. For the Mapuche, shamanism is as much a part of daily life as farming and state politics in Chile. Like cultures the world over, the Mapuche understand that there is power in words, in history, in how the past is given life. Yet, Mapuche understandings of history and literacy are unique and Ana shares with us why this detail is so important.
Whether exploring a ruined tomb by torchlight, submerging to great depths in search of lost ships, or sending lone robot emissaries to search the stars, human experience is shaped by discovery. More than being a thrill, discoveries challenge our outstanding paradigms and force us to reexamine our understandings of the world. Join in as your TAL hosts Adam Gamwell, Ryan Collins, and Aneil Tripathy bring recent discoveries to the forefront and examine why the unknown is so evocative.
Start your week off by tuning in to the TAL crew, the entire TAL crew, back from fieldwork (albeit briefly) as we talk about our experiences in ethnography, archaeology, and excessive note taking! In this exciting episode Amy, Adam, Aneil, and Ryan all share what fieldwork is for them, fun experiences, and the challenges of traveling to new social worlds. This is anthropology in action.
Holly Walter’s joins TAL in the studio to share her experiences and insights into Shaligram stones! Her fieldwork took her from Kathmandu to Mustang on a pilgrimage, following in the footsteps of trekkers, tourists, and pilgrims. Braving rivers and traveling treacherous mountains all with limited wifi, Holly recounts her experiences and plans to return. Tune in to find out more!
Welcome back listeners new and old to the new and exciting season of This Anthropological Life! This season we at TAL have a lot of new content and exciting interviews ahead. To bring everyone up to speed, tune in to our first episode of the new season focused on applied anthropology. What is ‘applied’ anthropology? How can anthropology be ‘designed’ and what role does the public play? Join Aneil Tripathy, Ryan Collins, and guest host Ilana Cohen as they discuss these questions and what makes them relevant to everyday life. Check it out!
Sometimes ethnographic investigations are pretty straight forward. Sometimes, its like getting submerged in a ball pit with the task of sorting all of the colors, figuring out which ones are older than the others, and grappling with any surprises (and there will be surprises) that come your way. Join us as we talk with Anthropologist Holly Walters on her dissertation work at Muktinath, Nepal and learn about the sacred stones that draw people in as well as spreading out across the globe.
Ever wanted to know what its like to be an archaeologist? Can you really dig a whole and interpret the past with the materials you find? Is anything about Indiana Jones accurate? Tune and listen to host Ryan Collins talk about his experiences with Archaeology and research in Ancient Mesoamerica as part of our TAL Fieldwork series!
Join us for our 50th episode! Return guest host Ben Gebo joins Adam, Aneil, and Ryan as we uncover the human quest to endure, and to push ourselves to the limit. From marathons to surviving evolution, we tackle time and space to bring you an incredible story of the human will to find, and surpass, our own limits. Episode 50
It’s winter time here in the northern hemisphere, and in New England that means snow… a lot it. What can we learn from it? Join Aneil and Ryan as they dive (or attempt to unbury) the human connections between snow, weather, and humanity during the days of frost. Episosde 51.
Today we dive into the world of food! Come hungry as we introduce the world of food studies and explore the changing roles and meaning food has had over the millennia, and how we can explore ways to fight local hunger and global food insecurity, all through the research lens of TaL co-host and creator Adam Gamwell. We will look at domestication, evolution, nutrition, food and memory, food science, gender, the rise of super foods (one of Adam’s favorite research topics), and more!
How do humans cope in the face of uncertainty, challenges, and trauma. Join your friendly neighborhood co-hosts Adam and Ryan as we explore coping across time, scales and space! From the individual to the cosmos, we find connections and gaps in how we as humans find ways to cope with the unknown, the troubling, and the traumatic – from food to storytelling to anger to climate change – this is a globe (and time!) spanning episode you don’t want to miss! Episode 46
Ryan and Adam explore genderless gingerbread cookies in Australia – do these cookies reveal something about shifting gender paradigms? Also, we explore a bit about how and why we wear costumes. It may not be Halloween here in the United States, but this doesn’t mean we only wear costumes once a year! Episode 47
Part of our new series Alt_Anthro
Join us for part two in our series on Ebola. This episode we discuss recent moves and displays by journalists and media outlets to cover various parts of the Ebola epidemic, the use of Ebola as a trope in political culture, and fear and hope in the face of a global virus. Ebola and Virology, part 2, Episode 47
What kinds of things make us happy? How does happiness inhere in objects or how to we use objects to display our happiness? In this episode we explore how happiness is ranked and measured across the globe, commodities and our attachments to them, and how we imagine happiness. Episode 45
Join TaL as we celebrate the libation that some claim made civilization possible – beer! We will cover some of the historical uses of beer, its changing meaning over time, the development of taste, and perhaps even share a few ancient recipes! From contemporary hipster cans to drinks of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs you don’t want to miss this episode! Cheers, Prost, Salud, Allinta Qali!
