The Strange Public Afterlife of Anthropological Theory

Didier Fassin, in an important recent intervention, directed our attention to the “public afterlife of ethnography.” We as anthropologists do not and cannot expect to control how anthropological theory and concepts are used. A recent debate in my native Norway reminded me of the strange public afterlife of anthropological theory. This was the perennial debate over […]

The Docile Ethnographer?

On Self-Censure and Fieldwork “Looking forward to reading more in this series. Would have liked to retweet it, but I’m not touching anything critical until I’m done with fieldwork and out of the country. Some informants follow me on twitter. So, yeah…” This was one of the several messages I received following the publication of […]

A New Method for NCAA “Madness”

  The upcoming men’s college basketball tournament, which is run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, is all about the upsets: “underdog” colleges taking down perennial powerhouses. These upsets are so routine that the event has earned the moniker “March Madness”. The Madness, which brings countless hours of missed work and widespread Tournament […]

What Is the “Environment” in Gene-Environment Interaction Research?

The notion that nature and nurture interact to produce the phenotype of an individual is a very old one. Modern techniques of molecular biology and the mapping of the human genome have led to multiple studies approaching gene-environment interaction as more than a metaphor. What is lacking, however, is an adequate conceptualization of “the environment.” […]

The Wall and the Chicken

There is an ancient wall that surrounds the Old City of Damascus.  It remains largely intact which is a remarkable feat since it took its current shape from the Romans.  The Romans, master builders of the ancient world, constructed solid walls to defend cities and keep out the undesirables.  They also built them to last, […]

How We Protest

Lord knows we need to protest. There are so many issues on which we, as anthropologists, need to be heard. It is hard to know where to begin. In our degraded political climate, where truth and knowledge are devalued, and the values we all stand for: opposition to racism, openness, diversity, protection of individual civil […]

When the Discourse of Theater Trumps Truth

The unbalanced application of interpretive frames—viewing Trump primarily through the discourse of theater and Clinton primarily through the discourse of truth—may partially explain the staggering results of pre-election polls that ranked Trump higher than Clinton on honesty.

Coming Full Circle

The Anthropology of Practice, the Practice of Anthropology Introducing New Editors for Public Policy Column Despite my love of teaching, the precariousness of adjuncting, was wearing on me, as was the academic job search. I began looking for other options, other ways I could use my PhD. Nothing in my academic training prepared me for […]

Politics as Archaeological Action

Archaeologists should contemplate entering politics. Recent articles in The Atlantic and The New York Times show they won’t be alone among those with a scientific bent seeking office. Both articles describe a political action group called 314 Action created to support scientists contemplating a move into politics, and they feature some scientists considering leaving their careers […]

Academic Freedom in an Age of Populism

It only took five days for the assault on academic freedom in an age of populism to materialize in the US. And that it came in the form of censoring scientists working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  an agency which bafflingly enough will be led by a nominee who cares so little about environmental […]