Wednesday Round Up #133

From top to drugs, with embodied cognition, animals, anthropology and mind in between.

Top of the List

Lara Deeb, On Representational Paralysis, or, Why I Don’t Want to Write About Temporary Marriage
*Temporary marriage and the double-edged sword of writing on the Middle East and Islam:

How can we produce honestly critical work about gender and sexuality without fueling racist stereotypes? One hopes that shedding light on an issue will dispel stereotypes, as they thrive on ambiguity and categorical judgments, but fears that audiences will hear only what they are listening for…

The rationale for writing about temporary marriage in Beirut is that it is an excellent example of youth-driven social change and the conflict between religious tenets and social norms. In my teaching, I’ve also found temporary marriage to be the kind of example that works to stun undergraduates into grasping the possibility that Muslim youth are not so different from them, and might in fact want to date and be good moral people at the same time, which for many of our young interlocutors in Beirut and undergraduates in the U.S. alike includes a concern for the state and future of one’s soul.

James Clifford, “The Greater Humanities”
*An excellent essay from a leading anthropologist, where he calls for recognition of the “greater humanities” within higher ed: “The Greater Humanities are 1) interpretive 2) realist 3) historical 4) ethico-political.”

Martin Rundkvist, Hope for the Humanities?
*If our work is no longer practical or interesting, what’s the point of our work? That’s the question Rundkvist ponders in his post on the future of the humanities. A contrasting view from Clifford.

Paul Mason, Islamic New Year in West Sumatra
*Vivid description of the festival of Tabuik, a remembrance of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein. You can also see a video of the festival.

The Neurocritic, Voodoo Correlations: Two Years Later
*The Neurocritic revisits one of the most controversial papers in neuroimaging two years after it first came to public light. In that public light, The Neurocritic also defends bloggers and argues that the current peer review system is flawed.

Sara Bernard, Neuro Myths: Separating Fact and Fiction in Brain-Based Learning
*Excellent guide for educators sorting through neurological studies on the “best” way to teach students.

Suparna Choudhury, CFP: Neuro-Reality Check Scrutinizing The ‘Neuro-Turn’ in The Humanities and Natural Sciences
*Call for workshop papers at the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Lorenz, Use Anthropology to Build A Human Economy
*Review of a book consisting of essays on economic alternatives to capitalist models.

Joseph Stiglitz, Alternatives to Austerity
*A Nobel Laureate in Economics proposes solutions to the current economic troubles in the U.S.

Lee Ann Cox, We Aren’t the World: A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Going Abroad
*How to travel like an anthropologist and other travel tips!

When Parents Text
*Funny texts from technologically challenged parents.

Brian Mossop, Tummy Time
*The back to sleep campaign reduced the number of deaths from SIDS, but an unintended consequence may be a delay in developing motor skills.

Shinobu Kitayama and Ayse Uskul, Culture, Mind, and the Brain: Current Evidence and Future Directions
*Great article on the model of neuro-cultural interaction and how it can reposition cultural studies to view culture as a collective process.

Lambda Alpha Beta of Oregon, Cognitive Archaeology – Cameron M. Smith, Ph.D.
*Exciting advances in understanding the brain’s development using Darwinian models.

Meg Sullivan, Think Multitasking Is New? Our Prehistoric Ancestors Invented It, UCLA Book Argues
*Our minds weren’t built like a swiss knife, but to multi-task like a swiss knife

Kate Clancy, Around the Web: Stress and Social Disparities
*Context and variation meets stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Embodied Cognition

The image is a sensory homonculus, or the literal representation of how our brains represent our bodies – not suprisingly, more use, more neurons dedicated. In one sense, this groundbreaking research early in neuroscientific history led eventually to embodied cognition, that our bodies and environment play a role in how our brains work and how we think. Embodied cognition is now reaching the main stream, challenging neuroimaging methods and getting into the popular press.

