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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Preserving Visual Culture

This winter I had the opportunity to tour the Winterthur Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory at the Winterthur Museum in Winterthur, Delaware. This is the second campus location of the University of Delaware’s (Newark, Delaware) Art Conservation Department. The University of Delaware is one of four art conservation programs in the nation. The main objective […]

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 […]

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 […]