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 […]

The Estranged Siblings

Beginning in 2000, I served a term as chair of the anthropology department at Indiana University, at a time when our state legislature was progressively squeezing the university budget. One of our Dean’s many austerity measures was a policy that we could no longer replace people who retired or departed. There would be no more […]

Is Anthropology Ready for the 21st Century?

Whenever social scientists start rethinking basic issues, they usually begin by interrogating their key analytical categories and assumptions. They may, for example, take terms like “identity” or “sustainability” or “power” apart, pointing the way to new research programs by finding the problematic assumptions or generalizations concealed in such words and their usage. The idea behind […]

Wasted

Like many mothers, mine often told me to finish the food on my plate “because children are starving in India.” I could never figure out how throwing out my soggy broccoli could take away food from the starving; but I did absorb the moral lesson that waste is a terrible thing. This anthropologist has some […]

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 […]

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. […]

The Unwelcomed Guest

Early in April the faculty at Indiana University had a heated email discussion about Charles Murray’s visit to our campus. The co-author of the notorious The Bell Curve, he was recently the subject of a demonstration at Middlebury College. He was not coming to IU to discuss his earlier book on human population genetics, but […]