News of the Past

January 2012
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Santa Muerte: Mexico’s Saint of Death

By R. Andrew Chesnut

While tens of thousands of Mexicans have lost their lives in the ongoing drug war, millions more have become devoted to death. Saint Death (Santa Muerte) is a skeletal folk saint whose cult has proliferated on both sides of the border over the past decade. The Grim Reapress (she’s a female . . . → Read More: Santa Muerte: Mexico’s Saint of Death

The Quest for the Historical Satan

Reviewed by Gareth J. Medway

On the face of it, this is not quite the same as writing about, say, ‘The Quest for the Historical Arthur’, which implies that there was a historical King Arthur underlying the mediaeval romances, as it is rather more contentious to suggest that there was a historical Satan. The authors . . . → Read More: The Quest for the Historical Satan

The Anthropology of Food

By David Wann

Old Perspective: Food should be fast, easy, fun, and so cheap that it’s okay to waste it. Cooking doesn’t fit these criteria because it requires concentration, “extra” time, and engagement, so processed food is superior. The origins and quality of my food are not as important as their standardized, predictable consistency.

New . . . → Read More: The Anthropology of Food