Emojis + Hieroglyphics = Universal Language?

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!

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Giving Gifts and the Spirit of Sharing

Giving Gifts and the Spirit of Sharing

Summary:

Why can’t you get rid of that ugly sweater from Grandma? What rules dictate your selection of gifts this holiday season? What is the deal with those freaking pajamas you get every year? In this holiday episode of This Anthropological Life, we discuss the social implications behind giving and receiving gifts, giving in the animal kingdom, bad gifts, altruism, and the primordial debt. Consider this our gift to you and reciprocate with a review or a donation on our secure Paypal page! We would love to hear from you! 

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FreeThink 3: PRX Podcast Garage Meetups, Building Bridges, and Expanding the Podcast

FreeThink LogoDo 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
Anthro Story
The Podcast Garage
Stride and Saunter
Standing Rock Syllabus
TAL Episode: Ebola and Virology
Arab Spring and Social Media
Policing Protests Through Social Media
Franz Boas
Margaret Mead


Of Quinoa, Agricultural Science, and Social Change – New Essay from Adam Gamwell on the Savage Minds Anthropologies Projects

Photo: Colin Stone Peacock

Photo: Colin Stone Peacock

TAL’s Adam Gamwell has a new essay about his research on quinoa biodiversity in Peru out on Savage Minds blog!

Excerpt:

Specters of the Dead

Aymara legend has it that some 5000 years ago there was a massive drought across the land, across what would become known as the Andean Altiplano spanning southern Peru and Bolivia. During this years-long drought harvests were lost, there was hunger, and many people and their animals died. Farmers, llamas and alpacas, travelers subsisting on the hospitality of locals all ran out of stores and eventually starved. There was virtually no food to be found, save for two plants that grew wild: quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), and its cousin cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule). These two species grow primarily in the Lake Titicaca basin and are remarkably resilient in the face of drought and frost, and can grow in salty, sandy, and acidic soils that kill most other plants. People quickly realized the nutritional qualities of these plants, and quinoa became famous for sustaining those who ate its seeds. The plant was named jiwra in Aymara which translates in Spanish to “levanta moribundos” or that which raises the dying (Canahua y Mujica, 2013).

This legend was recounted to me in perhaps an unusual place by an unexpected storyteller: a plant geneticist told the tale in-between explaining the orthomolecular and nutraceutical qualities of quinoa.

Agricultural scientists play a key role in the production of quinoa in Puno, Peru. That may seem overly obvious from a scientific point of view, but this fact easily gets overshadowed in contemporary marketing images of happy indigenous farmers in traditional clothing, alpacas grazing open fields, and organic quinoa blowing in the wind. Moving beyond these representations to where quinoa is produced in primarily in the Titicaca – Poopo basin between Peru and Bolivia, it becomes clear just how much some agronomists shift back-and-forth between so-called ‘forward-looking’ agricultural science and ‘traditional’ quinoa agricultures, which they view not as opposed but as complementary and mutually reinforcing. The examples explored below take inspiration from Gabriela Soto-Laveaga’s Jungle Laboratories (2009). Yet, rather than seeking to recuperate the hidden histories and lives of indigenous producers behind the ‘scientific’ creation of the Pill, I draw here on ethnographic research in southern Peru to analyze the work of several Puneño agronomists who actively use their scientific capital to keep indigenous knowledge, agriculture and history a part of quinoa’s story.

Read the rest here: Of Quinoa, Agricultural Science, and Social Change

Adam Gamwell rounds out the anthropologies #22 issue on food. Gamwell is a public anthropologist and PhD Candidate at Brandeis University working across food, design, science, and markets. His research is based in southern Peru on quinoa. He is also Creative Director and host for This Anthropological Life Podcast. Connect with Adam on academia.edu or linkedin.com

Part of the Anthropologies #22 – Food Issue


Don’t Panic! The Neuroscience behind falling into Balance w/ Vivek Pandey Vimal

Signature:78379061d4d0474729cc9f2f2dbbf228ce23aaef9e376555fe5b76861c65ff0aAre 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.

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On Kindness and What the World Needs Now w/ Hannah Brencher

Adam, Hannah and ryanHave 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
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Multi-species and non-Human Centered Anthropology: Conversations Revisited

tal-conversarions-waterJoin 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” from the lens of the emerging field of Multi-species and Non-human centered Anthropology! This will definitely be one of our more philosophical episodes, but will be grounded in the world of pets, monumental architecture, the archaeological record, bones, electric vehicles, mushrooms, and more!

Originally Aired: December 2013


Myths of American Democracy: Contradictions, Troubling Numbers, and Searching for Sense in the System

statue-of-libertyDo 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?”

tal-conversarions-water


FreeThink #2 – Moving Beyond the Mic: On Collaborations and Working Across Disciplines

FreeThink LogoJoin 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.


New to TAL? Check out some of our favorite episodes!

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.

I, Luca Galuzzi [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

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!

45 The Happiness Fetish What kinds of things make us happy? How does happiness inhere in objects or how to we use objects to display our happiness?

39 The Politics of Difference 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.

37 Long Haul Trucking Through China Trucking is one of the most important, but under studied, forms of transit and economy in contemporary China. Guest Rachel Katz climbed aboard for six months, traveled with truckers, got to know their routes, their families, hardships and opportunities.