Monday, August 1, 2011

Issue 5

Anthropology Gets Physical (& Biological)
August 2011

Poster child for the synergy between culture and biology: the opposable thumb.  Photo: Ryan Anderson, 2011.


DocG said...

Congratulations on an exciting project. It's heartening to see that this open-access online journal is well on its way, with six monthly issues already "in the can."

Reading through this issue, centered on biology, I couldn't help but notice a conspicuous absence, i.e., no references at all to the latest and most exciting development in this field: population genetics, aka genetic anthropology.

This glaring omission is, very sadly, consistent with what we see in just about every other Anthro publication, and I'm wondering when people in this field are going to wake up and see the great potential of this line of research. Tons of papers have been published in this field, but almost exclusively in biological journals, sometimes in scientific journals (such as Science or Nature) and just about never in Anthropological venues of any kind.

Any thoughts on why that might be? Any plans to correct the omission?

Ryan Anderson said...

Thanks for your comment, DocG.

The selection of articles/essays here is more an artifact of who was interested in taking part in the issue than anything else. Why didn't any molecular/genetic anthros take part? Good question. The goal here is to keep extending our network of connections so that we get a diverse range of anthros and other social scientists.

An issue that focuses on genetic/molecular anthro would be a good idea. Hmmm.

Thanks again for the comment!

DocG said...

I have a feeling you're right, Ryan. Most "genetic anthropologists" see themselves as biologists first and anthropologists second. And since almost all their funding is from biological sources, I suppose they are naturally drawn to biological journals. Nevertheless, one reason they rarely submit to anthro journals is, imo, because they don't feel welcome there. Most anthropologists are either unaware of this research or, apparently, hostile to it.

I'm not a geneticist, by the way, but in fact an ethnomusicologist whose research has drawn him into this realm. My book, "Sounding the Depths: Tradition and the Voices of History" is a summary of the research I've been doing, based on various interfaces between the ethnographic, musical and genetic evidence. And I'm wondering whether anyone on your staff might be interested in reviewing it. If so, please let me know and I'll get you a copy. Victor Grauer