FreeThink #4: On Art, Creativity, and Bringing Awe back to Anthropology

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. Continue reading


Investigating the Untethered Journey between Psychedelic Science, Medicine, and Drug Scheduling with Hamilton Morris

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 Brandeis Program in Film, Television and Interactive Media for sponsoring the interview!

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D+A #2: What Makes a Protest Successful and How do I get involved?

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.


Protesting the Powers that Be and Being the Power that Protests w/ Jara Connell

 

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.

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D+A Minisode 1: How to Deal with Change w/ Dr. Andi Simon

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 brains may not like change, but it is perhaps the one constant we have in life. Dr. Simon teaches us a few hacks to get your mind in the right state to deal with change. If you like minisodes and want to hear more, let us know! Tweet us or shoot us a review on iTunes!

 


When your Business Stalls, it’s time to Evolve: Unpacking Corporate Anthropology with Dr. Andi Simon

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!

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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