Botswana Democracy

Ignored by the Global Media Botswana is the oldest, fully functioning democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. You would never guess it, however, by the way in which the country is ignored by the western—and global—media. Bad news travels far and fast in Africa—the Ebola epidemic, kidnappings, civil wars, massacres, dictatorships and rigged elections all make headline […]

Silent Meditation

Speech, Power and Social Justice The AAA Committee for Human Rights Task Group/Society for Linguistic Anthropology Committee on Language & Social Justice is committed to collaborating with one another to provide a unique, linguistic anthropological perspective on relevant issues of the day. We believe that a merging of voices allows for greater depth of reflection, […]

“We Can’t Be What We Can’t See”

The students were excited. I’m sure their delight may have started with the prospect of getting out of class for a while, but as I stood in front of them with hands full of artifacts, skulls, and tools, I realized that this was beyond some time outside away from incessant test prep and standard text […]

Anthropology and Humanitarian Aid

The international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) is known for its medical work in conflict zones, epidemics and natural disasters. MSF is recognized globally for the work of its doctors, nurses and logisticians, and as I discovered several years ago, they have a growing pool of anthropologists working in their programs. […]

Multiplying Moscow

Provisioning and Connectivity on the Roof of the World On a cold winter morning in 2010 I travelled with the driver Mital and a group of other passengers from the town of Murghab in Tajikistan to Osh in Southern Kyrgyzstan. While the journey usually takes a day, snowfall, a damaged car or border closure can […]

When Conversation is Not Enough

Reflections on the Makings of the #AAA2014 Die-In “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”—Zora Neale Hurston, anthropologist On November 24, 2014, we, like many others across the country and world, watched with resignation and anger, the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for […]

Queer Language Matters

The 22nd Conference on Lavender Languages and Linguistics to be Held Feb 13–15 For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer (LGBTQ) activists, visibility stands as a central measure of equal rights campaigns. Seeing queer characters on primetime TV is undeniably exciting. Yet it is also concerning, because the most popular shows (Modern Family, Glee, […]

Paths Not Taken

Ethnographic Terminalia and Career Choices There is something about the AAA meetings that lends itself to reflection, which also seems fitting as we kick off a new year. It could be the timing. Typically held in the run-up to Thanksgiving, this year AAA was held between the major holidays, and there was a sense that […]

Militarizing Life

What Policing, Events in Ferguson, and Immigration Enforcement Say about Regimes of Social Control Recent protests on policing have drawn attention to the alarming amount of minority deaths that occur at police officers’ hands, reviving conversations about racial profiling, relationships minority populations have with police officers, and racism in the United States generally. Several social […]

Racialized Policing, Violence and Latinas/os

On December 8, 2014, outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the long awaited release of the Justice Department’s Guidance on racial profiling in federal law enforcement. The 2014 Guidance represents an improvement over the 2003 Guidance in so far as it expands the protected categories to include gender identity, national origin, religion, and sexual […]