anthropology today

a forum for readers and authors of this bimonthly periodical

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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Cover AT April 2014, volume 30 issue 2

 Front coverGDP WORLDNew York City's daily carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 as one-tonne spheres visualized to engage the 'person on the street' (still from: the gross domestic product (GDP) turns 80 this year, it is time to reflect…Continue

Tags: covers, April, 2014

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.

WILLIAM O. BEEMAN How to talk and listen to Iran

In this editorial, the author seeks to understand the cultural dynamics behind Iran’s nuclear negotiations.Wiley Online LibraryContinue

Tags: editorial, WILLIAM O. BEEMAN, April, 2014

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.

RICHARD D.G. IRVINE The Happisburgh footprints in time: Environmental change and human adaptation on the East Anglian coast

This is a reflection on time as it is perceived in coastal environments. As the soft sediments of the East Anglian coast are eroded away, the underlying evidence of past human occupation is revealed. Most recently, after a storm, a set of footprints were revealed in the silt of an extinct estuary at Happisburgh, Norfolk, UK. The footprints are thought to belong to a small group of adults and children, and have been dated to between 780,000 and 1 million years old; this would make them the…Continue

Tags: 2014, April, article, RICHARD D.G. IRVINE

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.

ANYA BERNSTEIN The impossible object: Relics, property, and the secular in post-Soviet Russia

The article analyzes a recent court case concerning the relics of two 14th-century Russian Orthodox saints, during which the Russian state ruled to confiscate the relics from the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. I examine the church’s attempts to fight back, paying particular attention to how the conflicting parties have differently framed the disputed objects’ materiality. In doing so, I link the ongoing debates over whether dead bodies can be considered property and who owns the bodies of…Continue

Tags: 2014, April, article, ANYA BERNSTEIN

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.

LORENZO FIORAMONTI The world’s most powerful number: An assessment of 80 years of GDP ideology Economic measurements and indicators play an important role in governance. As time passes, some of these

Economic measurements and indicators play an important role in governance. As time passes, some of these indicators, like the gross domestic product (GDP), have come to shape our lives more than we can imagine. Here Lorenzo Fioramonti, the author of two books on economic indicators, is invited to reflect on the 80th anniversary of GDP.Wiley Online LibraryContinue

Tags: 2014, April, article, LORENZO FIORAMONTI

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.

JANE I. GUYER The gross domestic person?

On the cusp of what is widely perceived to be seismic economic change, Fioramonti’s analysis of the history and power of the GDP is a provocation to anthropologists to unpack its underlying assumptions about the human dimensions of economic life, and to imagine a different set of assumptions for the future. He depicts the presumed most basic unit for GDP analyses, the household, as a “cage”, where all the relevant economic processes go through monetization and formulaic relationships and…Continue

Tags: 2014, April, article, JANE I. GUYER

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.

NICHOLAS C. KAWA ‘Saving the Amazon’: Conservation, international covetousness, and the politics of research

Many justifications have been made for ‘saving the Amazon’ from preserving the ‘lungs of the world’ to protecting unknown botanical wonders that might yield cures to deadly diseases. However, Amazonians have responded to these claims with charges of ‘international covetousness’, interpreting such foreign interest as a thinly-masked desire to take control of the region’s natural resources. In this article I examine some of the counter-claims that have emerged in Brazil that reflect Amazonians’…Continue

Tags: article, NICHOLAS C. KAWA

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2014 Mar 30.


Blog Posts

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…



Posted by Jill Reese on April 9, 2012 at 1:00 0 Comments

Dear all,

My colleague, Urmila Mohan, and I are organising the interdisciplinary conference 'India: A Veneration Nation?' to take place on 12 June 2012 at University College London Dept. of Anthropology. A Call for Papers is linked …


