Forgetting What We Have Forgotten

When you think about the NFL, you typically think about a billion-dollar company that is one of the largest and most successful in the country. This football tycoon seems to have everything under control and seems to have perfected all areas of football and the business of football, right? What could possible destroy this billion-dollar industry? Sadly it may be as simple as one word, concussions.

Concussions seem to be a relatively new problem, in the past 10 years; all every athlete hears about is concussions. Athletes are now not going to trainers or doctors with headaches because they are afraid it will be a concussion and they will have to stop playing. As discussed in the article, Concussion Memory Problem, Emily Harrison tells us that concussions have been a known issue that has been swept under the rug. She tells us that many people knew about concussions in the early 1900s and knew they were a serious health problem. However, the former city commissioner of Marshall, Texas says, “once a society gets to know something is unsafe, we forget there was a time we didn’t.” Although this may be a true quote, we cannot forget that there was a time we did know about the pains and risks of concussions.

In a culture where masculinity is strived for and desired it makes sense that something that could potentially ruin football would be brushed under the rug. As our culture grows and changes, so has our idea of masculinity. In today’s society, we now have a more modern look at masculinity and do not require it from our males all the time. Now advocacy groups have substantial infrastructure that hasn’t existed in the past, and they are able to speak about this growing and problematic issue. This change has allowed the concern about concussions to come forth and be heard, and not to be forgotten again.

Total Control to Total Racism

Would you play a game where you could control everything? What about if you could control lightning, earthquakes, volcanoes, and even, sharks? Now what about if you add people? Well to most of the world they answered yes to these three questions, as the app Pocket god, a topped apples list of best selling apps in the recent week. This new app lets you have total control of all the elements and the even “islanders”. You can toss, drown, light them on fire, or feed them to the sharks whenever you want, and the “islanders” just keep coming back. Sounds like a harmless game right?

Many customers are shocked and bewildered at the thought that apple would let this application go into the stores. In the blog, Pocket God, author P. Kermin Friedman discuss the game and poses some very interesting questions. For example, why is the game allowed to be downloaded? The game clearly shows darker skin colored people in green skirts on an island with the Easter Island Statue in the background. Is our society so racist that this doesn’t even cross our mind when we swipe away at these “islanders” and lead them to their death. As fun as the game may be, one cannot ignore some of the blatantly racist points, even if they were unintentional. If these islanders were black or Jewish, people would be up in arms and protesting against apple, what makes pacific islanders so different? As a culture, have we grown so accustomed to racist that this doesn’t even come to our attention? Or have we just decided to look the other way? As a response to these hateful posts, the company is making a new Pocket god, and adding some minor changings, including changing the name from “islanders” to “oogs”. Maybe the name change will soften up the criticism.

Creativity Molded by Environment

“Creativity isn’t a divine gesture. It’s a messy, often highly political social process,” reads an especially provocative line from John McCreery’s article in Popular Anthropology, which is titled “Creativity, what is it?” Indeed, that seems to a question quite frequently asked across the arts (and all fields of study for that matter, and as McCreery points out: the answer may relate much more to the social setting of the creator and their experience with the medium. Often, especially relating to science, creativity is thought to be the application of “new combinations of materials from diverse sources,” with an original product in mind. McCreery argues in part that aspects such as the individual’s social setting can play a highly influential role in the creative process, and that often times creativity is centered around one’s ability to react to a specific set of guidelines. In this way, anthropology can begin to be used to look at the creative processes of individuals, as the groups they are in and lives they live can often prompt creative thinking through limitation or inspiration. If a client needs X, Y, and Z in a product, and on top of that you are limited in your resources and must manage your personal time as well, your creativity will be tested in ways that otherwise would not be seen. Perhaps your client needs a very specific product, or you are working in a group that doesn’t cooperate, or your cultural surroundings hinder your creativity; all of this can be fuel with which to spark a creative energy that is in fact even more powerful.

Disputes over Climate Change

Climate Change seems to be a troubling area of study because, as expressed in Merrill Singer’s article, there are people who disagree with the idea and its causes. Ms. Singer described in her article how even with all of the information about it today “… climate change denial thrives”. She even brings up an instance where the writers of a textbook for 6th grade students in Texas changed the information to state that: “…Scientists agree that Earth’s climate is changing. They do not agree on what is causing the change”. This was noted as being a false statement as many scientists “…do agree on what is causing climate change, human behavior” this was therefore misinforming the students.

