Letting Go and Holding On, Documenting Hope in Postwar Guatemala

When Beti asked her twelfth-grade students to consider Guatemala’s contemporary challenges, their suggestions quickly filled the board. In large letters, their words loomed like storm clouds: corruption, violence, extortion, threats, robberies, assaults, exploitation, discrimination.

Comedic Lies as Transitory Truths

Anthropology News recently decided to no longer accept pranks and manufactured (false) ethnographic accounts as submissions for the magazine. While the esteemed publication has offered no satisfactory explanation for taking this radical decision, there is no doubt it will precipitate wide-ranging effects throughout the anthropological community.

Making, Holding, and Guarding as Spatial Politics of Healing

Beginning with a statement of non-attachment to fixed space—a clear indication of her preference to speak in terms of relationality rather than spatiality—Maya described the conditions for what she believed to be an optimal healing space for Black people. It must be safe and welcoming, and further, it is one of her duties as a healer to hold it. Maya is an affiliated practitioner of the new up-and-coming Black-owned wellness café in Brooklyn where I have been conducting fieldwork.

A Fieldpoem for World Poetry Day

The difference between a poem and an ethnographic poem is fieldwork. My ethnographic poems are written based on my field data, and sometimes as part of my field methods: they are attentive to the qualia of social life and the complexities of human experience as encountered in fieldwork.

The Conversation

It happens every quarter. The conversation. Students ask us big questions about their futures as anthropology graduates. Sometimes it’s sparked by parents’ concerns. But often it arises as graduation looms, and students get worried about jobs. Their questions? What can I do with anthropology? How do I use anthropology to get the job I want? Did just I make the best—or worst—decision of my life?

Unapologetically Inaccurate

On Sunday, Rami Malek won an Academy Award for portraying Freddy Mercury in the extremely popular Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. In his speech, Malek made the case for the film’s progressive depiction of minorities: “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself. The fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”

Silicon Satire

History repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce”—especially in Silicon Valley. In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress for 10 hours over 2 days, following revelations that a political consulting firm had received access to user data without consent.

Anthropomorphizing Wine in Our Current Climate

My coworkers at the wine bar knew I had an interest in the Basques, so when our new inventory included a bottle of Txakolina, they were eager for me to try it. The language on the label immediately signaled this was a Basque wine with a “tx” front and center. As I put the glass to my nose, an effervescent salinity took me by surprise.

When We Come to Anthropology, Elsewhere Comes with Us

A glance at my watch revealed that my colleague was already five minutes over his thirty-minute allotment. Students from various cohorts and faculty had gathered in the small lounge shared by sociology and anthropology for our weekly brown bag session.

Emotions, Archistars, and Genoa’s New Bridge

On August 14, 2018, a large segment of the Morandi Bridge on Italy’s A20 highway connecting Genoa’s western outskirts to Milan, Turin, and France collapsed in a cloud of dust and heavy debris. Forty-three people died, many more were injured, and about 600 residents had to leave their homes.