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!

Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos

The book “Age of Ambition” by Evan Osnos sheds a fascinating light on China as it surges towards a leading role as a major global player. But there is much more going on than just economic development.

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?

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.

South by Southwest hipsters image, courtesy of Todd Dwyer (Flickr 2009)

Hipsters: meaningless “cool” or meaningful culture? Exploring the hipster mindset in a sympathetic fashion.

Trobriand cricket in action. Still from the film "Trobriand Cricket" by Garry Kildea and Jerry Leach

Cricket in the Trobriand Islands is different. There’s no limit to how many people can be in a team, players dress up in traditional costume, and the home team always wins. So, is it really a sport?

Jeremy Meeks mugshot

What does it mean to be a felon and also a pin-up guy? For some, Jeremy Meeks is attractive as a “bad boy,” while for others, he can’t be hot because he’s a criminal. Lindsey Feldman explores the problems with labels.

An image from the Catacomb of Priscilla. This woman has her arms outstretched as if holding Mass. Image in the public domain, from Wikimedia.

Why is it so hard to convince people that women were leaders in early Christianity? And how might scholarship help us to reassess gender roles in Christianity today?

Comic Con poster. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Never has there been a more glorious moment to be a geek: once caricatured as socially awkward outsiders, geeks are now at the leading edge of style.

A dog all rugged up for cold weather. Photo by 玄史生, via Wikimedia Commons.

Love dogs? In Vancouver, you may have little choice. In this canine-crazy city, pooch parlours reign supreme, dogs slobber over food in supermarkets, and they are even allowed in the doctor’s surgery. It’s not just a matter of personal preference, it’s a culture.

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.