The Paranoid Style of Climate Change Denial

Through its actions and appointments, the Trump administration has elevated climate change denial to official government policy. The administration’s position represents a fundamental shift away from science toward the embrace of what Richard Hofstadter termed the “Paranoid Style in American Politics.” The paranoid style breeds a form of post-truth cynicism that destroys confidence in science as a tool for guiding thoughtful responses to issues like climate change.

Trump’s Wall and the Dictator Aesthetic

Well, look, we’re going to have a border. It’s going to be a real border, and we’re going to build a wall and it’s going to be a serious wall. Just remember that. And you remember I said it…. It’s going to be a serious wall. It’s going to be a real wall. It’s not going to […]

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.”

Trump Echoes Bush in Middle East Visit

President Introduces New Term into Counterterrorism Lexicon President Trump embarked on his first international trip since moving into the White House after a special counsel was appointed to investigate his campaign’s ties to Russia and concerns about obstruction of justice. Each day leading up to his departure brought a fusillade of damning reports about his […]

Charles Goodwin’s Reflection upon Retirement

SLA Interview with Charles Goodwin What article or book that you wrote are you most pleased with?  Could you talk about the story behind writing it? While “Professional Vision” is perhaps the article that anthropologists know best, what pleases me most in my career is my work on the social life of aphasia. With that, […]

Playing Telephone with the Power of the Presidency

The Intertextual Authentication of Untruths Ordinarily, groundless conspiratorial accusations forwarded by political pundits do not receive serious recognition from the US Congress, let alone promises from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to investigate those accusations. However, President Trump’s recently tweeted claim that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” is a reminder […]

Interview with Richard Bauman, part 1

Richard Bauman chatted with Ilana Gershon over coffee about his career upon receiving the Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology.  Below is the first part of an edited transcript of the informal conversation. Over the course of your career, you have had many insights that have opened conceptual paths for others around performance, […]

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.