Vaughan Bell, The Brain Isn’t Going to Take it Lying Down
*Standing or lying down can have an effect on how our brain deals with anger. That in turn has major implications for neuroimaging studies that try to get at brain states while we’re lying down

Andy Clark, Out of Our Brains
*Embodied cognition in the New York Times! Or how the grey lady (well, Clark uses the example of the iPhone) is an extension of our thinking, and thus where our minds also are

Alva Noe, Life is The Way The Animal is in The World
*Rather than viewing consciousness as a product of the brain alone, we should examine how other factors, such as the environment, affect us. Mind Hacks has more on Alva Noe’s Edge interview in The Dance of Consciousness.

Alva Noe, Does Thinking Happen in the Brain?
*Noe’s most recent column on NPR

Emily Sohn, Imagine More, Eat Less
*Imagining ourselves eating is almost as good as actually eating….

Archive Fire, Merleau-Ponty, Agency and Embodied Cognition
*Getting in between transcendence and materiality

Apes and Other Species

Michael Oldani, The Rise of Multispecies Ethnography
*A good introduction to multispecies ethnography, which examines the relationships between humans and non-human organisms.

National Geographic, The Changing Ape
*Watch this fascinating documentary on chimpanzees in Senegal.

Karl Bates, Apes Unwilling to Gamble When Odds Are Uncertain
*Apes may be similar to us in that they’re reluctant to gamble when the outcomes are unknown.

Ray Johnson, Yes. Dolphins REALLY Do This
*Cool video showing dolphins creating and playing with air rings. If you’re still not impressed, they’ve also taught other dolphins how to do this!

Cognitio 2011 – Nonhuman Minds: Animal, Artificial or Other Minds
*Call for papers for the 2011 Cognito conference in Montreal.

Philippe Louâpre, Jacques van Alphen and Jean-Sébastien Pierre, Humans and Insects Decide in Similar Ways
*Our motivational processes may have developed years ago and in some ways may be no different from how insects come to decisions.

Frank Lyko, Sylvain Foret, Robert Kucharski, Stephan Wolf, Cassandra Falckenhayn and Ryszard Maleszka, The Honey Bee Epigenomes: Differential Methylation of Brain DNA in Queens and Workers
*The birds and the bees – a metaphor for nature and nature (via epigenetics) rather than nature vs. nurture. See this commentary too: Bee-havioral EpigeneticsOur Family Tree: Chimps, Bonobos And Our Commonality
*The common ancestor of Barak Obama and George Bush and other musings on the primate family tree.

Ann Berkeley, Their Maladaptive Love of Animals Helped Humans Evolve
*Our faithful pets provide us not only with companionship, but may have helped us evolve in terms of protection and hunting.


Anthropress, History of The American Anthropological Associations Annual Meetings
*Perspectives from our elder anthropologists on how the AAAs has changed over the years.

Ilana Yurkiewicz, (Don’t) Keep it Simple
*Newsroom culture has played a role in misguided and inaccurate reports on scientific studies.

Emily, THINKING is What We’re Working Towards
*Great interview with a birth activist and medical anthropologist on how birthing practices need to change.

Lisa Wade, Do We Still Think Race is a Social Construct?
*Interesting video discussing on reconsidering race as a social construct based on advances in genetic studies.

Douglas Hume, History and Education in the Circulation of Ethnographic Knowledge in the Amazon: the Yanomami Controversy, a Decade Later
*Video of a session at the AAA re-examining ethical issues raised regarding anthropological studies on the Yanomami.

Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropology
*Fascinating lecture on the how we live as technosocially connected citizens.

Ruminations on Madness, The Anthropologist and The Psychoanalyst….
*Critique of Tanya Luhrmann’s recent article “Down and Out in Chicago.”

Barbara King, Winter’s Diamonds: Perfect Passages from Four More Writers
*A heart warming selection of books to curl up with this Winter on human relationships.