With the yearly release of new mobile phones, companies like Apple and Samsung have to sell the idea that we need a new device. With the release of wearable peripherals like Google Glass and Apple Watch, information communication technologies (ICTs) are becoming seemingly more personal. But are they? Will Near Field Communication (NFC) tech change how we exchange information, pay for food, or play games? How are different ICTs adopted, contested, altered and adapted across the world? How does technology help us be more human? Are we really just cyborgs – part human, part machine? What implications does this have for the future of human interaction? From sign language to smoke signals to the latest iPhone join us for a ‘technically’ exciting episode as we dive into the many worlds of ICT and their implementation round the world!
Part 3 in our Engaging Technology series
Season 4, Episode 43, Aired 10/6/2014
Join Amy, Ryan, Aneil and Adam and special guest Delande Justinvil for an important episode of This Anthropological Life as we take head-on the complex issues of race in the United States, security, law enforcement and police brutality.
Episode 40 Police Militarization, Violence, Race, Trust and Ferguson, MO w/ Delande Justinvil. Recorded 9/3/14
Join us for our funnest episode yet! Amy, Aneil, Ryan and Adam Exploring humans as a playful species through the world of gameshows, trivia, and popular culture – from TV to Movies and Music. Michael D’Angelo is the writer, producer, host, and star of the hilarious Old School Game Show which is a mixture of gameshow, alt trivia, pop culture reference show, dance routines, comedy and music! oldschoolgameshow on Facebook
Episode 42, Season 4
Join us for our first ever extended conversation, part of our new “This Anthropological Life After Hours” extended episode series. On occasion we will keep the conversation going well after our regular show time to bring you even more in depth content, conversation, and context. Ben was kind enough to be our first guinea pig, and we had a great conversation going deeper into the world of Burning Man, architecture, preparation for the experience, sensory deprivation, and more! You don’t want to miss this!
Episode 41.2, Season 3, Recorded 9/8/14
Check out Part 1 of the Burning Man Experience Here
Episode 41, Season 4
Join Adam, Aneil, and Ryan with returning guest expert and commentator Ben Gebo as we dive into the rabbit hole of Burning Man. Ben recently returned from the Burn, and we recount his experiences with you and explore notions of how we as humans make culture, counter-cultures, alternative socialites, and more!
Check out some of Ben’s photos from Burning Man Below!
Episode 38, Season 3
Amy and Adam are joined in studio again by season 1-2 host Ryan Collins, recently returned from fieldwork in Mexico. We turn our anthropological eye to the world of viruses and the recent outbreak of Ebola in three African countries. This microscopic world has potentially pandemic impacts as Ebola alters lives, communities, policies, and medicine. We untangle issues of mistrust, community build up and breakdown, international aid, infection, media coverage, and more!
Episode 37, Season 3
Join us for a special episode with guest researcher, consultant, and author Rachel Katz for an intimate look at the lives of Chinese truckers. Rachel’s work explores and brings together an exploration of how people live and work in contemporary China. Trucking is one of the most important, but understudied, forms of transit and economy in contemporary China. Rachel climbed aboard for six months, traveled with truckers, got to know their routes, their families, hardships and opportunities. We converse with Rachel about her experience doing ethnographic fieldwork as well as about larger issues of economics, transportation, family, gender, and more! Aired 8/5/14
Episode 36, Season 3, Aired 7/29/14
Urban cycling is both a global and local phenomenon. From Boston to Bombay to Beijing, bike cultures differ across the globe but bring many people together for commuting, recreation, exercise, work, activism, and pleasure. Join Adam and Aneil with returning guest Ben Gebo, an avid urban cyclist for a fascinating conversation exploring the world of urban cycling. We travel to Amsterdam, Mumbai, Boston, Beijing, Los Angeles, Bombay and more to ask questions about prestige, class, access, sustainability, transportation, urban infrastructure and development and more! Get it on iTunes here
Episode 35, Season 3. Aired 7/22/14
From Access Denied to Transforming Access, numerous cases of the re-appropriation of space from occupy protesters to Shock Top beer fests, cars to bikes, city spaces and pavement to guerrilla gardens, join us as we delve further into the world of space and ask tough questions about who has the right and power to claim and change space, and who does this exclude?
