Oh So Anthropological

Your source for all things Anthropology

30 notes

Anthropological Theories: A Guide by University of Alabama Students

webs-of-significance:

The University of Alabama Department of Anthropology’s website provides detailed, peer-created explanations of the development, central concerns, and major figures and works of the various anthropological theories. 

This is an unparalleled resource, and a great stop for anyone looking for an explanation of theory on-the-go.

(via anthropologyadventures)

232 notes

theolduvaigorge:

The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

  • by John R. Hutchinson, Professor of Evolutionary Biomechanics

Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn’t happened. Instead the science of anatomy has undergone a renaissance lately, sparking renewed interest not just among researchers but also the public.

I may be biased, but examples from my own work, which is a small part of anatomical research, might showcase what I mean. In 2011, my team found out found why elephants have a false “sixth toe”, which had remained a mystery since it was first mentioned in 1710. Last year, with University of Utah researchers, I helped reveal that crocodiles have “bird-like” lungs in which air flows in a one-way loop rather than tidally back and forth as in mammalian lungs. Subsequent work by those colleagues has shown that monitor lizards do this, too.

Researchers have also solved the mystery of how monitor lizards got venom glands. They have discovered that lunge-feeding whales have a special sense organ in their chin that helps them engulf vast amounts of food. And like the whales, it seems crocodiles have sense organs in their jaws, which can detect vibrations in the water. Anatomy has even found gears in nature. Turns out that leafhopper insects have tiny gears in their legs that help in making astounding and precise leaps.

If the scientific examples weren’t enough, there are many from popular TV. British viewers have had the delights of anatomy served to them in a BBC TV series called Secrets of Bones, which concluded in March. American viewers are getting anatomical insights in Your Inner Fish, an ongoing TV series on PBS.

Anatomy’s highs and lows

Apart from an anomalous period in the 20th century, such discoveries have always captivated scientists and the public. From the 16th century until the 19th century, human anatomy was one of the top research fields. Anatomist Jean Francois Fernel, who invented the word “physiology”, wrote in 1542:

Anatomy is to physiology as geography is to history; it describes the theatre of events.

This analogy justified the study of anatomy for many early scientists, some of whom also sought to understand it to bring them closer to understanding the nature of God. Anatomy gained impetus, even catapulting scientists such as Thomas Henry Huxley (“Darwin’s bulldog”) into celebrity status, from the realisation that organisms had a common evolutionary history and thus their anatomy did too. Comparative anatomy became a central focus of evolutionary biology” (read more).

***A fun read.

(Source: The Conversation)

(via theladygoogle)

48 notes

Why Anthropologists Join An Ebola Outbreak Team

zomganthro:

Health specialists work in an isolation ward for patients in Guékedou, southern Guinea.

3,086 notes

s-c-i-guy:

Women in Science Interactive

Women in Science, a new interactive tool, presents the latest available data for countries at all stages of development. Produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the tool lets you explore and visualize gender gaps in the pipeline leading to a research career, from the decision to get a doctorate degree to the fields of research women pursue and the sectors in which they work.

source

(via women-in-science)

104 notes

theolduvaigorge:

Why do academics blog? It’s not for public outreach, research shows

Blogging is touted as bridge between academia and the world but study finds it functions more like global common room