Trey, Non-Traditional Family Structures and Genomics
*Examination of the shortcomings of family genetic histories – hello, history doesn’t run through the nuclear family alone


Selina, Unfamiliar Accents Turn Off Humans And Songbirds
*If you’ve ever had a visceral reaction to different accents, there might be a neurological explanation for it.

Roger Dooley, Sensory Marketing in Retail
*How retailers use our senses to entice us to buy products.

Meredith Cohn, Erasing Traumatic Memories May Soon Be Possible
*Advances in neurological studies may make it possible to delete traumatic memories.

Jim Schnabel, Controlling Your Mind with The Help of fMRI
*Promising findings on how fMRI imaging can help with addiction and other issues. When we get feedback we can react to, the mind can do wondrous things…

Science Daily, How Taking an Active Role in Learning Enhances Memory
*Get involved – it helps you learn more

SfN 2010—The Neural Circuitry of Value and Salience
*A report from the recent Society for Neuroscience meetings. Good discussion of the information processing view of dopamine function

Ed Yong, The Size of Your Brain’s Visual Centre Affects How You See The World
*A larger primary visual cortex can actually enhance are visual abilities. Really a testament for me to the role of individual variation…

Science Daily, Brain’s Architecture Makes Our View of The World Unique
*More on the study showing that brain size affects our visual skills.

Maia Szalavitz, Mind Reading: How Humans — and Some Animals — Develop a Sense of Self
*Interesting interview with neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, on emotions and our sense of self.


Alexander Buhler, Former Drug Smuggler Tells His Story
*Drug traffickers have become increasingly sophisticated in their methods, in some cases using submarines. Read a riveting account of a former smuggler, who worked on a submarine and his desperate situation that led to him trafficking drugs.

Jeff Neumann, The Life and Times of a Colombian Cocaine Submarine Captain
*Another account of the former drug trafficker.

William Easterly, The US Map of Prices of Pot
*A comparison of marijuana prices across the U.S. Guess what state has the lowest price tag?

RedOrbit, Coca Leaf Use Started 8,000 Years Ago
*Archaeological evidence shows that coca was in use for thousands of years.

Wray Herbert, The HALT principle: Fueling Healthy Life Choices
*How regulating blood sugar levels may help with impulsive disorders, like addiction.

S. Nettleton et al., ‘I Don’t Think There’s Much of a Rational Mind in a Drug Addict When They Are in The Thick of It': Towards An Embodied Analysis of Recovering Heroin Users.
*Study examining how a user’s body affects their recovery.

Le Dernier Pour La Route – Bande Annonce FR
*Trailer for a French film on alcoholism.

Jefferson Fish, Leave Marijuana Regulation to the States
*Interesting parallels between prohibition during the Great Depression and black market trade of marijuana today. Plus one of the better proposals – we need to try out different types of legislation, and we need to match drug policy better with local dynamics

NIDA, Research News
*The latest research bulletin from NIDA on studies on addiction.

Evan Harris, Government Heads for Clash With Scientists Over Drugs Advice
*New changes to the government’s drug advisory council has angered some scientists.

Decca Aitkenhead, David Nutt: ‘The Government Cannot Think Logically About Drugs’
*An interview with former UK drug advisor, David Nutt, on his unorthodox approach to studying drugs.

The Nation, Rebalancing Drug Policy
*Great series of articles on failed drug policies in the U.S.

Addiction Inbox, Marijuana Use Up, Up, Up
*The latest results from NIDA’s annual survey of US teens

Bradley Voytek, The Neuroscientific Study of Hallucinogens
*Good interview with Matthew Boggot on his recent study on the affects of hallucinogens.

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2 Responses to Wednesday Round Up #133

  1. Paul Mason says:

    Thanks for the link to my article about the Muharram ceremonies in Pariaman, West Sumatra.

    Muharram ceremonies are being observed all over the world today and the flow of visitors to my Inside Indonesia article has temporarily exceeded the bandwidth limit of their website. Hopefully, the bandwidth will be increased or renewed soon so that people can continue to access the online articles.

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