monkey's uncle

notes on human ecology, population, and infectious disease

monkey's uncle header image 4

On Anthropological Sciences and the AAA

November 19th, 2012 · No Comments

I guess the time has rolled around again for my annual navel-gaze regarding my discipline, my place within it, and its future. Two strangely interwoven events have conspired to make me particularly philosophical as we enter into the winter holidays. First, I am in the middle of a visit by my friend, colleague, and former […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Anthropology · Evolution · Human Ecology · science · Teaching

Risk Management: The Fundamental Human Adaptation

April 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

It was a conceptually dense week in class.  The first part of the week I spent talking about topics such as ecological complexity, vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience. One of the key take-home messages of this material is that uncertainty is ubiquitous in complex ecological systems.  Now, while systemic uncertainty does not mean that the world […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Anthropology · Evolution · Human Ecology

Ecology, Evolution, and Human Health

March 25th, 2011 · No Comments

Yesterday, I spent most of the day collecting content for my upcoming classes this spring and getting the course web sites together.  For the first time in a while, I will (officially) be teaching two classes in one quarter (which effectively means teaching three or four when I add the other things like lab meetings […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Anthropology · Evolution · Human Ecology

Nicholas Wade on Science and Anthropology

December 11th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Nicholas Wade, who normally writes really terrific stuff on science in the New York Times, has a brief piece on our Anthropology fracas du jour. It’s good to see an expression of concern for the place of science in anthropology in such a prominent place and by such an important science writer.  I just wish […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Anthropology · Human Ecology · Teaching

On Husserl, Hexis, and Hissy-Fits

December 9th, 2010 · 16 Comments

There has been quite a brouhaha percolating through some Anthropology circles following the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Associate in New Orleans last month.  It seems that the AAA executive board, in all its wisdom, has seen fit to excise the term “science” from the Association’s long-range planning document. You can sample some of […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Anthropology · science · Teaching

Nice Piece on Burning in the Stanford Report

May 1st, 2010 · No Comments

As part of a series of articles on interdisciplinary environmental research at Stanford, the Stanford Report has just published a nice piece on the research on Aboriginal burning in Western Australia led by Rebecca and Doug Bird. This work is supported by a grant from the Woods Institute Environmental Venture Project fund as well as […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Anthropology · Human Ecology

Jones & Bird (2008) == Evolutionary Psychology???

December 30th, 2008 · 2 Comments

So, I’ve been spending a bunch of time recently thinking about evolutionary psychology (EP). This is a field about which I have some serious reservations for a variety of reasons both technical and philosophical. That said, I do find the constant in-fighting among human evolutionary biologists tedious and think that it’s absurdly unproductive. I am […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Evolution · Human Ecology

On Modules

December 28th, 2008 · 5 Comments

As the next installment in my series on evolution psychology (see previous posts here and here), I thought that I would write about some thoughts on evolutionary modules.  As should be obvious from previous posts, I have serious concerns about evolutionary psychology.  Nonetheless, I don’t want to repeat the knee-jerk criticisms that attended the rise […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Evolution · Human Ecology

More on Buller and Evolutionary Psychology

December 25th, 2008 · 12 Comments

This is an ongoing series of meditations on evolutionary psychology inspired by my recent reading of David Buller’s piece in Scientific American.  I have been thinking quite a bit in the last year about the relationship between evolutionary psychology, human behavioral ecology, and evolutionary genetics, and maybe these ruminations will help me get my thoughts […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Evolution · Human Ecology

Buller on Evolutionary Psychology

December 23rd, 2008 · 14 Comments

Relentless critic of evolutionary psychology, David Buller recently wrote a piece in Scientific American outlining the critique he has developed over the last several years against this particular flavor of human evolutionary studies.  The author of Adapting Minds lists four ideas from contemporary evolutionary psychology (EP) that he suggests are fallacious: Analysis of Pleistocene Adaptive […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Evolution · Human Ecology