Life is complicated, but we love simple answers. AI and robotics are changing the nature of work. Emojis change the way we write. Fossil Fuels were once the engine of progress, now we're in a race to change how we power the planet. We're constantly trying to save ourselves...from ourselves. Join Anthropologist and culture expert Dr. Adam Gamwell for curated conversations with humanity’s top makers and minds on our creative potential through design, culture, business and technology. Change your perspective.
Deep Storytelling: Bicultural History and Fiction with Andrew Rowen
It's a common truism that history is often written by the victors, but it is equally true that the actual story is more complicated. One of the most poignant examples of this is the "discovery" of the new world by Christopher Columbus.
So today I am super excited to have author Andrew Rowen back on the podcast. Andrew caught our attention back in 2017 for his book encounters, "Unforeseen 1492 Retold", which rather than another single sided story is a bicultural retelling that portrays the life stories of both Columbus and the Taíno chieftains from their youth to their encounters during the invasions of 1492.
Andrew is back to talk about the sequel "Columbus and Caonabó 1493 to 1498 Retold". In this episode, we explore Andrew's rationale for producing a bicultural series of novels and choosing historical fiction over historical nonfiction in order to bring to life the context thought processes and perspectives of people present at the time in the 15th century.
This also meant writing in a way that doesn't prescribe how events would turn out because of course, folks in the 15th century had no idea what was going to happen. The 1493 to 1498 epoch also entailed some of the most challenging aspects to explore such as the growing discontent between Taíno chieftans and Spaniards, Columbus' continual insistence on enslavement, the role of disease and sickness in cross-cultural encounters and the political machinations of queen Isabella and king Ferdinand. This episode has a bit of everything, you know, whether you're interested in the world of the 15th century and, or you're curious about the process of writing historical fiction, including how to do archival and on-site research and do character development in ways that make sense with the research that you're finding and the challenges of telling bicultural histories in respectful and honest ways.
Production: Adam Gamwell
Editing: Craig Stanton
Music: Crackle and Chop, Epidemic Sounds
Build Better Worlds: Anthropology for Game Design, Film and Writing
Have you wondered why fantasy stories mostly are just copies of Medieval Europe? Why pop culture has been so obsessed with zombies? Or why Black Panther and the Falcon and the Winter Soldier seemed to hit the right chord at the right time for American conversations on race? To answer these questions, we're diving into world building, the process of creating realized worlds for (mostly) fictional stories and how anthropology could literally change the game.
On this episode Astrid Countee joins Adam Gamwell to co-host a conversation with the very dynamic duo of biological anthropologist/archaeologist Kyra Wellstrom and cultural anthropologist Michael Kilman. Kyra and Michael are educators and authors, and their latest book caught our attention because it does two things at once. First, it serves as an introductory textbook for anthropology students, digging into key ideas like culture, ritual, food, power and death. But second, it’s premised around how to use anthropology for building better world for game design, fiction writing, and filmmaking.
Building a better worlds is about creating more authentic characters based on actual science and data on culture. Thus the book is both an introductory text for anthropology students and creators.
Production: Adam Gamwell
Take 2 - Pro Rees
A Nifty Piece of Work - New Fools
Ragtime - peerless
Being a Human: Adventures in 40,000 Years of Consciousness with Charles Foster
Charles Foster set out to answer one of the most perplexing questions of all - what sort of creatures are we humans? - in one of the most unique ways possible: immersing himself in experiences that evoke three central epochs in the development of consciousness - the upper Paleolithic, around 40k years ago, the neolithic, around 10k years ago when humans invented/stumbled upon and couldn’t get out of agriculture, and the Enlightenment, which ushered in the scientific revolution in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Interested in checking out Charles' new book Being a Human: Adventures in 40,000 years of Consciousness? We've got copies to give away!
