Popular anthropology for everyone. Exploring the familiar and the strange, demystifying and myth busting human culture, biology and behaviour in all times and places. Myths, music, art, archaeology, language, food, festivals, fun.


Welcome to the anthropocene!

Monsters, superheroes, and babes on the cover of Space War no.29: Enchanted Planet, May 1978.

How can we tell complex stories while writing clearly and persuasively? A deep reading of science fiction provides some clues.

Urinators in India. Photos via basicshit.org: stop public urination, Flickr.

Public urination is a frequent and visible occurrence in many cities across India. Measures to prevent it have had mixed success. But what exactly is the harm?

Jack Kerouac Adler signpost, San Francisco, California. Photo by Dominic Simpson, via Wikimedia Commons.

While the Beat Generation’s influence has waned with time, in Brazil there has been a resurgence of interest in this group of misfits and their values.
Why Brazil, and why now?

Stamp out Racism graffiti, Eblana Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Auigust 2010. Image by Ardfern, via Wikimedia

Tumblr is an interesting place to observe social justice in action. It hosts networks of anti-racist bloggers who resist the everyday racisms they experience. But some people view this anti-racism as inauthentic. Why?

Monument 6, the element of Tortuguero most commonly associated with belief in a 2012 apocalypse. Photo by Alfredo Sanchez, reproduced by Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

Is surviving the apocalypse a matter of consumer choice? Why companies like Vivos are making a killing out of luxury bunkers and survivalist reality TV.

Promotional poster for The Walking Dead

Does your daily life make you feel like a zombie? An analysis of The Walking Dead explains how mixing fantasy and reality can give us that impression.

A strike in Portugal. Photo by Mauro Rodrigues.

What does Portugal look like to a local who has lived overseas? Pretty weird, it seems. Bureaucracy, temperament, and traffic behaviour are among the oddities observed in this article.

A Young Man and a Lady, by Konstantin Somov (1916). Source: Wikimedia Commons (2011). Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Cougars – women who date younger men – became a media phenomenon in the 2000s. However, mainstream media’s discussion of them was largely based on myth. Here are some historical facts about age difference in couples.

A selection of Indian food. Photo by Gillian Bowan.

Had your lunch? Why eating is such a serious matter in Bangalore – and how you can learn to navigate India through food.

Farts can be sacred when you put your heart into it. By Bart Everson [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Around the world, farts incite hostility, laughter, and embarrassment. Why? Is it the foul odor, the explosive sounds, the suggestion of shit? A cross-cultural exploration of breaking wind.

Fresh juice for sale in Guatemala. Photo by Ioulia Fenton.

On a short morning walk, I was indulging in the experience of what makes us human: contact and relationships with other human beings. Consumption, often viewed as impersonal, builds relationships by bringing people together.

"Wheelchair on the Beach" by kris krüg via Flickr.

Why is it that disabilities, or how we react to them socially, are seldom mentioned in day-to-day conversations? Kastner explores studies of disability by anthropologist Joan Ablon.