On Bioculturalism and Tilting at Windmills

During the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting, after an excellent neuroanthropology session organized by Daniel Lende and Greg Downey, I mused about a shift in the field. To a packed room, outstanding speakers presented sophisticated theoretical models backed by ethnographic and biological evidence, and no one felt it necessary to justify or even flag bioculturalism. The presenters were simply […]

Rescuing Ourselves from the Argument Culture

Although many hoped Trump’s use of social media to wage ad hominem attacks would cease once he took office, now even former Republican supporters, like Senator Bob Corker, conclude that Trump has “proven himself unable to rise to the occasion.” Instead of the presidency changing the man, the man has changed the presidency. “I think […]

Berlin’s Little Syria

By opening restaurants in the new countries where they have settled, Syrian refugees have recreated familiar spaces for eating and socializing.  The popularity of Syrian restaurants outside of Syria might in some ways ease the pain of exile especially as they offer comfort food served the way it was back in Syria. I was recently […]

Advocating Professionalism or Muting Mental Health Problems?

Academia’s Elephant in the Room A study conducted by the University of California Berkeley in 2014 found that 47 percent of graduate students showed signs of depression. Around the same time, a study published in Academic Psychiatry found this to be the case for up to one-third of graduate students at Emory and that 7.3 […]

Fieldwork/Fieldplay?

For several weeks I have been trying to figure out if I could write anything on the topic of workplace abuse of power and sexual harassment in anthropology that has not already been said more eloquently by others. I also face a fundamental issue of positionality, given that as senior white male I am one […]

Anthropologists of the Second “Gilded Age”

If you happen to have paid attention to financial news in international newspapers in recent weeks, you may have noticed that the world is in the midst of a new “Gilded Age”—not since the turn of the 20th century and the age of the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, and the Vanderbilts has global wealth been so […]

Responsibility and Evidence in Trumpian Discourse

In an exchange with reporters in the White House Rose Garden over the deaths of soldiers in Niger, Trump not only demonstrates his constant need to puff himself up by denigrating others, but also illustrates the way he exploits what linguists call evidentiality—the semantic marking of an information source—to wrap innuendos in the sheath of truth claims while avoiding responsibility for the veracity of those claims.

What’s in a Kiss?

On a late October day in 2016, police detained 17 journalists in a raid on the Istanbul offices of Turkey’s oldest newspaper, Cumhuriyet, as part of the post-July 15 coup attempt purge. It took eight months for the Cumhuriyet trial to begin, with the first verdicts given in late July. While some journalists were released, others […]

Beyond the Criminal Discourse in Title IX Procedures

On September 22, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rolled back the Title IX guidelines implemented under the Obama presidency. The shocking implications of this are too numerous for this short article, however, I want bring to the fore one key concern: changes to what constitutes as the standard of proof for a violation in […]

Bab Al-Harah

While the civil war rages in Syria, the Old City of Damascus with its enticing courtyard houses and familiar Damascene characters remain popular in the Arab world. The Syrian TV series Bab Al-Harah (Neighborhood Gate) was one such Ramadan offering this year, but was less innovative or daring than The President’s Shadow, which I discussed […]