by Pat Thomson and Inger Mewburn

“Academics are now urged to blog. We are told that having to write for ordinary readers will help us to write in plain English, clarify our ideas, enhance our reputations and expand our knowledge as well as our audience. Blogging is presented to us as a way to bridge the apparent divide between academia and everyone else.
We both blog and unlike many of our colleagues we don’t need to be convinced that it is worthwhile. However we were less convinced that the academic bloggers we encountered were all in it for reasons of public outreach, or to refine their thinking, and we certainly weren’t convinced that they wanted fame. So we set out to have a preliminary look at what was going on in academic blogs.
We had a number of challenges in setting up this small-scale study. We had no funding so interviews were out; we had to rely on published blogs alone. And we had to decide what counted as an academic blog. This was not as easy as you might think, given the growth of professional and managerial roles offered inside universities today, which often involve some kind of research or teaching. We opted for the blogger who stated an institutional affiliation, had some kind of academic purpose and was connected to other academic blogs. We called the bloggers who weren’t professors, lecturers or fellows ‘para-academics’. We couldn’t get a representative sample as there is no handy index of blogs, the numbers change all the time, and frankly, there were just too many. And because we speak English, our choices had to be blogs we could actually read.
By using various online listings of academic blogs, we eventually compiled a list of 100 we could use as a sample set. Of these, 49 were from the UK and 40 from the US, five from Canada and six from Australia. 80 were by teaching and researching academics, 14 from para-academics and six from doctoral researchers” (read more).
(Source: The Guardian)

theolduvaigorge:

Why do academics blog? It’s not for public outreach, research shows

Blogging is touted as bridge between academia and the world but study finds it functions more like global common room
  • by Pat Thomson and Inger Mewburn
Academics are now urged to blog. We are told that having to write for ordinary readers will help us to write in plain English, clarify our ideas, enhance our reputations and expand our knowledge as well as our audience. Blogging is presented to us as a way to bridge the apparent divide between academia and everyone else.

We both blog and unlike many of our colleagues we don’t need to be convinced that it is worthwhile. However we were less convinced that the academic bloggers we encountered were all in it for reasons of public outreach, or to refine their thinking, and we certainly weren’t convinced that they wanted fame. So we set out to have a preliminary look at what was going on in academic blogs.

We had a number of challenges in setting up this small-scale study. We had no funding so interviews were out; we had to rely on published blogs alone. And we had to decide what counted as an academic blog. This was not as easy as you might think, given the growth of professional and managerial roles offered inside universities today, which often involve some kind of research or teaching. We opted for the blogger who stated an institutional affiliation, had some kind of academic purpose and was connected to other academic blogs. We called the bloggers who weren’t professors, lecturers or fellows ‘para-academics’. We couldn’t get a representative sample as there is no handy index of blogs, the numbers change all the time, and frankly, there were just too many. And because we speak English, our choices had to be blogs we could actually read.

By using various online listings of academic blogs, we eventually compiled a list of 100 we could use as a sample set. Of these, 49 were from the UK and 40 from the US, five from Canada and six from Australia. 80 were by teaching and researching academics, 14 from para-academics and six from doctoral researchers” (read more).

(Source: The Guardian)

(via theladygoogle)

48 notes

Nike, the shoe company, has come out with a television commercial for hiking shoes that was shot in Kenya using Samburu tribesmen. It combines broad shots of brightly clad, dancing men and women, and close-ups of the colorful new boots. There are no words until the very end. Then the camera closes in on the one tribesman who speaks, in native Maa. As he speaks, the Nike slogan, ‘Just do it,’ appears on the screen.

Problem. Lee Cronk, an anthropologist at the University of Cincinnati, says the Kenyan is really saying: ‘I don’t want these. Give me big shoes.’ Nike admits its film crew improvised after having trouble getting a Maa version of the slogan. But, says Nike’s Elizabeth Dolan, ‘we thought nobody in America would know what he said.’

New York Times (February 15th, 1989)

I think this commercial is hilarious because of the contradictions that are simultaneously at work. American exercise weenies are urged to “Just do it (but only with our product).” At the same time, a Kenyan, a member of a people group that consistently breaks world marathon records despite their “third world status,” is saying “The heck are these things? Give me something useful.” The fact that the shoes in question aren’t running shoes is immaterial. For cultural, practical, or personal reasons, the Kenyan in this commercial scoffed at a western product a lot of us might have been proud to own back in the day, and Nike tried to pass the dismissal off as an endorsement. That amuses me.

And, lest it needs to be said, *all* of us are weenies compared to Kenyan runners. :)

(Source: eelhound, via 19thschuylerplace)