Clovis in Space, Kennewick for Sale

Archaeologists often find themselves navigating through potentially contentious issues, especially appropriation or commercialization. Recently, the sending of a Clovis point into space and selling replica skulls of The Ancient One, more popularly known as Kennewick Man, have brought these issues to the fore. [pquote]Issues such as a putting a Clovis point in space and selling […]

Is Graduate School Obsolete?

I’ve served on more than 110 graduate committees in all four subfields and have chaired 21, so I am perfectly comfortable with the steps and rituals of graduate education, which have not changed much from what I went through some 40 years ago. But I suspect this comfort is really a signal of something wrong. […]

Obama, Trump, and the End of Meritocracy

Dipping into David J. Garrow’s massive tome, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, I was not struck by the fact that Obama was calculating or willing to sacrifice anything, including romantic relationships, at the altar of personal ambition—Rick Perlstein’s quasi-biography of Reagan, The invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, told […]

Building Rapport during Applied Research Recruitment

Recruitment is a seminal interaction. It is often a researcher’s first opportunity to engage a potential study participant. Effective recruitment strategies are critical to the success of a project: failure to recruit the necessary sample size costs project time and delays deliverables. As applied anthropologists conducting health services research (HSR) at the US Department of Veterans […]

Culture, Stigma, and Addiction on College Campuses

All segments of US society are grappling with novel issues of substance use and misuse. University students are particularly at risk for developing substance use disorders, given the inherent stresses associated with college life and the importance of certain kinds of substances (e.g., alcohol) in non-sanctioned social events. Students are also targeted for substance use prevention […]

Can There Be an Anthropology of Hate Speech?

A mainstreaming of racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and misogynist hate speech in the public sphere in the US accompanied the rise of Donald Trump during the US presidential campaign. Though there is no direct and immediate causal relationship between hate speech and hate crimes, hate crimes do tend to increase when powerful figures engage in it or provide license and […]


Grumpy Grad Student I am an early tenure-track professor with a needy grad student advisee. I appreciated my PhD advisor’s practice of briefly checking in with my mental and physical health before getting down to business, so I started out the same. But this student has a complicated set of problems, and thinks I can […]

The Myth of the Apolitical Judge

The problem with the myth of the apolitical judge is that it is part of a discourse that relies on an incomplete set of language ideologies to legitimize conservative judicial philosophies. These language ideologies are incomplete because they promote certain aspects of meaning while obscuring others. Although not political in their own right, these language ideologies do important political work within the judicial confirmation process to “shape and constrain discourse” and position candidates like Gorsuch within the mainstream.

The Power of the NFL Draft

  The NFL Draft, which is being held in Philadelphia this year, is a dream come true for a few lucky young football players. Each lucky player makes a transformational rite of passage from youth to adulthood, gets his first job, and ultimately signs a lucrative employment contract. The Draft showcases their personal rite as […]

Notes on the Political Divide

Disentangling Antiracism from Capitalism Was it racism or class that gave Trump the election? Much has been written about this topic, including articles that deconstruct the white working-class, analyze the opportunism in whiteness, and claim racism was to blame. Yet, our attempts to understand the rise of Trumpism have not assuaged our fears of institutionalized and […]