anthropology today

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This site is an experimental attempt to get conversation going between authors, readers and the editors of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY, published by the Royal Anthropological Institute and available at Wiley-Blackwell. Please bear with us while we introduce new features and hone our layout. (For more information on ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY see ABOUT; on the mechanics of contributing various types of content see HELP; to determine suitability of content and for conditions see RULES).

Gustaaf Houtman

David Marsden

Matthew Parsfield

Jill Reese

ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY provides a forum for the application of anthropological analysis to public and topical issues.

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Front and back cover caption, volume 30 issue 6

Front coverTHE HOUSE GUNThe world was watching when Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp's parents stepped into the magisterial Palace of Justice in Pretoria. At that moment they entered alien territory beyond the ken of the insular white upper class Afrikaner community, many of whom live as if…Continue

Tags: Julien Dugnoille, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, covers, 2014, December

Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.

JAMES G. CARRIER Economic deviance

Making sense of what went wrong during the recent financial crises requires us to go beyond the conventional view of deviance. We need a more systematic and social view of financial deviance, and have long had the intellectual tools to do so. They include Durkheim and Merton's work, invoked here to pose pertinent questions about the deviant behaviour of corporations and institutions.Wiley Online LibraryContinue

Tags: editorial, JAMES G. CARRIER, December, 2014

Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.

JULIEN DUGNOILLE From plate to pet: Promotion of trans-species companionship by Korean animal activists

In Korea cats and dogs are both pets and food. This article looks at how Korean activists bring the issue of animal welfare to the attention of Korean society in the context of cat and dog meat consumption. It explores the ways in which activists deploy rescue narratives in order to attract families willing to adopt rescued animals, thus transforming people’s perception of livestock animals into that of potential lifetime companions. Combined here are the Confucian virtue of impartial…Continue

Tags: JULIEN DUGNOILLE , article, 2014, December

Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.

NANCY SCHEPER-HUGHES The house gun: White writing, white fears and black justice

One way of understanding the Pistorius case is through the powerful writings of white South African authors such as Nobel Prize laureate Nadine Gordimer’s anticipatory post-apartheid novel, The house gun, in which she imagined a scenario similar to the one played out in the Pistorius trial where white fears and black justice met in the courtroom. South Africa is not unique. The mobilization of white peoples’ fear of black or brown ‘intruders’ has infected other divided nations, like the United…Continue

Tags: NANCY SCHEPER-HUGHES, article, 2014, December

Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.

JOHN SHARP & KEITH HART &VITO LATERZA South Africa in world development: Prospects for a human economy

South Africa was once notorious for an extreme system of racial inequality known as apartheid. It is still a world leader in economic inequality, but the racial situation is confused. In the meantime something like apartheid has become universal. The Southern African regional economy has some features that point to a more humane alternative to unequal society, to a “human economy”. The world needs a new free trade movement that would begin to dismantle the institutions of national privilege and…Continue


Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.

W. JOHN MORGAN Fei Xiao Tong: A public intellectual in Communist China

This article focuses on Fei Xiao Tong’s status as a public intellectual in Maoist China, his place in the ‘red or expert’ struggle, his fate during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and his cautious return to academic prominence and as an influential Chinese public intellectual in post-Maoist China.Wiley Online LibraryContinue

Tags: W. JOHN MORGAN , article, 2014, December

Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.

NARRATIVE. ANTONIO DE LAURI Boredom and crisis in the humanitarian realm

‘Humanitarian boredom’ produces its own perspective on the world, providing a ‘point of entry’ to the observation of humanitarianism in practice. In this paper, while problematizing both a general understanding of boredom and a romantic idea of humanitarianism, the author focuses on boredom as experienced by humanitarian workers during crises in the humanitarian realm.Wiley Online LibraryContinue

Tags: ANTONIO DE LAURI , narrative, 2014, December

Started by AT admin in AT DECEMBER 2014 Nov 24, 2014.


Blog Posts

Scottish referendum - Ullrich Kockel

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on September 19, 2014 at 10:39 0 Comments

The people of Scotland have spoken, and the Prime Minister promises their voices will be heard. Following two years of campaigning generating unprecedented public participation and reaching previously disengaged group in large numbers, the referendum delivered a solid majority for Scotland remaining in the UK. According to opinion polls, the youngest voters were predominantly inclined to vote "no". On the night of polling day, one young man on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, having just voted "no",…


From 'Human Terrain' 'to Human Domain' - Another Pentagon concept?

