Anthropology and the Question of Alien Life

Among the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life) community, a debate has recently emerged. For decades, and with the imprimatur of the NSF, SETI has passively listened for signals of intelligent life from space. In the novel and film Contact, Carl Sagan envisions a scenario in which scientists, at the Very Large Array facility in New […]

Cool Anthropology

Beyond Spectatorship A hybrid status emerges with a project when participants have the opportunity to interact with site-specific installations and the interactive components of a website. Cool Anthropology has continually explored this hybrid approach through selected themes and creative opportunities for scholars and artists. The concept behind Cool Anthropology began about ten years ago at […]

An Introduction of Borders

When imagining borders, we immediately think or emphasize its crossings, but in everyday life, we see that inspections form a central mechanism of control. This can be seen across international borders such as the US-Mexico border, the Spanish-Moroccan border, borders across waters, and the less visible social and cultural borders of everyday life. Examining social […]

Ethnographic History versus the Ethnography of History

The lines between history and anthropology blur when it comes to doing research about the recent past. I think of ethnographic history as oral history’s anthropological cousin, but rather than doing a series of interviews about a subject’s life over a fixed period of time, ethnographic interviewing is less formal and requires trust and multiple […]

2015 Climate Science Day

Lobbying for Science There is a fine line between lobbying and advocacy for a cause or issue. In this case we advocated for science-based decisions and offered assistance in serving Congress’s science needs. I spent February 10 and 11 involved in “2015 Climate Science Day” on Capitol Hill, organized by the Ecological Society of America […]

Transitions within Public Sector Anthropology

Anthropologists have long studied the concept of transitions as it applies to people and their cultures. Transitions can come about through various means but are always accompanied by change. Although we study and read about how other cultures are changing, one thing I have heard less about is how applied anthropologists change as they transition […]

English or Russian?

Language Ideologies in Multilingual Khorog, Tajikistan While perusing wikileaks for information on English in Khorog, Tajikistan, the administrative centre of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region, I noticed a cable sent in 2008 from the American Embassy, Dushanbe. It was entitled “Tajikistan — Why American Corners Matter,” and it describes Khorog as an ideal location for a […]

Challenges of Mixed-Method Research

Mixed-method research involves inherent challenges that make it at once more gratifying and more difficult than traditional single-method approaches. By “mixed-method,” I am referring to studies that employ a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. This approach is a hallmark of most biocultural research, and those of us committed to this approach believe that the triangulation of […]

It’s Not About Sects

As I write this, a coalition of 10 Middle Eastern countries, led by Saudi Arabia, is bombing and blockading Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula and one of the least developed in the world.  Saudi Arabia and its GCC partners are among the wealthiest nations on earth.  In economic terms, Saudi Arabia has […]

The Civil War and How My Family Became White

In 1862, my great-grandfather, William Harkin, was a 27-year old man living in a small village in County Donegal, Ireland. He would have been ten years old at the start of the Great Famine, but was not one of the millions who died or emigrated. Times were still hard in the 1860s, as British rule […]