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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
Surviving tsunami: Photographs in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (to-27.04.2014); Royalty and religion: Photographs of late Nineteenth-Century Thailand (to 26.05.2014). Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PP; tel. +44 (0)1865 270927+44 (0)1865 270927;
Vikings: Life and legend (to 22.06.2014); Wise men from the east: Zoroastrian traditions in Persia and beyond (to 27.04.2014); Vikings: life and legend (to 22.06.2014); Living and dying (permanent); From temple to home: Celebrating Ganesha (to 25.05.2014); Africa Gallery (permanent). British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG; tel. +44 (0)20 7323 8299+44 (0)20 7323 8299 (information desk);
Extremes (to 02.11.2014); Whisper of the stars: Traditional life in Arctic Siberia (to 07.09.2014); Art of harmony (to 01.09.2014); 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+44 (0)20 8699 1872;
Discoveries: Art, science and exploration (to 27.04.2014); Chiefs and governors in Fiji (to 19.04.2014). Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ; tel +44 (0)1223 333516+44 (0)1223 333516;
APRIL 2014
2 April 2014 17.30-19.30 RAI research seminar: Harry Beran Innovation and originality in traditional Oceanic art.
9 Apr 2014 17.30-19.30 RAI research seminar: Christopher Farrands & Giovanni Ercolani. Anthropology and security studies.
12-13 Apr 2014 3rd International conference on social science and humanity - ICSSH 2014. Seoul, Korea (south).
30 Apr-3 May 2014 Promising uncertainties: Unsettling the future of anthropological terrain. York University, Toronto, Canada.
MAY 2014
6-13 May 2014 XXXVI International Americanistic Studies Congress. Perugia (Italy).
7 May 2014 17.30-19.30. RAI research seminar: Jonathan Skinner. Anthropology and the study of dance.
12-14 May 2014 SOCIO CRI ‘14 / Sociology and critical perspectives conference: Social movements. Istanbul, Turkey.
14 May 2014 17.30-19.30. RAI research seminar: Elizabeth Gowing. Edith Durham: On the trail of an Edwardian traveller in Kosovo.
15-17 May 2014 Exhibiting concepts, experiencing meanings: Current and future curatorial challenges. International symposium on exhibition making at UEA, Norwich.
15-18 May 2014 IUAES intercongress in Japan.
21 May 2014 17.30-19.30 RAI research seminar: Laura Bishop.The evolution of human behaviour - evidence from Kanjera South, Kenya.
27-29 May 2014 13th International conference of African studies: Society and politics in Africa. Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.
29-31 May 2014 Anthropology and photography. The British Museum’s Clore Centre.
JUNE 2014
4 June 2014 17.30-19.30. RAI research seminar: Brian Street. Anthropology in pre-university education: Negotiating a presence.
12-15 Jun 2014 ACSS2014 - The Asian conference on the social sciences. Osaka, Japan.
19-20 Jun 2014 Adopting the cultural other: Western participatory borrowings. Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, UK,
19-21 Jun 2014 Seventh global studies conference. Shanghai, China.
19-22 Jun 2014 ASA2014: Anthropology and enlightenment. Decennial conference. Edinburgh.
20-21 Jun 2014 Exchanging photographs: Making knowledge (1890-1970). Leicester, United Kingdom.
23-26 Jun 2014 Language, culture and mind VI conference. Lublin, Poland.
JULY 2014
3 Jul 2014 London anthropology day. Annual university taster day for Year 12, 13, FE students, careers advisers and teachers. British Museum’s Clore Centre.
5-7 Jul 2014 3rd global conference: Apocalypse - Imagining the end. Oxford, United Kingdom.
9-11 Jul 2014 1st global conference: Sacred journeys - Pilgrimage and beyond. Oxford, United Kingdom.
31 Jul-3 Aug 2014 13th EASA biennial conference. Collaboration, intimacy & revolution - Innovation and continuity in an interconnected world. Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, Estonia.
2-7 Sep 2014 International multidisciplinary scientific conferences on social sciences and arts. Albena, Bulgaria.
3 Sep 2014 4th RAI postgraduate conference.Whose anthropology is it anyway? Connections in the modern world. Brunel University. Contact:
7-9 Sep 2014 3rd Global conference: Time, space & the body. Oxford.
7-14 Sep 2014 Origins of the state and related subjects. IUAES Congress. Wigry Conference Centre, Poland.
11-12 Sep 2014 Memory: Forgetting and creating. Gdansk.
11-13 Sep 2014 8th Global conference: Fear, horror and terror: rituals, myths and symbolism. Inter-Disciplinary.Net
12 Sep 2014 15.00 RAI AGM at the BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum, WC1. At approx. 17.00: Henry Myers Lecture by David Wengrow. Followed by drinks reception.
3-5 Nov 2014 Knowledge / culture / economy international conference. Parramatta, NSW, Australia.
4-5 Nov 2014 Disorder - A University of Sydney Anthropology Symposium.
7 Nov 2014 17.30. Huxley Memorial Lecture by Tim Ingold. Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.
25 Nov 2014 3rd International conference on contemporary ethnography across the disciplines Hamilton New Zealand.
3-7 Dec 2014 AAA 113th annual meeting, Marriott Wardman Park & Omi Shoreham, Washington, DC
18-22 Nov 2015 AAA annual meeting. Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO
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. Brazil

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