23 episodes

What makes you … you? Is it your DNA, culture, environment? SAPIENS hosts Jen Shannon, Esteban Gómez, and SAPIENS.org Editor-in-Chief Chip Colwell speak with anthropologists from around the globe to help us uncover what makes us human. Subscribe now to learn more.

The SAPIENS podcast is supported by the Wenner-Gren
Foundation and produced by House of Pod.

SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human SAPIENS.org

    • Social Sciences

What makes you … you? Is it your DNA, culture, environment? SAPIENS hosts Jen Shannon, Esteban Gómez, and SAPIENS.org Editor-in-Chief Chip Colwell speak with anthropologists from around the globe to help us uncover what makes us human. Subscribe now to learn more.

The SAPIENS podcast is supported by the Wenner-Gren
Foundation and produced by House of Pod.

    What Does it Mean to be Human? Your Questions, Answered

    What Does it Mean to be Human? Your Questions, Answered

    In this season 2 finale of the SAPIENS podcast, hosts Jen Shannon, Chip Colwell, and Esteban Gómez field questions from listeners on Twitter and at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science about what it means to be human. They address human origins and self-awareness, discrimination, social media, and more!

    • 25 min
    Does Generosity Come Naturally?

    Does Generosity Come Naturally?

    When anthropologist Cathryn Townsend headed into the field in 2009 to study generosity, she knew the project was for her. That’s because she was the only person, other than anthropologist Colin Turnbull, who had lived and studied with both the Mbuti people of the Congo region and the Ik of Uganda, she says. One community was known for its egalitarianism and the other for its selfishness. Tasked with studying generosity in the Ik tribe decades later, Townsend shares her insights.

    • 33 min
    How Belonging Shapes the Vaccination Crisis

    How Belonging Shapes the Vaccination Crisis

    Anthropologist Elisa Sobo never wanted to study the issue of vaccination. The topic was too fraught, she says, and she didn't want to touch it. But then she initiated a children’s health study at a school in California. Today her work on vaccine hesitancy offers insights into how those on opposing sides might better understand each other and work through this highly controversial issue.

    • 25 min
    The Deep Roots of Navajo Country Music

    The Deep Roots of Navajo Country Music

    What is it about certain musical traditions that cause them to take root in communities far away from where they originated? Anthropologist Kristina Jacobsen leads SAPIENS hosts Jen Shannon and Chip Colwell on a musical journey into the U.S. Southwest to understand the phenomenon that is Navajo country music. In addition to authoring the book The Sound of Navajo Country: Music, Language, and Diné Belonging, Jacobsen is a singer-songwriter.

    • 34 min
    Are Colors Universal?

    Are Colors Universal?

    Remember the meme #TheDress? Was it white and gold, or blue and black? With the help of Nicola Jones, a freelance science journalist who writes for Nature and SAPIENS, SAPIENS host Jen Shannon explores the question of color perception to find answers. She learns about the book The World Color Survey, an Amazonian tribe in Peru whose language has no color words, the biology of the human eye. 

    • 30 min
    Stringing Together an Ancient Empire’s Stories

    Stringing Together an Ancient Empire’s Stories

    Anthropologist Sabine Hyland attempts to uncover the secrets held in twisted and colored Andean cords called khipus. Thanks to the collaborative approach of anthropologist Sabine Hyland and local communities, outsiders are finally coming to understand what these khipus mean—for the people of the Andes and for the rest of us.

    • 33 min

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