Articles on Anthropology

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Is a cassette player an “ordinary object” or a “mystery”? It depends on whom you ask, and ethnography can help you ask the right questions. Yoshikazu Takada

Why teach ethnography to managers (in the big data era)?

Big data is all the rage in management circles and beyond, yet little is said about the understanding needed with such voluminous data. An important lesson can be learned from ethnographic research.
Vincent Copley senior and Vincent Copley junior at Redbanks Conservation Park, Burra, in June, 2018. They are holding Ngadjuri book, with their grandfather and great-grandfather, Barney Waria, on the cover. Photo: C.J. Taylor, Flinders University.

Friday essay: who owns a family’s story? Why it’s time to lift the Berndt field notes embargo

In the 1940s, the last initiated Ngadjuri man, Barney Waria, gave a series of interviews to anthropologist Ronald Berndt. Almost 80 years later, Waria's grandson wants to share this material with his family.
In the medical culture of the Bugis and Makassar peoples in Indonesia the word koroq means that the penis is actually shrinking, or retracting, but the Dutch in the 19th-century East Indies did not believe it was real. shutterstock

Is shrinking penis syndrome a delusion or a real thing?

Koro is widely believed to be a culturally localised delusion. But a theory that it's a fight-or-flight reflex might be corroborated by studying traditional healing treatments in Indonesia.
Artist’s impression of Proxima b, a planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri within the closest known star system outside of our solar system. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Can Artificial Intelligence help find alien intelligence?

Using AI to search for ET might help us find things we couldn't even imagine we should look for, but to succeed we also have think critically about how we create and use that technology.
Pan having sex with a goat, statue from Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum, 1752. Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia

Why animal orgasm matters to our moral universe

The vast discrepancy between abhorrence of bestiality and acceptance of slaughtering on animals suggests that thinking imaginatively about animal orgasm may help us to be more compassionate toward animals.
The universal sign for ‘Look over there!’ isn’t so common in some cultures. Helena Ohman/Shutterstock.com

The way humans point isn’t as universal as you might think

It was long thought that humans everywhere favor pointing with the index finger. But some fieldwork out of Papua New Guinea identified a group of people who prefer to scrunch their noses.
A connection can be made in between Ursula Le Guin’s fiction and her father’s groundbreaking work in anthropology. Oregon State University

The education of Ursula Le Guin

Le Guin's father, Alfred Kroeber, was at a forefront of a movement that rejected social Darwinism and cultural superiority. In his daughter's fiction, we see these ideas come to life.
Fossilized teeth from a modern human who lived in Israel close to 200,000 years ago. Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University

Fossil jawbone from Israel is the oldest modern human found outside Africa

New discoveries are changing archaeologists' ideas about the origins of our own species and our migration out of Africa. This fossil pushes Homo sapiens' African exodus date back by 50,000 years.

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