The Ethnohistory of Trump’s Inauguration

It is possible for the world to change overnight, as it did last November. The boring certainty of a continuation of centrist, neoliberal policies gave way to an open chasm in which nothing could be taken for granted, including the relative global stability of the past decade. Trump had repeatedly suggested a willingness to use […]

The Creepiest Clown

While presidential politics dominated newspaper headlines this summer and fall, back pages carried news of a mystifying side show: encounters—or rumors of encounters—with “creepy clowns.” In August, children in Greenville, South Carolina, reported “creepy clowns” trying to lure children into the woods to a lair in an abandoned house by a lake (fears perhaps inspired […]

The Trump at the End of the World

This past summer, I received the sort of proposal that is the joy of our profession: an invitation to hold the Evan Williams Fellowship at the University of Otago in New Zealand. It is a short-term but prestigious position that requires delivering a public lecture for the community. When I accepted, I had a general […]