The Challenge of Public Dissemination

9 Jul Featured Image -- 322

Originally posted on Welcome to the AAA Blog:

The following post was submitted by Elisa (EJ) Sobo, Professor of Anthropology, San Diego State University.

The New York Times recently featured an op-ed piece titled ‘Academics seek a big splash.’ In it, Noam Scheiber assesses recent changes in how scholars relate to the media. Concurrently, Huffington Post published ‘An anthropological approach to California’s vaccination problem,’ which concerned a forthcoming peer-reviewed anthropological article of mine regarding vaccine refusal. The essay, and news of it, spread quickly over the Web.

As Scheiber notes in the ‘big splash’ piece, although academics “once regarded the ability to attract attention with suspicion” we “increasingly reward it.” Our newfound interest in cultivating mass publicity is in part due to the fact that funding agencies like it when the work they sponsor is in the news. This “has led to a new model of disseminating social science research through the media.” When journalists…

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Archaeology Workshop: Avebury the Henge Years

6 Jul Featured Image -- 320


Sounds like an amazing experience if you’re in southern England on 14 July!

Originally posted on FragmeNTs:

On Tuesday 14 July the Curator of our Museum Dr Ros Cleal and I will be offering you the opportunity to step  into the world of the Avebury henge builders for the day. We’ll be sharing some of our latest discoveries; I’ll be taking you on a field visit to Avebury Henge and Stone Circles and Ros will be giving you the opportunity to see finds from the Museum collections that are normally behind closed doors.

Take a look at our events listings to find out more and to book yourself onto a journey into our ancient past.

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Where have I gone?

5 Jul

In 2011-2012 I was teaching 1-2 classes and loving the additional avenue of discussion provided by blogging. Somewhere along the way, my class load increased to 8 between Mt. Hood Community College, Washington State University-Vancouver, Clark College, and Ashford University. The students and classes, spanning all four fields of anthropology, at these institutions has been a lot of fun. But clearly, my blog production (which was never great) has slowed down.

If you’re interested in smaller doses of my scientific earnestness and geeky anthro enthusiasm – or want to share your ideas/discoveries – please check Facebook (Jay Fancher) or Twitter (@jfancherphd).

Go Anthro!


Charleston: Continuing the Conversation

2 Jul Featured Image -- 316

Originally posted on Welcome to the AAA Blog:

It has been two weeks since the mass shooting took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Makeshift memorials are still being placed on the grounds outside under the hot summer sun and, like the new floral arrangements that arrive daily, the horror remains fresh in our minds. As it should. The conversations on race and racism need not be pushed aside to make way for the next tragic event for that will come soon enough. It needs to continue and remain prominent in our headlines and our households until, as the Confederate flag is destined to be, racial intolerance is taken down once and for all.

Racial hatred need not exist. Through more than a century of anthropological studies on race and culture, we now understand that human behavior is learned, conditioned into infants beginning at birth, and always subject to modification. Our…

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Everything turns to candy

10 Jun


Hidden (and not-so-hidden) sugar is everywhere.

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

Sadly, Tim Horton’s was outside security at the Vancouver airport, so I failed to secure any donuts before I got to the departure gates. However, I did have one for lunch yesterday, after a creditable meal of a ham and swiss sandwich and a giant frozen lemonate (which gave me my first real case of brain freeze). As dessert, I essayed the “maple dip” donut suggested by one reader, but I found it mediocre. The sandwich was much better.  Dejuner:


I was forced, then, to have my morning pastry at the overpriced Starbucks inside the airport. While waiting in the huge line, I noticed how slowly it was moving. And that was because many of the customers, instead of just getting coffee (110 calories with whole milk, tall version), were ordering versions of Starbucks’s “candy coffee”, i.e. caramel chocolate macchiato (240 calories, tall, whole milk), cinnamon dolce latte whip…

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Say Hello to Australopithecus deyiremeda, A Newly Discovered 3.4 Million Year Old Hominid

29 May Featured Image -- 306

Originally posted on

This fragment of upper jaw (shown) was discovered sitting on top of the sediment in the Woranso-Mille area of central Afar in Ethiopia. Anthropologists have now identified it as belonging to a new species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus deyiremeda that lived between 3.3 million and 3.5 million years ago This fragment of upper jaw (shown) was discovered sitting on top of the sediment in the Woranso-Mille area of central Afar in Ethiopia. Anthropologists have now identified it as belonging to a new species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus deyiremeda that lived between 3.3 million and 3.5 million years ago

A study published in Nature today announces the 2011 discovery of Australopithecus deyiremeda a hominid that lived between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago. The species is represented by a maxilla, mandible and dentition found in the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia about 22 miles from the spot where the remains of Australopithecus afarensis were found. A. afarenis is thought to have lived between 3.9 million and 2.9 million years ago.

The size of the jawbone and the shape of the teeth of the new species resemble that of afarensis, but the researchers lay claim in their paper…

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3.3 Million Year Old Stone Tools Predate Homo By 500,000 Years

21 May


Another nail in the “Homo” as first toolmakers coffin?

Originally posted on

149 stone flakes, hammers and anvils, found off at the Lomekwi 3 site on the shores of Lake Turkana, appears to have been crafted more than 3.3 million years ago — 500,000 years before our genus Homo. The authors reported their findings in Nature this week. Sonia Harmand and her team accidentally stumbled upon the ancient artifacts after taking a wrong turn and found a different place with stone tools on the surface of a site called Lomekwi 3. You can read more about their discovery at The Conversation.

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