A Bully in the Presidential Bully Pulpit

In American vernacular of the day, bully (as an adjective) meant “very good; first-rate.” Combined with pulpit, or a speaking platform, Theodore Roosevelt used the term to refer to the power that the presidency gave him to speak and be heard on vital issues facing the nation, from labor rights to political corruption to consumer food and drug safety. But under the presidency of Donald J. Trump, that advocacy-oriented bully pulpit as originally conceived by Roosevelt has morphed into a crude platform to engage in bullying behavior.

The Zero-Sum Game of White Supremacy

Sexuality and gender-based civil rights and religion are now largely considered incompatible. In the United States, the media consistently poses this as a case of irreconcilable values, beliefs, and practices. However, this is not a problem of conflicting essential differences. Rather it is a flawed framework for thinking about citizenship and belonging. Much like the […]

The Power of Japanese Sports 

I first started thinking deeply about the power of sports when I lived in a small town in rural Japan called Mima, in the early 2000s. At the time, I had little Japanese language ability, few friends, and an unremarkable social life. I was a 22-year-old English teacher fresh out of college, and this town […]

How Can Service-Learning Serve in Medical Anthropology?

Service-learning can challenge anthropology students to put methods into practice, and to apply cultural relativism to local contexts. In spring 2017, I taught an undergraduate course called Mental Health in Global Perspective. It is a critical survey of psychological anthropology, transcultural psychiatry, and global mental health literature, and this time I added a service-learning component. […]

Stop Pretending We Are a Meritocracy

Recently Richard Reeve published an article in the New York Times called “Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich.” He recounts his horror on discovering that the United States was even more class stratified than his native England, and he points to many ways that wealth and privilege are perpetuated by the American system, particularly through our […]

America’s Most Consequential Racial Divide

Last October in the vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, moderator Elaine Quijano brought up the “issue of law enforcement and race relations.” Pence’s response and the exchange that followed represents one of the most consequential racial divisions in US society: the disparate understandings of what the very concept of racism means. The exchange illustrates how our society’s guiding narratives about race preserve a woefully inadequate and overly narrow understanding of racism—as evidenced by the umbrage taken by Pence to the notion “that there’s implicit bias in everyone in the United States.”

The Voice of Hunger, Part 2

A Two Part Series on Lives Sacrificed under Turkey’s State of Emergency For Nuriye, Semih and many other brave souls who choose to carry on… Part 2: Hunger In January 2017, Gülmen and Özakça hinted at the possibility of a hunger strike if the Turkish state continued to dismiss their demands. On March 9, they […]

The Voice of Hunger, Part 1

A Two Part Series on Lives Sacrificed under Turkey’s State of Emergency For Nuriye, Semih and many other brave souls who choose to carry on… Part 1: The Statue of Human Rights In Ankara’s Yüksel Street, there is a sculpture. It depicts a woman sitting on a chair and reading a copy of the Declaration […]

Racial Projects

Classifying Racial Ambiguity for Equal Employment I write this particularly after the Rachel Dolezal phenomenon, with attempts to push forward the conversation on race by asking how it operates through its social construction. At the heart of this story and the fieldwork are debates between identity and race, our tendency to conflate the two, and […]