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 19:00 0 Comments

Sisk, Richard 2013. 'Human Domain' Enters Future Army War Plans. News, 20 February 2013.

Keith Walker at AUSA 2012.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Army's core mission as the world's dominant land power must meld with the challenges posed by future conflicts that will increasingly be fought over "human terrain," senior Army officials…


Human Terrain continues

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 17:00 0 Comments

Hanley, Ken 2013. Op-Ed: Problematic Human Terrain System continues despite criticism. Digital Journal, 21 February

VandenBroek, T 2013. Army plows ahead with troubled war-zone program. USA Today, 21 February.



Akbar Ahmed on drones

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 18, 2013 at 11:00 0 Comments

American University professor Akbar Ahmed talked about his book, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam. He also talked about the debate over the use of drones by the Obama administration. This interview, recorded at American University in Washington, DC, was part of Book TV’s College Series.…


Marshall Sahlins resigns from the National Academy of Sciences

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 16:30 3 Comments

The following items have been published in relation to Marshall Sahlin's resignation (to be updated as more sources become available):

Golden, Serena 2013 A protest resignation.Inside Higher Education, 25 February.

Horgan, John 2013 …


Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 1949-2012

Posted by Matthew Parsfield on July 13, 2012 at 10:00 0 Comments

MICHEL-ROLPH Trouillot, the esteemed Haitian anthropologist and professor at the University of Chicago, has died at the age of 62.…


Crisis is as cultural as Kula

Posted by Matthew Parsfield on May 5, 2012 at 19:30 0 Comments

THE FINANCIAL crisis must be understood culturally if "discredited" neoliberal economic perspectives are to be challenged, argued Keir Martin on the Guardian's website in April. 

Taking Malinowski's classic study of Trobriand …


UPDATED: US Military in new anthropologist recruitment drive

Posted by Matthew Parsfield on April 25, 2012 at 12:00 0 Comments

GRADUATE recruitment websites and university email lists are being flooded with vacanciesfor embedded social scientists as the US Military steps up…


Banking on Kim

Posted by Matthew Parsfield on April 23, 2012 at 22:30 0 Comments

MEDICAL anthropologist and public health leader Jim Yong Kim has been appointed as the 12th President of the World Bank. The Korean-born American academic was the first Washington nominee ever to be opposed for the role, but successfully saw off the challenge of Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to maintain the USA’s seven…


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ANTHCAL - Calendar of events as published in the last issue of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY

We try to avoid errors, but please check dates before making a special journey. Entries are best submitted with a current web address to which readers can refer for further details. AnthCal is online at

