an Anthro roundup: Science-anti science fight continues; at 1,000,000… at 1,000,000

from Neuroanthropology by dlende just broke through the 1,000,000 visits mark! We?ve done that in three years. Our very post came in December 2007.

Even though Greg and I have moved over to Neuroanthropology PLoS, this site has continued to generate impressive traffic since September 1st. Here are some of the posts that got us over the top:

Late to the science-anti-science bum fight?

from Neuroanthropology by gregdowney

Daniel has written a series of excellent posts on the controversy allegedly sparked by the revision of the long-term planning statement by the American Anthropological Association (first, second, third, fourthfifth, sixth, seventh and eighth post in series).  According to some journalists, critics from other fields as well as disgruntled anthropologists, the AAA executive board made a major power play by leaving the word ?science? out of the revised statement.

Anthropology Group Tries to Soothe Tempers After Dropping the Word ‘Science’
New York Times
The battle of the anthropologists ? those who hew closely to scientific tradition versus those who take a more humanistic approach ? flared

#AAAfail as PR meltdown

from Savage Minds: Notes and Queries in Anthropology ? A Group Blog by Rex

God bless Neuroanthropology for tracing out the twists and turns of #AAAfail as it unfolded and now, apparently, is more or less ?over?. In general I concur with Daniel?s analysis of what went wrong. The AAA?s ability to handle its internal processes ? and what happens when they go public ? reminds me of the fracas over global climate change skepticism (or at least my vague understandings of it): bloggers and other grassroots voices take up the issue, official and authoritative voices abstain from public debate as it is beneath them, the issue blows up, and they find themselves backpedaling and attempting to control a debate which others have already named and framed. What scientists learned from all this was that there is no substitute for early and extensive engagement with critics and involvement with all stages of debate. I think this is a lesson that the AAA should be learning from #AAAfail.

Anthropology not a science?

from Digging Digitally by Francis Deblauwe

I just stumbled across an article in the New York Times:

Anthropologists have been thrown into turmoil about the nature and future of their profession after a decision by the American Anthropological Association at its recent annual meeting to strip the word ?science? from a statement of its long-range plan. The decision has reopened a long-simmering tension between researchers in science-based anthropological disciplines ? including archaeologists, physical anthropologists and some cultural anthropologists ? and members of the profession who study race, ethnicity and gender and see themselves as advocates for native peoples or human rights.

Science and the Sacred: A Comment from Mary Douglas

from Savage Minds: Notes and Queries in Anthropology ? A Group Blog by Strong

Rex elsewhere characterized the discussion around what has unfortunately come to be called #AAAfail as ??between thoughtful people who are aware of the complexities of knowledge production, and those who are for psychological reasons strongly committed to identifying themselves as scientists and everyone else asblasphemers? (emphasis added).  He further called for empirical description and analysis of the social and cultural dynamics structuring this discussion.  Both called to mind Mary Douglas?s ruminations on Durkheim and science, from the preface to the 1975 edition of Implicit Meanings:

Anthropology, the AAA, and PR: Some thoughts and ideas from the trenches of grad school

from ethnografix by Ryan Anderson

Daniel Lende has yet another good overview of the whole AAA “science” fiasco, including some indications that things may be moving in a positive direction. And just today he posted a humorous reflection on the ISSUE, which has been getting its fair share of attention.

At AJP: Expanding the Human Terrain System and Militarizing Anthropology in Canada

from OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY by Maximilian Forte

For those who are interested, this is just a brief note of two relevant items posted on the website of Anthropologists for Justice and Peace. One, building on what John Stanton has provided in theprevious post, focuses on the continuation and expansion of the Human Terrain System, with yet another anthropologist in the lead (very interesting, for a program that began to eschew any anthropological connections; even more interesting now that there is a stated intention to reengage the anthropological community). HTS directors possibly think that they have cleaned house sufficiently to permit them to approach us without much diffidence. In addition, it seems that HTS is getting some interested attention from the Canadian military elite. See: ?A Resurgent Human Terrain System: Concerns for Anthropology, Including Canada.?

Anthropology of the Night: Cross-Disciplinary Investigations

Current Anthropology, Volume 51, Issue 6, Page 819-847, December 2010.
The goal of this paper is to introduce a new field of anthropological research: the night. In meetings of psychophysiologists and anthropologists, persistent questions reveal an amazing theoretical and methodological gap in research on the nocturnal segment of the 24-hour day-night cycle, or nychthemeron. Thus, a more general question has taken shape: Is the night something that should or could be studied by anthropologists? If so, what methods should be used to study it?

