Anthropologists are lauded for the bravery of their fieldwork and the nuance of their social theories. Seldom do they get credit for something else -- the sheer coolness of their diagrams.
John Curran, a senior anthro major* at George Washington University is trying to remedy that: This summer he posted some seventy-odd of the most fascinating scholarly graphics that he's come across in his brief, passionate acquaintance with the field. They include:
Claude Levi-Strauss's classic depiction of the relationship between nature and culture:
A 19th-century schematic created by a tribesman on the Tuamotu Islands, depicting the organization of the cosmos, saved by a Western observer and later reproduced in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, in 1919. The drawing was one of the inspirations for Margaret Mead's journey to Samoa:
And, from a 1992 article by Pitzer College's Claudia Strauss, "What Makes Tony Run?", a depiction of the forces driving one man to adopt a hobby that set him apart from other family members:
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.