My Siberian years, 1914-1915 (to 31.03.2015); A well-documented life: James Arthus Harley (1873-1943) (18.10.2014-08.02.2015); Scarred/sacred water (20.10.2014-03.05.2015); Travellers’ stories (05.12.2015-08.01.2015). Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PP; tel. +44 (0)1865 270927;
Germany: Memories of a nation (to 25.01.2015); Eight mummies, eight lives, eight stories (to 19.05.2015); Pilgrims, healers and wizards: Buddhism and religious practices in Burma and Thailand (02.10.2014-11.01.2015); Witches and wicked bodies (to 11.01.2015); Ancient lives: New discoveries (to 30.11.2014); Living and dying (permanent); Africa Gallery (permanent). British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG; tel. +44 (0)20 7323 8299 (information desk);
Kurt Jackson: River (29.11.2014- 25.01.2015); Revisiting Romania: Dress and identity (04.10.2014-06.09.2015); African worlds (permanent); Centenary gallery: 100 years of collecting (permanent). Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ; tel. +44 (0)20 8699 1872;
Magic and memory: Paul Montague in New Caledonia (to 08.03.2015); Buddha’s word: The life of books in Tibet and beyond (to 17.01.2015). Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ; tel +44 (0)1223 333516;
3 Dec 2015 17.30-19.30. RAI Research Seminar: Anthropology in 2014 (and earlier, at the RAI, and elsewhere). Raymond Apthorpe.
3 Dec 2014 International Multidisciplinary Conference on Traditional medical systems of Africa and Asia and their transformations Wroclaw, Poland.
3-6 Dec 2014 21st Biennial Pacific History Association Conference: ‘Lalan, chalan, tala, ara (path): Reconnecting Pacific-Asia histories. Taipei & Taitung, Taiwan.
3-7 Dec 2014 AAA 113th annual meeting, Marriott Wardman Park & Omi Shoreham, Washington, DC
9-10 Dec 2014 History of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Workshop in preparation for Volume 1: Pre 1871.
January 2015
15 Jan 2015 9.30 Reviewer meets reviewed: Centralizing fieldwork. Jeremy MacClancy vs Rusell Hill. Anthropology Library and Research Centre, BM. Contact:
February 2015
19 Feb 2015 9.30 Reviewer Meets Reviewed: Envisioning Eden - Mobilizing imaginaries in tourism and beyond. Anthropology Library and Research Centre, BM. Contact:
March 2015
15-16 Mar 2015 International conference on communication science, anthropology and political science (ICCSAP-2015). Phuket, Thailand.
18-20 Mar 2015 10th Global conference: Perspectives on evil. Lisbon, Portugal.
19 Mar 2015 9.30 Reviewer meets reviewed: Under a watchful eye - Self, power and intimacy in Amazonia. Harry Walker vs Paolo Fortis. BM Anthropology Library and Research Centre
23-28 Mar 2015 Vernacular religion, folk belief, and traditions of the supernatural.
26 Mar 2015 Musical instruments and material culture. RAI-Horniman Museum joint one-day conference.
26-28 Mar 2015 Face in trouble: From physiognomics to Facebook. International conference in humanities. Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland.
APRIL 2015
13-16 Apr 2015 Symbiotic anthropologies. ASA conference.
16 Apr 2015 10.00 Reviewer meets reviewed: God’s agents - Biblical publicity in contemporary England. Matthew Engelke vs Adam Reed. Anthropology Library and Research Centre, British Museum. Contact:,
16-17 Apr 2015 Fifth International Conference on Religion and spirituality in society. Berkeley, USA.
MAY 2015
23-24 May 2015 Second international conference on media and popular culture. Vienna, Austria. Contact:
JUNE 2015
9-12 Jun 2015 10th International conference on interdisciplinary social sciences. Split, Croatia.
10-13 Jun 2015 Civilizational values at the crossroads. Conference. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
11-14 Jun 2015 ACSS 2015 Sixth Asian conference on the social sciences. Theme: Power. Osaka, Japan.
16-19 Jun 2015 14th RAI international festival of ethnographic film. Venue: Bristol.
18 Jun 2015 TOURAVEL ‘15 / II. International Conference on Tourism and Travel Istanbul, Turkey.
21-26 Jun 2015 9th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific (EIPC 2015). Cultural and environmental dynamics. Ethnological Museum Dahlem, Berlin.
24-26 Jun 2015 Anthropology of hands. Conference.
JULY 2015
2 Jul 2015 London Anthropology Day 2015. Clore Centre, British Museum.
7-10 Jul 2015 1st AIBR International Conference of Anthropology. Madrid, Spain. Theme: The human being: Cultures, origins and destiny, Network of Iberoamerican Anthropologists (AIBR).
15-17 Jul 2015 IUAES Inter-Congress 2015: Re-imagining anthropological and sociological boundaries. Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.
15-17 Jul 2015 Qualitative research. International conference. Neuchatel.
26-27 Jul 2015 International conference on identity studies. Vienna, Austria. Contact:
2-5 Sep 2015 21st Annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Glasgow, Scotland.
18 Sep 2015 RAI AGM 3 pm. Followed by the Curl Lecture.
18-22 Nov 2015 AAA annual meeting. Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO
4 Dec 2015 Huxley lecture (time t.b.a.). Robin Dunbar. BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.
APRIL 2016
4-9 May 2016 IUAES Inter-Congress, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
16-20 Nov 2016 AAA Annual Meeting. Minneapolis Convention Center. Minneapolis, MN
29 Nov-3 Dec 2017 AAA annual meeting. Washington DC
14-18 Nov 2018 AAA Annual Meeting. San Jose, CA.
t.b.a. IUAES 17th World Congress. Florianópolis, Brazil


January 2015

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