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    Krystal D'Costa Krystal D'Costa is an anthropologist working in digital media in New York City. You can follow AiP on Facebook. Follow on Twitter @krystaldcosta.
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  • It’s True: We’re Probably All a Little Irish—Especially in the Caribbean

    A bed of clover | Photo by Adam Selwood. CC. Click on image for license and information.

    In the United States, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. This Irish national holiday celebrates Saint Patrick who is—potentially—the most recognizable of Irish saints, known for championing Irish Christianity (and using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity). The observance of St. Patrick’s Day has also been viewed as a one day break from the abstinence of [...]

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    How many TV sets do you have—and why does it matter?

    Photo by SteveStein1982. CC. Click on image for license and information

    In the early nineties, researchers predicted that at the current rate of growth, there would be two televisions per US household by 1995. It’s probably safe to say that we have likely exceeded that prediction. While our smart phones, tablets, and laptops may have a prominent place in our lives, they haven’t quite replaced our [...]

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    Is there joy in missing out?

    Photo by Kate Ter Har. Click on image for license and information.

    Researchers talk about our attachment to social media in terms of the fear of missing out (FOMO). We can’t look away from our mobile devices because we might miss the possibility to make or enhance a connection. After all, one of the benefits to having a large social network is the access to social support. [...]

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    Whose time are we celebrating for the New Year?

    Photo by Nick, CC. Click on image for license and information.

    Note: A version of this post appeared on Anthropology in Practice in 2010. It’s New Year’s Eve in the United States, and in New York City tourists and residents are getting ready for the countdown in Times Square that marks the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. This widely televised [...]

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    Our public affair with food porn

    Image by Phil Thomas, CC. Click on image for license and information.

    Do you ever feel like your social feed is overrun by pictures of food? A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project from October 2013 found that more than half of all Internet users have posted original photos or videos to a website. Thanks to the portability of cell phone cameras and the [...]

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    The Obligation of Gifts

    Photo by KDCosta, 2013.

    For those of you with Christmas trees, they probably look a little barren following the unwrapping of presents. What did you get for Christmas? And what did you give in return? Gift giving is a large part of the holiday season, but for many the exchange of presents can be a stressful exercise. Some people [...]

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    Santa Traditions Around the World

    Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "A merry Christmas." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 24, 2014.  Click on image for original link to collection.

    Earlier this week, I shared a link on Twitter to a piece on Brain Pickings on how anthropologist Margaret Mead suggested we talk to children about Santa Claus: Belief in Santa Claus becomes a problem mainly when parents simultaneously feel they are telling their children a lie and insist on the literal belief in a [...]

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    Thanksgiving Tidbits

    Photo by Satya Murthy, Creative Commons.

    Now that you’ve filled yourself with good company and good food and you’re settled on your couch, how about some light reading before the tryptophan sets in? I’ve assembled some of my favorites from around the web. What did your meal look like? The New York Times has a neat round up of recipes from [...]

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    Thanksgiving Live Blog 2015

    Our Thanksgiving table, 2013.

    Happy Thanksgiving from the D’Costas! Back in 2011, I experimented with sharing my Thanksgiving with you, Readers, and I thought it might be time for a resurrection, so welcome to our kitchen and table. This year we’re not hosting, but we’re still cooking! Instead of the traditional late dinner tomorrow that we usually prepare, we’re [...]

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    The Emergence of Death and Dying as We Know It

    Photo by KDCosta, 2011. Sleepy Hollow, NY.

    Once upon a time, people died in their homes. Up until the time of death they were cared for by friends, family members, and appointed religious leaders. (The latter reminded the dying and their loved ones of the frailty of life in preparation for the impending separation.) And following death, the deceased remained in the [...]

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