Wade Davis - The Wayfinders

Wade Davis, The Wayfinders, and more from anthropology blogs

Thank you to reader and archaeologist Hugh McKenzie for highlighting the Wade Davis book The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. The audio portion of the lectures is archived at the CBC Massey Lectures link below, and the book gets fantastic reviews on Amazon. So, first some links to The Wayfinders by Wade Davis and then good stuff from the anthropology blogs.

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World
Wade Davis
Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world’s indigenous cultures. In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true Lost Civilization, the people of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the Earth really is alive, while in the far reaches of Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive. Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy–a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.

Wade Davis - The WayfindersThe 2009 CBC Massey Lectures, “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World”, Wade Davis
Of the 7,000 languages spoken today, fully half may disappear in our lifetimes. This does not have to happen. The other cultures of the world are not failed attempts to be modern, failed attempts to be us. Each is a unique and profound answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? When asked that question the peoples of the world respond with 7,000 sources of knowledge and wisdom, history and intuition which collectively comprise humanity’s repertoire for dealing with all the challenges that we’ll face as a species in the coming centuries. Every culture deserves a place at the council of the human experience.

CBC Massey Lectures, 2 November 2009

On Learning Entitlement or the Seminar That Changed Me, Gina Athena Ulysse
I had signed up for this interactive seminar with a focus on expertise, thought leadership and impact. The target audience was mostly women. The premise: white upper class males write 80 percent of opinion pieces submitted to newspapers. The goal of the seminar was to impart those under-represented in the media with skills that encouraged them to become contributors and in the process move the dial to diversify public debate.

Our Babies, Ourselves, Meredith Small
That’s how fast these cultural traditions and policies can change, and how deep the effects can be. Because no one really thinks about this intersection between biology and culture, and what happens when you mess with Mother Nature.
Note: Recently added Meredith Small’s new blog to the big Anthropology Blogs 2013 list. Thanks to Erin Taylor of PopAnth for the alert!

Our Babies, Ourselves, 27 January 2013

Watching teeth grow, Peter Reuell
For more than two decades, scientists have relied on studies linking tooth development in juvenile primates with their weaning as a rough proxy for understanding similar landmarks in the evolution of early humans. New research from Harvard, however, challenges that thinking by showing that tooth development and weaning aren’t as closely related as previously thought.

Harvard Gazette, 28 January 2013

The limits of Karl Polanyi’s anti-market approach in the struggle for economic democracy, Keith Hart
It is odd that Polanyi sometimes reduces the structures of national capitalism to an apolitical “self-regulating market.” For his analysis of money, markets and the liberal state was intensely political, as was his preference for social planning over the market. His wartime polemic, reproducing something of his opponents’ abstractions, was more a critique of liberal economics than a critical account of actually existing capitalism. This would explain the lingering confusion over whether he thought a “disembedded” market was possible or was just a figment of liberal ideology, market fundamentalism. Similarly, we might argue today either that neoliberalism did effectively disembed the market economy or that its claim to have done so was a mystification of the invisible political processes of rentier finance in which markets are still embedded. In either case, the post-war turn to social democracy or “embedded liberalism”–the apogee of national capitalism–was hardly anticipated by The Great Transformation. We should not repeat this error when we draw inspiration from Polanyi in the struggle for economic democracy today.
Note: Thank you to Ryan Anderson at Savage Minds for highlighting this piece and my Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History – Geography, States, Empires.

The Memory Bank, 16 January 2013

Social Media in the Classroom, Adam Van Arsdale
I want you to engage with the subject of this class, the people active in the field, and all things anthropology ALL THE TIME! Use technology to help.
Note: Be sure to revisit the always-helpful Best practices and tips for Twitter in the higher-ed classroom by John Hawks.

The Pleistocene Scene, 29 January 2013

Overview: OSEA Field Study Abroad Trainning Programs
OSEA offers intensive, on-site fieldwork training in ethnography, teaching English as a Second Language, and intensive Maya language learning. Different programs are available to suit the needs and interests of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professionals and other persons who are not students who have a need to develop new skills in interdisciplinary research methodologies. The OSEA training programs are designed to be flexible while retaining a structure for hands-on, interactive learning for small groups. OSEA Ethnography Field School and Teaching English Service Learning include introduction to Maya for fieldwork and Spanish refresher coursework. All programs include Educational Excursions within the Yucatán and Field Trips to Chichén Itzá.

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