Australian archaeologists dropped the term “Stone Age” decades ago, and so should you

The term “Stone Age” is used to refer to early periods in human cultural evolution, and to describe cultures that are seen as “backward” or “primitive”. This attitude can be sourced back to 1877, when American anthropologist Lewis Morgan argued that all human populations progressed through three stages of development: Savagery, Barbarism, and Civilization.

Stone working was a key technology as hominids spread throughout the world, and remained so until the Iron Age, which began about 3,000 years ago. After that, their use started to decline in some parts of the world. Contrary to popular belief, stone tool technology is not simple. It is highly skilled, requiring knowledge of geomorphology, geology, fracture mechanics and the thermal properties of stone.

Want to know more? Click through to this highly informative article at The Conversation by Alice Gorman, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Space Studies, Flinders University, Australia.

About Names: Marisa: from “Star of the Sea” to Hollywood Stars

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 4th column, he looks at the history of the name Marisa.

 Marisa is an Italian, Spanish and Portuguese blend of Maria and Luisa, though in Iberia it’s also from “Maria Isabel.” Italians often interpret it as being from Stella Maris, “Star of the Sea,” a title of the Virgin Mary. Marisa was rare in the United States before the film “The Rose Tattoo” debuted in December 1955. It starred Italian actress Marisa Pavan (born Maria Luisa Pierangeli in 1932) as Rosa Della Rose, a high school senior dealing with a distraught, overbearing widowed mother, played by Oscar winner Anna Magnani.

In 1994, 2,187 Marisas were born, ranking the name 146th. In 1994, girls named Marissa also peaked; 6,245 were born, ranking it 53rd. Originally, Marisa rhymed with Lisa (the pronunciation Berenson uses) and Marissa with Melissa, but they’ve inevitably been confused. Tomei herself rhymes Marisa with Melissa. Marissa is a blend of Mary and Melissa created in 19th-century America. The oldest Marissa I’ve found in more than one census is Marissa Cays, born 1877 in Michigan, but it was probably created decades before.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Marisas in American history!

Revised Call for Nominations for the 2018 Name of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the Names of the Year for 2018. The names selected will be ones that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States. It is not necessary, however, for a nominated name to have originated in the US. Any name can be nominated as long as it has been prominent in North American cultural discourse during the past year. For example, the Overall Names of the Year for 2017 and 2016 were Rohingya and Aleppo. Charlie Hebdo, the title of the French satirical magazine, won Trade Name of the Year in 2015.

Nominations are called for in the five following categories:

  • Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people, animals, or hurricanes.
  • Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical location, including all natural features, political subdivisions, streets, and buildings. Names of national or ethnic groups based on place names would be included here.
  • Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit incorporated companies and organizations, including businesses and universities.
  • Artistic & Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium, as well as titles of art works, books, plays, television programs, or movies. Such names are deliberately given by the creator of the work.
  • Miscellaneous Names: Any name which does fit in the above four categories, such as names created by linguistic errors, names of particular inanimate objects other than hurricanes, names of unorganized political movements, names of languages, etc. In general, to be considered a name, such items would be capitalized in everyday English orthography.

Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2018. Anyone may nominate a name. All members of the American Name Society attending the annual meeting will select the winner from among the nominees at the annual ANS meeting in New York City, New York on January 4, 2019. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society. Advance nominations must be received before January 2, 2019. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, by e-mail to either Dr. Cleveland K. Evans: <> or Deborah Walker:<>

The revised Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

Call for Papers: Sustainable Geography – Geographies of Sustainability, Trondheim, Norway, June 16-19 2019

The 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting will be held in Trondheim, Norway, June 16–19 2019 and includes a panel called “Tightening the noose – the impact of constricted migration policy on sexual and gender minorities”.

As neoliberal and populist policies are enforced in countries in the EU, borders are becoming increasingly difficult to cross and welfare regimes are weakened. The options for individuals to migrate to the EU are diminished and existing migrants are left with lesser resources in host societies. Contemporary cultural politics of immigration is also increasingly organized around cultural unfitness of migrants in the host
society. Simultaneously, Western democracies have gradually marketed tolerance of sexual diversity as a distinct and inherent characteristic of their culture, distinguishing them from the homophobic rest. This while establishing a sexual humanitarian apparatus that turns out to shape, in a restrictive way, the asylum system. In this call for session presentations, we ask for scrutiny of how these shifts are affecting sexual and gender minorities, who appear as paradoxical figures in these politics.

Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted to,, and before the 10th of December. Authors will be notified about the status of their submission as soon as possible thereafter.

A PDF of this call for papers can be downloaded here.