May the Folk Be with You

In 1979, on the eve of Margaret Thatcher’s first UK general election victory, an advertisement appeared in London’s The Evening News. Paid for by the party, the half-page spread read, “Dear Maggie, May the Fourth Be with You.” This marked the first known printing of the pun behind what has come to be known as […]

Sounding Home

Syrian Musicians in Istanbul How might music produce of a sense of home for displaced Syrians in Turkey? What is the role of displaced Syrians in the preservation and transformation of their musical traditions? In addressing these and related questions my current research with Syrian musicians in Istanbul hopes to add to our understanding of […]

War in Syria and the Refugee Crisis

There are different ways in which the war in Syria and the ensuing refugee crisis can be made sense of anthropologically. When a crisis looms large on the global stage, the tendency is to focus on the immediacy of the crisis at hand and relegate to the background those that preceded it. While we focus […]

Letter to the Editor and Response: The Symbolic Violence of Choice

The Symbolic Violence of Fallacious Reasoning To the Editor: Re “The Symbolic Violence of Choice” (In Focus, March 2) On its face, Starrett’s essay resembles any anthropologically grounded think piece. It opens with a quote from a literary classic (Heller’s Catch-22) and cites a sociological construct (Bourdieu’s symbolic violence). It weighs in on a public […]

Islamic State Ideology and Cultural Cleansing

Unimaginable loss of human life and cultural heritage are an almost daily occurrence in the conflict zones of Syria and Iraq. Looking back to 2011–2012, like many foreign archaeologists conducting long-term research in Syria, I experienced an initial period of denial and disbelief. Many of us struggled to come to grips with the unfathomable turpitude […]

Is Humans of New York’s Refugee Series Public Anthropology?

In his recent open letter to Donald Trump, Brandon Stanton, the self-described journalist and photographer-blogger-author of Humans of New York (HONY), confesses that he tries his “hardest not to be political . . . but that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one” (@humansofny, March 14, 2016). Of course, […]

A Tale of Two Syrias

The human misery and destruction created by regime forces bombarding Syrian cities and towns has reinforced the unique status of Damascus. The capital city has remained an eerie oasis of calm, insusceptible to the carnage beyond its borders. In addition, the daily life of its residents continues despite the occasional mortar fire and suicide bombing. […]

Using Satellite Imagery to Monitor Syria’s Cultural Heritage

The military conflict that now consumes Syria and neighboring parts of Iraq and Turkey, the northern portion of the Fertile Crescent, are home to an extraordinarily rich archaeological heritage, which now faces a host of threats, including conflict-related damage, looting and intentional destruction.  Over the past two years, media attention has focused almost exclusively on […]

OTG 4: A Closer Look at Indianapolis

I cannot count how many times I’ve been out of state and people have been flabbergasted that I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana. Initially, this is because the idea of an actual city existing here hardly crosses the mind. Cornfields, sports, racecars and beer are the more popular associations with the Hoosier city. Once the initial cognition […]

OTG 3: Finding Black Death on a Quiet Hilltop

I pulled my car up to a parking spot on a steep hill, deployed my emergency brake and made to step out of the car. As I did so, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a picture of a young black man printed on a sheet of white paper. The photograph was […]