Anthropologist Underground

Anthropologist Underground
October 13
I'm Terrie Torgersen Peterson. I hold a BA in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming. I've done archeological field work at Haluzta in Israel, San Juan River cliff dwellings in the American Southwest, and in the Big Horn Canyon in Wyoming. I'm currently a writer and stay-home mom to two gorgeous, laughing children. I enjoy exploring the intersection of science and culture and my own life as ethnography. I also write for and You can email me: anthropologistunderground [at] gmail [dot] com.


I have a new gig on the Amateur Skeptics Podcast! The format is really fun. It's regular folks talking about current events, science, critical thinking, culture, and atheism. Go take a listen (I debut on ep. 85) and chime in with your take in the comments. 

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NOVEMBER 8, 2012 1:07PM

A Good Face For Radio!

Elizabeth Blessing is interviewing me! Me! On Saturday 11/10. Feel free to call in and share your perspective.  Here's the link, and the beta: 


On Feminism and Vaccination

On my next "Lost Coast Blues" show, I interview writer and anthropologist, Terrie Torgersen Peterson,… Read full post »

JULY 24, 2012 11:50AM

Bare Curious

American pubic grooming trends have evolved over time, and there appears to be a correlation with age, where younger people tend to remove more hair than older people do. Speaking anecdotally, not many women I know of in my age cohort ( 40-ish) go completely bare.

I and many of
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MAY 14, 2012 12:31PM

Fecal Mythology



The following may be NSFW and contains possible abuse memory triggers.

Defecation is the great equalizer. Everyone drops trou from time to time. Seriously, everyone. Members of the kingdom animalia, which includes the popular girls in high school, dictators, presidents, att… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 13, 2012 11:51AM

Uncivilized Society


I don’t know how many of you have.....

...Gay friends......(laughter)

...Black friends.....(laughter)

...Muslims living in your city....(laughter)

...Spanish-speaking laborers....(laughter)




But I have onRead full post »



 Actors’ representation of American political discourse.


Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler examine major psychological currents that contribute to dysfunction in American politics in their book, Authoritarianism and Polarization in American PoliticRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 6, 2012 4:12PM

Science is Real!

The accessiblity for writing in public and self-publishing is amazing. I feel very fortunate to enjoy a few venues in which to do this. I have a passion for factual reality, and I want to spread the good news.

In real life I
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JANUARY 3, 2012 4:40PM

Non-Expert Review: Surly Cross-Check

I’ve had a number of character-building opportunities over the last six months. In late May we had to euthanize our beloved dog. Over Memorial weekend we moved from our little house in a small Wyoming town to a slightly less little house the exponentially larger Denver metRead full post »
Editor’s Pick
JULY 22, 2011 4:55PM

I Can Dress Myself, Thank You.

Although I am a godless liberal, I am not generally opposed to religion. I understand that religion has the potential to do a lot of good for many people. I realize that shared mythologies can be powerful contributors to cohesive societies. That said, what I amRead full post »
Editor’s Pick
JULY 3, 2011 11:07AM

Gerontophilia (Sex!) and Linguistics

Image via clicker 
I’ve written about linguistic relativity in the past. Briefly, there is ongoing and evolving research that attempts to explore the relationship between acquired language and perceptions of reality. The classic example from way backRead full post »
JUNE 27, 2011 10:17AM


Is this thing on?

 Sorry for the silence.  I have a few things piled up in the hopper, but the last month or so has been chaotic.  We're settling into our new house and city, and I should have time to restart regular postings later this week.  

 More to come....… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 7, 2011 10:31PM

Culinary Anthropology Fail

One of my most pleasurable memories from archeology field school in Haluza, Israel is the morning meal. I would ascend from the shaded site I was working on, out of the stifling dust into searing heat, then up to the shaded picnic tables at the topRead full post »
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 11, 2011 3:31PM

Critical Thinking as Self-Defense

I’m pretty sure I was mentally ill until my twenties. I was raised in a patriarchal religious family that didn’t value education and paired profound incuriosity with deep suspicion of anything even slightly unusual, such as spicy food.

Educated people were threateniRead full post »
MARCH 2, 2011 4:24PM

When Corrections Fail

A version of this article originally appeared at Does This Make Sense.
“There are certain points when debating with someone where you sort-of have to walk away. [...] ‘cause you’ll just basically end up getting a concussRead full post »
FEBRUARY 8, 2011 11:45AM

An Open Letter

I have a new article up at DTMS! Please go check it out. Meanwhile...
To the Daycare Employees Who Pick Up Kids at My Son’s School:

Sorry.  I didn’t know.  

I do remember seeing a note early in the year aboRead full post »
JANUARY 31, 2011 3:54PM


This article was originally published at Does This Make Sense.

Human psychology provides many obstacles to critical thinking.  It’s easy to imagine how some of these traits might have been evolutionarily adaptive, but act as impediments to perspective in the modern world.  I’llRead full post »
JANUARY 24, 2011 9:06PM

Hey Look! Something Shiny!

I'm completely distracted by logistics of moving to a new city (more on that in the future) in a few months, and I've had limited time to write.  So, here's something shiny to look at while I obsess over the real estate market here in Geographic Isolation.
Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 9, 2011 9:37PM

Self-Labeling or Self-Limiting?

I’ve written about cognitive linguistics in the past:

According to Wikipedia, Linguistic Relativity is the idea that: "the varying cultural concepts and categories inherent in different languages affect the cognitive classification of thRead full post »
JANUARY 2, 2011 10:59AM

Pareidolia and Pseudonyms

My article is up at Does This Make Sense! This is my first public piece published under my real name. Please go take a look! People actually reading it might help me get invited back again.

When Nikki Stern asked if I would like to submit an article for DTMS,Read full post »
My son drew this image shortly after he became a big brother. 1

I always have a really long list of things I want to change about myself in a new year.  Parenting challenges me to try to be the type of person I aspire to:Read full post »
DECEMBER 24, 2010 2:00PM

Happy What-You-Will

I can't get this video to embed... so please click for a lovely tribute to family. 


Enjoy yours! 

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DECEMBER 20, 2010 11:54AM

A Non-Expert's Review: King Tut Exhibition

Our family (three adults, a seven-year-old and a two-year-old) attended the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Art Museum on 12/18 around 12:30PM.  

I had heard mixed reports so was very interested in checking it out for myself.  Two families we know attended priorRead full post »
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 12, 2010 9:46PM

Extinction in Real Time

I spent my formative years living in lush, wet coniferous forests.  The ponderosas, fir, spruces, and pines were among my only friends.  They were quiet sentinels who kept me company while I read and anchored the corners of my imaginary houses. They sang moaning songs with the wind and popRead full post »
NOVEMBER 29, 2010 10:20PM

Hooray for Science!

In my anecdotal experience, it’s difficult to predict how myriad scientific and technological breakthroughs will evolve over time, or how all the apparently minor advances will culminate in amazing discoveries.  Unfortunately I tend to remember the major advances rather than the incrementRead full post »
NOVEMBER 23, 2010 12:19AM

I'm Thankful For Critical Thinking

The culture of my parents was unfortunately bigoted, authoritarian and incurious.  My parents were informed by family tradition and a rigidly patriarchal interpretation of religious dogma. They felt that however the Europeans abused the indigenous Americans was fine because we are God’s cRead full post »