Occupational Ethnography in the Taiwan Sunflower and Hong Kong Umbrella Movements

On March 18, 2014, several hundred Taiwanese student and civil activists broke into the Legislative Yuan, the parliament of the contested island nation, launching the Sunflower Movement, a protest against the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and aligned business elites’ alleged collusion with authoritarian China to pass a highly controversial trade deal. It took 24 […]

Plastic Thoughts on Disasters

The People’s Climate March and the Shores of Krakatau On Sunday, September 21, participants in the People’s Climate March filled the streets of New York City from 86th to 59th Streets on Central Park West before progressing slowly, under heavy police control, to 34th Street. The event was deliberately timed by the environmental organization 350.org […]

Buffalo’s Revival

Buffalo, New York has a long-standing and ill-fated reputation for poverty and crime. It has been named one of the poorest and most recently, dreariest cities in America. However, in recent years Buffalo has been transitioning into a new place of social and economic revival. The memories of a booming, industrial, and successful city no […]

Occupy between Surveillance and Transparency

An iPad, fixed by a pair of slippers on the second floor of the Legislative Yuan (the congress of Taiwan), was shooting down the chamber with its lens. On the screen of the iPad, a big banner reading “Occupy 500 Hours” covered the bottom of the portrait of Sun Yat-Sen, the national father of Republic […]

Theory in Public Sector Anthropology

In graduate school, my favorite course was titled “History of Anthropological Theory.” The course readings, which required a critical engagement with works written by Foucault, Geertz, Stoler, and V. Turner (to name a few), were invigorating and encouraged me to think in a new way—one that sought out nuances, peeled back layers, and identified seemingly […]

Deepening Fractures in Turkish Society

In November 2014, new Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu exclaimed that he would defend all religions, “even Buddhism.” He was responding to concerns that different religious groups might be misportrayed in religion classes in Turkey’s schools, but he might as well have been framing the climate of hostility that religious and ethnic minorities have lived […]

The Dilemma with Cultural Competence

Notes from the Field Treatment combined with a cultural competence approach hopes to yield better health outcomes; however, this understanding of culture is often vague and “reduced to language, nationality, or a checklist of essentialist cultural components.” Last summer, I began work on Health-related Deservingness and Illegality on Maryland’s Eastern Shore as a researcher conducting […]

Back to the Field: Reflections on Sweet Briar College Closing

The closing of Sweet Briar College represents the end of a staunch Southern tradition. I arrived on campus in 1981 as a newly minted PhD from SUNY-Binghamton, the only Asian-American member of the small faculty (70 plus). Single-sex education seemed to be an anachronism. I was surprised and startled by women’s education at Sweet Briar […]

Suddenly Liminal: Reflections on Sweet Briar College Closing

On Tuesday, March 3, faculty and staff at Sweet Briar College were summoned by a morning email to a noon meeting with the president and the chairman of the board. We sat in stunned silence as we were told that the college would close on June 30, and that we would not know whether there […]

Film Review of These Birds Walk

These Birds Walk, Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq, dirs. 77 minutes. Distributor: Oscilloscope, New York, 2013. What would it be like to experience a city while in almost constant motion? The images of Karachi in These Birds Walk emerge from rides in a Suzuki Bolan ambulance of a nonprofit welfare organization, the Edhi Foundation. Ambulance journeys start […]