In an interview with Shirley Fiske, identified as the American Anthropological Association’s Global Climate Change Task Force Chair, she discusses three main points (see interview) that “distinguish” Anthropology from other fields of study and the way they “…see climate change”. She states in her second point how: “The drivers of climate change are, ultimately, cultural behaviors, decisions and actions. Cultural values and behavior are driving climate change – not emissions, populations, and land use changes.” To be able to disprove the information such as that in the textbook example above, we must know, can this also be supported by people in other fields of study? Understanding the views of people on this topic may be helpful for collaboration and gaining better knowledge to support the presence of climate change and understand people’s beliefs better.

Singer, Merrill. “Anthropology and Climate Changes: Climate Change Denial: The Organized Creation and Emotional Embrace of Unsupported Science Claims.” Anthropology News. N.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.  <;.

Interview between Judi Pajo and Shirley Fiske:

Fiske, Shirley. “Terms of Climate Debate: Q and A with Shirley Fiske, AAA Global Climate Change Task Force Chair.” Interview by Judi Pajo. Anthropology News, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. <;.

Anthropology’s Long Tail, or AAA 2.0

In the blog post does anthropology have a long tail, it starts off discussing about the idea of vetted ideas and rejected ideas and why some ideas are killed while others live on. It then refers to an article written in 2004 that depicts a graph used to show areas of sales for book stores in comparison to Amazon which holds a more diverse range of purchasable goods. How this all ties in is where things become interesting. The blog begins to break down the idea of the 2.0, starting with the internet and how it has diversified over time to the point that when there are new updates to internet programs, users simply get notification. While before people would have to wait for announcements or release of new technology in the past.
I think that the author of this blog post was right when it came to culturally applying the idea of change through technology. The author’s example of how libraries will be changing and how it may get to the point where they’re are no longer found in buildings was really powerful because libraries have been a sign of great wealth in knowledge for not just individuals but whole countries as well. Technology is going to be changing the cultural norm of going to the library to get research items and or going to the library to get a simple book to read. Instead, there is the potential of getting all need information electronically.

Works cited

Silent but deadly

Oh the silent but deadly fart. Almost everyone is embarrassed to admit that they have farted or have done it in public. While farts are seen as offensive, we also have to consider the fact that they are sometimes uncontrollable. Farts believe it or not have way more cultural and gender context than you would ever think. In this article by Kirsten Bell she informs us on farting across several cultures. While in North American cultures farts are addressed with less criticism, other cultures find them to be discourteous and highly offensive. For instance in the Indian tribes of Brazil, the Suya and Bororo are to avoid farts are at all costs. If anyone farts in public they must take part in spitting, coughing, and hacking to expel the harsh odor from their bodies. Bell also talks about it is less accepting when females fart.

I find it extremely interesting to know that farts are actually taken with way more seriously among other cultures and the meanings associated with them. I feel that when it comes to women and farting it brings the notion that women are not allowed to fart because it seen as un-ladylike. This makes farting socially unacceptable for females and suggests that they are incapable of this. Bell goes on to conclude when we fart we should take a moment to realize the abject power of the fart.


A Deeper Understanding of Anthropology

While Anthropologists are often viewed as doing work overseas, using participant observation and the ethnographic method to better understand the culture of a community and its individuals, anthropology is much more than that.  Graduate student Myeashea Alexander, who studies at CUNY Hunter College, describes her discovery of the importance of the study of anthropology after teaching some basics of the  subject to a students at a New York public school.  While the residents of New York aren’t exactly an isolated tribe, Alexander expresses how even though these students don’t live in a nearly inaccessible region of the globe, their community is separated by its inability to provide the individual with a traditional support structure at the fault of its sociopolitical location.