Episode 34, Season 3
This week Aneil and Adam tackle Space in all of its complexity and multi forms, from the universe to the space between atoms we will dive into the numerous connotations of space. We explore outer space, inner space, city space, atomic space, and even cyberspace. How is it that the idea of space can be so flexible yet still retain the power to define and shape our thinking?
Episode 33, Season 3
Feeling Stressed? Join Aneil and special Guest Luke Hanlin, Psychology PhD student, as they discuss the psychology of stress and the human capacity to deal with stress in a variety of ways.
Episode 32, Season 3
Special Episode on the Supreme Court’s rulings over religious freedom and freedom of speech.
On this week’s episode we take on 5 recent and ongoing court cases that deal with first amendment rights of freedom of speech, reproductive rights, gender and bodies including the Supreme Court rulings that close corporations that label themselves for-profit may deny contraceptive health care that they deem a burden to their religious beliefs, the ban on the 35-foot buffer zone outside Massachusetts Planned Parenthood buildings, gun laws and more! We dive into corporate personhood, freedom of speech and religion, gender, bodies, emotions, individuality versus collectivity and more! Keeping pace with last week, this episode is one of our most jam packed yet! You don’t want to miss this!
Episode 31, Season 3, Aired 6/24/14
Gooooooooooolllllll!!!!! Today we turn our anthropological lens towards the most popular sport in the world and perhaps the most global sporting competition in human history, the World Cup, this year in Brazil. We travel from a favela decorated bar in Milwaukee to actual favelas in Brazil to tackle the commodification of culture and the divorce of culture from economic inequality based around world attention on Brazil. We discuss the local impact of regional and global policies including squatter’s rights and police action against protesters. We cover street protests and graffiti as radical forms of public inclusion to raise questions about who and what does (and doesn’t) get represented when the world’s eyes are turned towards Brazil. From questions of sustainability to the role sports play in the human psyche, this is one of our most jam packed episodes yet! You don’t want to miss it!
Episode 29, Season 3
Vulnerability evokes multiple feelings simultaneously-intense discomfort, respect and awe, intimacy, and fear. Why does it resonate so broadly and deeply across contexts? What should we make of it when, in one place, it’s a virtue to strive for and in another its a danger to be avoided? Join Adam and Amy as these questions as they intersect with gender and robotics, questions of universality, and the differences between feeling and practice. Aired 6/11/14
Episode 28 Season 3
“Up in the Cloud: Computing in the 21st Century (so far)” online now!
The idea of a cloud evokes an immaterial floating world of information. Adam and Aneil turn the anthropological lens towards this idea to deconstruct the hidden material world required to support the immaterial network of cloud computing. We explore the changing relationships and meanings of ownership, exchange, and materiality through the rise of cloud computing. We further delve into different uses of computing and mobile phone usage across the world, how social and economic inequality effects how and whether computers and cloud services are built, used, and accessed.
“A House to Make a Home?” Season 3, Episode 27 Aired 5/27/14
We are joined by guest expert Mengqi Wang to delve into the fascinating world of housing, property, ownership, and exchange! Mengqi’s work revolves around the commodification and changing gender and exchange relations of private housing in contemporary China. We explore changing meanings of homes and housing in the wake of the housing crisis in the United States, China and India. You don’t want to miss this conversation!
Season 3, Episode 26 – Aired 5/20/14
Light is all around us, but we don’t often think about it. Light comes to us as energy, as necessary for vision, as a metaphor for good and seen as counter to darkness. The sun was worshiped in many ancient societies as a deity. Prometheus’ fire stolen from the gods brought humanity fire and light. Even the name of the Enlightenment is steeped in luminosity. Light is even appropriated as a form technology and energy production. Through prisms and telescopes humanity was able to learn spectroscopy and understand the chemical compositions of elements in distant galaxies. In this episode Aneil and Adam go on an ‘enlightening’ journey through the many manifestations of light in practice and metaphor, its politics, promises, and challenges.
