Muslim Dandies

How do the sartorial choices made by Muslim men also reflect and reproduce particular ideas and societal norms? In my own work with young Muslims I found that men’s dress was just as meaningful women’s clothing and likewise is in conversation with larger issues of gender, religion, and power as well as race and belonging.

The Continuous Labor of Fashion 

It’s easy to hate the bloggers. At New York Fashion Week, the premier semi-annual industry event where brands display their wares six months before they hit the stores, they often show up in packs. They strut down the sidewalk, clutching handbags and smartphones, hair streaming behind them, sleeves swaying in the breeze, while dozens of street style photographers crouch down to get shots of them. Bloggers—now often referred to with the more expansive and ambiguous title of “influencers”—are an annoyance to many industry insiders, their look-at-me antics distracting from the “serious business” of fashion. But at Fashion Week, bloggers no longer stand out. They are not anomalies, but prototypes, embodying and exemplifying the way the labor of fashion is done today.


Corseting in the popular imagination is rife with myths: it was a distinctly upper-class practice; women frequently died from having their laces tied too tight; the garment was inherently exotic or erotic in nature. However, what we think we know about the cultural and physical effects of corseting in the 18th and 19th centuries diverges somewhat from the evidence, and can create a discourse lacking in accuracy and scientific rigor.

To Dwell in Seams

Fashion has an uncanny way of conjuring the histories and memories of people and geographies—of other places in other times—for the people work to make fashion. For me, fashion is not only an object of academic inquiry, but also a way of seeing and being with people who communicate through materiality: Cloth is the center of livelihood.

About a Boy and a Wig Curler

Dress is personal, symbolic, and multifaceted; it is tied to taste, emulation, production, and consumption. How one covers and adorns the body is a powerful statement of political and personal identities.

What’s in Your Bag?

 As another fieldwork season comes to a close and classes, sabbaticals, and more ventures into the field begin, anthropologists are unpacking and repacking  their bags. Anthropology News wants to know what’s in them. From the North Pole to the tropics, anthropologists from across the discipline’s subfields answer the question, What’s in your bag?

An Anthropologist Looks for Justice in Guantanamo Bay

The issues posed by the vehicle of military commissions, access of the defense to classified evidence, impact of torture on subsequent interrogations, and relevance and category of “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent” are all in question. These legal questions are important in contesting the shape of our post-9/11 world. They are potentially precedent-setting for the still emergent law of war. 

Wrestling with “The Donald”

Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1984) concept of the carnivalesque provides insight into Trump’s ability to subvert dominant political conventions through humor and chaos, maximizing entertainment value as he flouts presidential norms. But this concept alone cannot do full justice to explaining the ongoing, day-to-day spectacle of Trump’s presidency. To better understand the Trump phenomenon, I suggest we borrow a concept from the world of professional wrestling where hyperreality converges with spectacle to produce the same strange amalgamation of bravado, hyperbole, and exaggeration (and outright lies) that marks Trumpian politics. That concept is kayfabe.

Tackling the Elephant in the Room

A Guide to Teaching Race after Charlottesville The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville embodied the ongoing racist ideologies that have permeated the United States since its inception. As a biological anthropologist, I was simultaneously horrified and unsurprised by the events that unfolded. I reflected on what I, as an anthropologist, could do about it—now. […]

Political Correctness Is Not the Problem, Systemic Racism Is

In recent years, we have witnessed a resurgence of student protests on college campuses in the US and beyond. Many of these protests, inspired by broader contemporary social movements including #BlackLivesMatter, #StandingRock/#NoDAPL, and #RhodesMustFall, have focused on challenging systemic racism and other forms of marginalization on campuses. Conservative and liberal critics alike have criticized these […]