The reader is a bit late and somewhat sparse today. My week was blindsided by the AAA's long term plan statement. (Thanks very much to Barbara King for drawing our attention to it on Twitter!) If you haven't already, you may want to read the following posts for thoughts about the new statement. I strongly suggest you start with Daniel Lende's Anthropology, Science, and Public Understanding. Daniel provides a nice overview, and states his concerns in a calm, thoughtful way.
- Anthropology Association Rejecting Science (Peter Wood, Chronicle)
- Anthropology Without Science (Dan Berrett, Inside Higher Ed)
- Removing Science from Anthropology: Parallels with Medicine (Orac, Respectful Insolence)
- What is the Real Concern About #AAAFail? (Megan, Great Lakes Ethnohistorian)
- Why Anthropology is True Even if it's not a Science (Rex, Savage Minds)
- The AAA Does Away with Science, Seriously (Anthropology.net)
- What is a Generous Interpretation of the AAA Mission Change? (Kate Clancy, Context and Variation)
- Whither Anthropology as a Science? (Carl Lipo, Evolution Beach)
- Anthropology as Science (Dooglas Carl, recycled minds)
- The Place of Science in Anthropology and Cross-field Anthropology: Opportunities and Obstacles (Julienne Rutherford, BANDIT blog)
- No Science, Please. We're Anthropologists. (Alice Dreger, Psychology Today)
- No Science for Social Scientists (Kyle West, Missives from a Misanthropologist)
Update: The AAA has also posted a response called simply Long Range Plan:
We believe that the source of the problem speaks to the power of symbols: we replaced the term “science” in the preface of this planning document by a more specific (and inclusive) list of research domains, while explicitly acknowledging that the Association’s central focus is to promote the production, circulation, and application of anthropological research findings.
At CultureBy Grant McCracken has a post up about Bob Smith's Amazing Strangers project. Smith has dissected Union Square and cataloged the people who frequent the area, drawing attention to groups like "peepers." It's a fun read, and a reminder that someone is always watching.
At A Hot Cup of Joe, there's a really interesting post up about vandalism in antiquity. CFeagans examines vertical gouges in Egyptian monuments:
One thing they seem to have in common is that they are typically vertical and that they are deeper in the center, as if scooped out. Pilgrims and believers in magic scraped the stone to remove a fine dust, which they collected and mixed in a drink. By scraping out a portion of the temple or monument, the pilgrim hoped to obtain some of the power through sympathetic magic. This practice occurred from about the time of the New Kingdom to around the 5th century CE.”
You may also want to check out Barbara King's post on co-sleeping, which is fairly common in may cultures around the world. King presents research by biological anthropologists James McKenna and Thomas McDade (2005) on the benefits of co-sleeping for babies. I wasn't really familiar with the evolutionary discussion on co-sleeping, so this post really informative—and it seems to make a lot of sense:
Lemurs of Madagascar, squirrel monkeys of Brazil, baboons and chimpanzees of Tanzania- in all these species, indeed in almost all nonhuman primate species, babies cling round-the-clock to mom, breast-feeding and sleeping at will. This intense day-and-night closeness lasts for months and sometimes years.
Is it a reflection of the personality of our culture that we don't really practice co-sleeping? Is the idea of independence what drives parents to hasten the process to get children to sleep by themselves? Would definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on those questions.
See you next week!