Dating your Ancestors is Complicated: The Strange Case of Homo Naledi

Photo: John Hawks. Homo naledi has much in common with early forms of the genus Homo

On this episode, Adam and Ryan dive into the complexities of our ever evolving human family. How we understand our ancient ancestors, cousins, and ape family has the potential to impact our understanding of what it means to be human and how we are still changing. The new and exciting data we dive into this episode is all about Homo Naledi, perhaps the most recent addition to our family. As of the day we recorded this episode, April 25th, the first concrete date range for the species was publicized (but stay tuned for further developments). Rather than being very early (that is more ancient) and dating to the time of the earliest Homo Erectus specimens as originally hypothesized (some 2 million years ago), it now appears that Naledi was potentially a contemporary of the earliest Homo Sapiens (that’s us) ranging from 200 to 300 thousand years ago. This means we need to re-evaluate our genus once again and think about the complexities of dating our ancestors.

Continue reading


Culinary Catalysts and Scientific Shifts: Peruvian Quinoa in the Age of Genetics and Gastronomy

Chef Maguiña with Adam Gamwell. Property of Adam Gamwell.

This episode of This Anthropological Life presents a little differently from our normal episodes. The Society for Applied Anthropology generously allowed us to release the audio from Adam’s presentation at the SFAA 2017 Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so this episode is based entirely on this presentation. Adam discusses a quinoa gastronomy project he is working on in conjunction with Dr. Alipio Canahua Murillo and Chef José Maguiña. They are designing an agricultural-gastronomy project in the region of Puno, Peru in order to create new dishes based on traditional recipes as a means to encourage conservation of threatened varieties of quinoa. By “rebranding” a wider variety of quinoa to appeal to tourist palates, Canahua and Maguiña hope to change Peruvian perspectives on quinoa and its indigenous producers and revitalize the agricultural practices that have traditionally supported agrobiodiversity.

Check out this link to listen to the rest of the Ethnobotany, Food, and Identity Panel from the SFAAs including a Q&A Session after the talk! Continue reading


The Power of Vulnerability Revisited

Power of Vulnerability Revisited

This episode focuses on a conversation between Adam and Amy about a TEDtalk titled The Power of Vulnerability presented by Brené Brown. In this video, Brown breaks down the “wholehearted individual” one who has courage, social connection, compassion, and an appreciation for his/her vulnerabilities. They were unashamed to be vulnerable. They are comfortable with saying I love you first, putting an opinion piece out regardless of potential backlash, being authentic without fear. As Brown stresses, the wholehearted have ”the willingness to do something with no guarantees”.  It’s allowing for things to fall outside of your control. To accept the controllable and the chaotic aspects of life. Continue reading


Investigating the Untethered Journey between Psychedelic Science, Medicine, and Drug Scheduling with Hamilton Morris

Psychedelia is the culture and experiences of psychedelic substances. Where did all the research on psychedelic drugs go? Could psychedelics be used in psychotherapy? How are hallucinogenic drugs used cross-culturally? In this episode of This Anthro Life Adam and Ryan explore the world of psychedelic drugs with Hamilton Morris of Vice’s Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia. We discuss his fieldwork in the Amazon where he hunted for a locally important frog, the potential diagnostic, medicinal, and therapeutic uses of psychedelics, as well as the obstacles in the way of studying human consciousness. Special thanks to Alice Kelikian and the Brandeis Program in Film, Television and Interactive Media for sponsoring the interview!

Continue reading


Waiting w/ Serra Hakyemez

with Aneil and Ryan 
Special Guest: Serra Hakyemez

Is waiting political? Can you cut in line at Starbucks during your hectic morning commute?  In this episode of TAL we team up with Serra Hakyemez, a Junior Research Fellow from the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University to discuss her paper entitled, “Waiting, Acting Political, Hope, Doubt, and Endurance in the Anti-Terrorism Courts of Northern Kurdistan”, which focuses on the ways political detainees’ families are actively shaping and constructing community identities while waiting in the courthouse (Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar). We also discuss the pedagogical effect the process of waiting has on the families and the role of repetition.  Whether you are waiting in line or waiting for our newest TAL episode to download take some time to scroll through our notes!

Continue reading


Protesting the Powers that Be and Being the Power that Protests w/ Jara Connell

 

What does mass-protesting accomplish? Does no arrests equate success? Why is protesting disruptive? And more! In this action packed episode of This Anthropological Life, Aneil, Adam, and Ryan talk to Jara Connell about mass protesting and the strategies behind social movements.

Continue reading


When your Business Stalls, it’s time to Evolve: Unpacking Corporate Anthropology with Dr. Andi Simon

How can we make change easier? Do women lead differently from men? What is corporate anthropology? Ryan, Adam, and Aneil are back to answer these questions and more with Dr. Andi Simon. Change is hard, but with Dr. Simon’s toolkit of anthropological knowledge, games, and theater she is able to help businesses change a little easier.

We have a copy of Dr. Simon’s great book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights to give away to one lucky listener. How do you do that? Drop us a review on iTunes within a week of this episode release (Released January 25th), and email us with what review you wrote. We’ll pick a lucky winner from the reviewers and send you the book!

Continue reading