20 December 2007

New blog: Neuroanthropology

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Anthropology at Macquarie
Neuroanthropology is a collaborative weblog created to encourage exchanges among anthropology, philosophy, social theory, and the brain sciences.

Here is the blog statement:

“Neuroanthropology is a collaborative weblog headquartered in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. We hope that it will bring together scholars from around the world interested in the implications of new findings in the brain sciences for social, cultural, and psychological theory in anthropology.

In general, cultural anthropology has not kept abreast of new research in the neurosciences so that our theory of culture does not sufficiently take into account what we now know about the brain. A more open exchange is likely to produce a cultural anthropology that is not only more scientifically plausible, but also much more scientifically engaged with those interested in cultural variation (although they might not call it that) in a host of fields. We may find new evidence to work with on cultural theory, but we may also find new collaborators and new audiences, as long as we learn to speak their languages.

Neuroanthropology‘ is a broad term, intended to embrace all dimensions of human neural activity, including emotion, perception, cognitive, motor control, skill acquisition, and a range of other issues. Unlike previous ways of doing psychological or cognitive anthropology, it remains open and heterogeneous, recognizing that not all brain systems function in the same way, so culture will not take ahold of them in identical fashion. Although we believe that human neural structure is biological and the product of evolution, we also recognize that the development processes shaping each individual include a host of other forces as well, so that we cannot privilege any single cause over all others.”

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