Clockpunk Anthropology and the Ruins of Modernity

Shannon Lee Dawdy

Current Anthropology, Volume 51, Issue 6, Page 761-793, December 2010.
This essay identifies the potential of an emerging archaeological turn for anthropology?and for archaeology itself. I argue that despite the critiques of the past two decades, the temporality of modernity and a belief in its exceptionalism still structure much of anthropological thought, as exemplified in the division of archaeology and ethnography and in the subfield of historical archaeology and its dystopic treatment of modern urban ruins.

Human genetic variation: 124+ clusters with the Galore approach

from Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog by Dienekes
The following uses the same 2,230-individual/139-population dataset described here, and analyzed with the Clusters Galore method introduced here, refined here, and applied to subsets of this data (HGDP and Behar et al. (2010)).

In EHB : Sixteen misconceptions about the evolution of human cooperation, by West et al.

from ICCI Home

Now officially published online in Evolution and Human Behavior is a paper by West, El Mouden and Gardner (all from Oxford University) that has been circulating, as a manuscript, in the academic community for almost two years.

A medical anthropology canon?

from Somatosphere by Eugene Raikhel
The latest issue of Anthropology and Medicine includes the first of a series of articles called “The Canon,” each of which will feature “a reappraisal of a past text of what may be considered (unfashionably) canonical, classical or at least of continuing interest in medical anthropology or cultural psychiatry.”  The first is a piece by Roland Littlewood on W.H.R. Rivers’ Medicine, Magic and Religion, often described as “a founding text for medical anthropology,” (Littlewood 2010)

Contaminated cuisines and the omnivore?s dilemma

from FoodAnthropology by David Beriss
The Egg of Death?

As a service to our readers and with the permission of the editors of Anthropology News, we have decided to republish each month?s SAFN column from that publication.  This, then, is the December 2010 column, edited by Kenneth Maes and Alyson Young.

Arthur Kleinman on caregiving

from Somatosphere by Guest Contributor

This post was contributed by Matt Dalstrom (UW-Milwaukee)

In an event co-sponsored by the UW-Milwaukee Center for 21st Century Studies and the UW-Milwaukee Research Workshop on Science, Medicine, and Society, Dr. Arthur Kleinman presented two essays recently published in The Lancet titled, ?Caregiving: the odyssey of becoming more human? and ?Catastrophe and caregiving: the failure of medicine as an art.? Following his presentation, Dr. Kalman Applbaum (UWM) and Dr. Claire Wendland, MD (UW-Madison) commented on his essays by highlighting the importance of caregiving in the medical setting and the need to address the bureaucratic nature of the U.S. medical system.

“Epidemics”: a special issue of Behemoth

from Somatosphere by Eugene Raikhel

The electronic journal Behemoth which “focuses on the general problem of the fading and/or failing state,” has a new themed issue which focuses on epidemics, more specifically exploring “critical issues arising within the new problem space of emerging infectious diseases,” (Caduff 2010).  As Carlo Caduff argues in his introduction to the volume,

US Supports UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

from American Anthropological Association by Amy

In response to calls to further US policy on indigenous issues, President Obama announced that the US supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is a change in US position: when 143 countries voted in favor of the Declaration at the UN in September 2007, the US did not.

Caring for Aboriginals? The Politics of Anthropology in Australia

from OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY by Maximilian Forte

People just joining this debate will have some homework to do first, to better understand what follows below. Here is some of the history of the discussion. We began focusing attention on a debate between Australian anthropologists around the state?s intervention in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, starting with a commentary and extract in what is now our temporarily interrupted series of Encircling Empire Reports. In focus was an article we featured, by Barry Morris and Andrew Lattas: ?Embedded Anthropology and the Intervention.? To make my own position clear, I was strongly in favour of the author?s perspective. Soon after, ZA was contacted by one of the anthropologists at the centre of the critique by Morris and Lattas, Francesca Merlan. Out of concern for fairness, we then published Merlan?s response: ?Response to Lattas and Morris? ?Blinkered Anthropology?.? What follows below is the third installment in the debate, which is the response to Merlan by Morris and Lattas. This is a longer version of what has been sent to the Australian periodical, Arena.

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