For our 25th episode we bring you a special, raw moment in the show in which we turn the conversation more directly to ourselves as anthropologists. The show began as a second part to our Anthropology and Environment series, but as the conversation evolved, Amy helped steer us in a more personal direction away from the abstract challenges of climate change or radiation poisoning to how we ourselves deal with these massive issues that are too big for anyone person to approach. What many people feel in the face of such challenges is often a mixture of apathy and paralysis. What can I do? Some people, as Amy points out, cannot even afford to be thinking about things like the environment as something to save, particularly if you are just trying to feed yourself and your family. From this perspective we took some time to think about why we do what we do as anthropologists on This Anthropological Life, and as part of the human community. It was a special, raw moment in the show that means a
Are nature and culture separate things? How do our definitions of land, space, and place affect how we view the environment? Trees, bees, garbage, college, and power! Join host Aneil Tripathy for a special episode with guest Alina Pokhrel. Nature, Culture, Power, pt 1.
Episode 39, Season 3
Join us this week for a trip to the ancient…present? This week Ryan, Aneil, and Adam cover the politics of difference through an unlikely lens and cutting edge research. Were Neanderthals good parents? What does new archaeological and biological research tell us about European’s genetic relatedness to Neanderthals? Putting these questions together, we turn our anthropological lens to hidden assumptions about parenting styles, ancestry, subsistence, and lifestyles, and help draw out how notions of difference are constructed.
Season 3 Finale, recorded in studio 9/1/14
Episode 23 Non-Human Rights Available now!
Join us as we dive into the world of non-human rights centered
around recent court cases dealing with the rights of chimpanzees, our closest non-human cousins (though some might say they are, in fact, human). What are rights, exactly, and who gets to choose who (or what) does and doesn’t have rights? Turning our anthropological eye to the world or rights tells us a lot about how we define others and ourselves. Tune in for an awesome season finale and help us celebrate moving into season 3 of This Anthropological Life!
With endings come new beginnings too. As our co-host Ryan heads to Mexico this summer for archaeological fieldwork, Aneil and Adam will be joined in studio by a fresh new voice, Amy Hanes. Amy brings a wealth of knowledge and anthropological know-how to the table centering on non-human anthropology, emotion and affect, space and place, among a whole host of others. W
Join us for an ‘enlightening’ trip as we ‘shed some light’ on the world of sight, seeing, and visual anthropology. In this episode we explore the deep impact of visual culture across the globe and time from ancient Greece to the invention of photography to metaphors of knowledge, to genotypes and phenotypes, arrangement of food, and more! Aired 4/15/14
Download the podcast here
From the farms of Central and South America and Africa to your favorite neighborhood coffee house, join us as we turn our anthropological eye towards the world of coffee! Connecting the ‘dark beverage’ from across the ancient Americas, to the change in coffee culture in the United States from the 1970s to today, plus Fair Trade, identity, and class coffee cross cuts an immense realm of human social and material life! So grab a cup of joe and join us for a ‘stimulating’ foray into the world of coffee! Season 2, Episode 21.
Get the podcast on iTunes here
Turning 75 isn’t only a big deal for Batman, it also marks a generational tradition of using graphic media to illustrate, comment on, and showcase different aspects of our own society. Even so, comic books have their roots in ancient media from sculpture, paintings, and hieroglyphic writing. What is it about the image and text, which draw us in, get us talking, and thinking of alternative stories. Tune in to This Anthropological Life as we talk about superheroes, supergods, and spandex!
#comics #thisanthrolife #batman
Check out the podcast streaming online
Join us today for a very special episode with Central Asian expert Emily Canning. Today we turn our anthropological lens to the ongoing international conflict over Crimea: international relations and reactions, nationalism, language and media portrayal, sanctions, the mysteries of geography and more!
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3/18/14 We will be discussing the world of disposable objects and material culture: garbage culture and digital dumping, polluting the (final) frontier – yes, garbage in space, and more!
Podcast Available here
Material Culture part 1 here
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Head on over to our Podcasts page and stream the episode or download it for a mind bending journey through the worlds of psychedelics and hallucinogenics, the effects of music on the brain, the human drive for engaging in altered states of consciousness and more with our special guest Ben Gebo!
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Check out Ben’s awesome photography at Bengebo.com
Hey y’all – we had a great show today and would love for you to check it out and hear what you think! Continuing some of the themes we’ve been building over the course of season two, we’ve traveled from beer, to locomotion, then to sleep, dreams, and now our first part on altered states. Join us as we explore the human propensity to alter our consciousness, belong to something larger than ourselves, feel creative, moral and ethical taboos, and more!
We’ll be back next week with a returning guest Ben Gebo to round out part 2 of our conversation on altered states including Terrence McKenna’s ‘Stoned Ape Theory’, psychotropic use in humans and animals, and much more!
Show stream here