Music: Epidemic Sounds
Intro - Jazz Bars - Dusty Decks
Outro - Up & Down - Toby Tranter
Editing: Craig Stanton
Research: Kiera Myles
Production: Adam Gamwell
Podcasting and the Other Side of Storytelling - Reflecting on TAL's 8th Birthday
This Anthro Life turned 8 years old in October 2021. That's a long time for a podcast. When recently invited to share what I've been working on for a newsletter, TAL's 8th birthday got me thinking about what I've learned working between anthropology and podcasting for almost a decade.
I've fancied myself a public anthropologist for a while, but it has been podcasting, and working in an unusual medium (for anthropology) that has taught me some of the most important lessons for what public anthropology actually is.
Music - Epidemic Sounds
Lenzer - A Fork Fight
Yomoti - Fansi Pan
Learning Forensics, Applying Anthropology with Gabriella Campbell
It's not everyday I get to talk with other anthropology podcasters, and even more infrequently that I get to talk with undergraduate anthropology podcasters. I'm joined on the show today by Gabriella Campbell, Gabriella is a senior at University of California Santa Barbara where she focuses on forensic anthropology, both contemporary and ancient. She's also the creator and host of That Anthro Podcast, a weekly interview show that explores the world of bioarchaeology, bones, forensics and more. Gabriella and I dig into what it's like to work in forensics while learning the trade. This includes some crucial and fascinating forensic recovery work she’s doing in response to the Monteceto mudslides.
We dig into:
- Applying forensic anthropology to the Montecito mudslides
- Contemporary forensics vs ancient forensics
- How to teach anthro earlier in kids' education, early education projects
- On podcasting, creativity and learning to trust our instincts
- Advice for undergrads - from an undergrad
That Anthro Podcast
That Anthro Podcast Instagram
Duracell - Jontha Links
Episode Art: Adam Gamwell
Don't Sell Yourself Short: How to Create a Career Plan
A job search strategy is essential, but what if you don’t even know what to look for or what you want to do? A career plan is something you can do before job searching to define the kind of work you want to do and how to engage with like minded people, so you’ve got opportunities and pathways to work you’ll find fulfilling and meaningful, regardless of industry.
While some old-school academics might see creating a career plan as selling out, Career Coach and Strategist Amy Santee and Design + Business Anthropologist Adam Gamwell, say you’re selling yourself short if you don’t. In this seminar we’ll share stories from our experiences and walk you through creating your own plan across defining your values, mapping your journey, finding your people and trying your voice.
Whether you’re a student and looking for your first job, a mid career professor or industry insider and curious about what else is out there, a career plan is relevant for anyone.
We’ll dig into defining your values as a starting point, mapping a vision of your future by looking at your past, how to take action on your plan, and learning to trust your intuition as much as the data you gather.
Today's episode is a slice from a workshop series Adam Gamwell put together with Prof Jonathan Anjaria of Brandeis University.
Amy Santee Career Coaching
Brandeis University Anthropology
Episode production and art: Adam Gamwell
Music Epidemic Sounds:
Sweet Talk - Tyra Chanty
Zanzibar - Jones Meadow
Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/thisanthrolife/message
I get excited every time I see there’s a new episode. Interviews are engaging and conversational in ways that no other anthro podcast is. As an anthro undergrad who is trying to figure out my future, this podcast has helped give me a language for talking about my interests. I got my current internship at a major tech company because I learned how to talk about my anthro major (in part through listening this podcast) in applied contexts. I’m really fascinated by issues around the future and meaning of work—which is why I loved the recent ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ in episode. Also definitely recommend this podcast for anyone with a curious mind!
Engaging and insightful
I love this podcast. It helps keep me engaged with Anthropology in a way that is consumable, insightful, and illuminating. I love starting my day listening in as I learn more about the world around me through an anthropological lens.
My favorite part is the high level overviews of books and research that helps me feel that I am still engaged with anthropology. I can’t recommend this podcast enough!
I’ve listened to every episode. Very interesting.