As Alexander stood in front of this wide eyed group of students, she had the realization of the importance in teaching anthropology. In educating younger generations she is helping these children come to the realization that using anthropology, they can discover a deeper understanding of themselves and others in their community.  In her article We Can’t Be What We Can’t See, Myeashea Alexander arrives at the conclusion that Anthropology is an interesting discipline,  that inspired the children she taught at that public school in Brooklyn. She also discovered that its of value to educate, and intrigue, youth about the subject.  Anthropology can help these kids develop a better understanding of themselves, their community, and other individuals in their community.

Real zombies and life after death for the living

In an Indonesian village called the Toraja people dig up their dead and clean them. This is for a ceremony known as the “Ma’nene” or “The ceremony of cleaning corpses”. The dead that have died in a place not of their origin are dug up, cleaned, dressed in new clothes after which their loved ones travel to the place of death and accompany them back to the village; This is in accordance with the Torajan belief that the spirit of the dead must return to his village of origin. This seems bizarre to many people and some would even criticize the Toraja village for this. But it is paramount that we keep in mind their values and beliefs which shaped this ritual and that it could be poles apart from our own values and beliefs.

Many people say that the dead live on in the hearts of the living and this makes it more difficult for the living to find a sense of closure. Just as the Torajan villagers gain a sense of closure on the occasion of “Ma’nene”, different cultures around the world have their own ways of  finding closure.

In the west, mourning is the period during which the living feel deep sorrow over the passing of their kin. However, many also believe that mourning is a process that one must undergo to and complete in order to gain a sense of closure. In the article “Finding my muse while mourning” by Chelsi West, she touches upon her own experience with mourning after the passing of her father. She writes about the difficulty she has every year around the time of his death and the feelings of “melancholy that lingers after a loss”. She writes about how her father helped mould her writing and it becomes apparent from her article that ‘writing’ is a thread that connects her and her father. In the end she concludes by writing that instead of writing through the grief, she will embrace it and write with the grief, she adds in the last few lines “while we try to make sense of it all, we remember just that: we are all learning how to navigate.”

Works Cited


So What can You do With Anthropology?

So, you’re about to enter the professional field of Anthropology.  There are a number of traditional paths you can take; working as a participant observant studying how other cultures “make meaning, “ or even teaching the subject as a professor of a prestigious college.  But the field of anthropology is expanding, crossing over to other fields creating an exciting diversity of job opportunities.  One of the possible options presented in Emilie Venables’ piece on Anthropology and Humanitarian Aid, describes how anthropologists are working with the Doctors without boarders/Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) aid program to help understand the culture of the people and places that require their assistance, and work with the doctors find ways to assist those people within their cultural limits and restraints.

In her article she recounts how she used her position to collaborate with doctors to help a pregnant HIV positive woman.  This woman, in order to protect the stability of her child’s future, didn’t want to take the medication keeping her healthy and protecting her baby from the illness. She didn’t take the medication in his presence in fear that he would discover her pills.   Due to her cultural background, she didn’t want the father, who was also her and her baby’s sole financial provider, to discover her health status.  She was worried he would pull his financial support upon this discovery.  For this case, the positon of the anthropologist is to work with doctors to assist the patient in the best way maneuvering within the cultural restraints and complications.

Venable concludes that due to the expansion of the field of anthropology, there are a plethora of new and interesting job options to best fit the interests of any expert entering the field.  She also explains how by applying an ethnographic lenses to her specific humanitarian work, she is experiencing the true versatility of her discipline.  She can’t deny she must work within the restraints of her domain, but due to the expansion, the professional work is realizing and taking advantage that the unique tools and outlook that anthropologists have.

The Power of Women in Haiti

In this article, Timothy Schwartz speaks about gender inequality in Haiti among women as he proves that they do have status. He summarizes information from Beverly Bell author of Walking Fire to argue from his side how she in some ways is not completely correct. I feel like for a third world country like Haiti many people may mistaken it for a place where Haitian woman are repressed. Instead Tim Schwartz informs us that Haitian women  have more status than what people actually think.  With his experience in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Schwartz is able to tell us from a first hand experience what he has observed in the Haitian society.
 Due to our knowledge of gender roles, today in society it is safe to say we see men as the heads of the household and that they play a crucial part in the family dynamic while the duty of the women in lessened. This is easily said because it is something that is seen as normal as far as gender roles go. While it is easy to assume these gender roles, it is important to know about the culture before assuming gender inequality exists there.