The topic of Marxism in academia is hot, as it has been since The Communist Manifesto hit the presses more than 150 years ago in 1848. I’ve been reflecting on the prevalence of postmodern approaches in anthropology for a while, a topic which is especially more relevant now that more and more people are discussing them after hearing more publicly its criticisms by social science popularizers like Jordan Peterson. Continue reading “The Best Things Marxism Brought, Part I: Early Anthropology and Franz Boas (1858-1942)”
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people have issues with Marshall Sahlins. From his anti-sociobiology standpoint and disagreements with Napoleon Chagnon on the matter which lead to Sahlins’ resignation from the National Academy of Science six years ago to his complaints about the degradation of anthropology as a discipline through its rejections of its roots two years ago, Sahlins has been a disliked figure on both sides of the science wars.
I’ve been reading about the history of glasses today, and I came across the most interesting article on the use of bifocals in the animal world.
It’s kind of surprising to me that eyeglasses are nearly 800 years old in the West. Invented sometime in the 13th century, they’ve become a necessary part of life for many of us in the computer age. Interestingly enough, before their invention, the use of reading stones was fairly common in the Middle Ages (I guess before these came along you just squinted). Not much happened between the invention of glasses aside from significant improvements in optics and changes in style until Benjamin Franklin came along.
I don’t believe I mentioned it here, but I have been running a book club on a private Discord server for the last several months with a bunch of interesting people. Over the past three months we’ve read EO Wilson’s Sociobiology, Robert Triver’s Natural Selection and Social Theory, and most recently Peter Turchin’s Ages of Discord.
This month we’re moving into different territory with David Anthony’s The Horse, the Wheel, and Language. As an in-depth account of Proto-Indo-European origins, this book has been suggested by Spencer Wells as one of the best texts out there on Bronze Age Europe. If you enjoyed my post on David Reich and V. Gordon Childe, you will enjoy this book. Anyone who would like to join should feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or on my contact page here. Continue reading “Socio(Onto)Geny Book Club Update: The Horse, the Wheel, and Language”