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The masked and the unmasked

The masked and the unmasked

Before 2020 and COVID-19, I never thought much about masks. Now I think about them all the time. One question that keeps coming up is why they have become so controversial and contentious, especially here in the US. Why all the resistance? These questions are on my mind constantly. The whole subject of mask-wearing is often so tense that it can be difficult to even mention the subject. Masks have become a proxy for not only what people believe about {+}

Why “is this fascism?” is the wrong question: a foray into the everyday life of political concepts

Why “is this fascism?” is the wrong question: a foray into the everyday life of political concepts

By Louis Philippe Römer Activists, politicians, and public intellectuals have turned to the word “fascism” to analyze the intensified mobilization of the far-right and the radicalization of the GOP during the Trump presidency. Others vehemently object and see this new usage of “fascism” as incorrect. This already heated debate further intensified after the United States Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. Much of this debate revolves around the prescriptivist premise that there is a correct language for naming and describing {+}

An Obituary for Alfred Kroeber (or…Can American Indians Speak?)

An Obituary for Alfred Kroeber (or…Can American Indians Speak?)

Image: The title “Kroeber Hall” being removed at the University of California-Berkeley on January 26, 2021. (Photo Credit: Irene Yi) In 2017, the theme of the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association was “Anthropology Matters”. I didn’t hear folks criticize the theme too much, but I wondered who had chosen it in the age of “Black Lives Matters” to make a point about the value and substance of anthropology. It was a bit … tacky … mostly because it {+}

Anthrodendum, the revival

Anthrodendum, the revival

Early in 2020, we faced a decision. For the past couple of years, things have definitely slowed down here on Anthrodendum. You may have noticed. So we asked ourselves whether it was time to close up shop for good and move on to other things…or keep this project going. We decided to keep it going. We started sharing our ideas and plans for pushing this project forward. We had plans. Ideas. Changes. And new people we wanted to bring in. {+}

Unexpected happiness in virtual spaces.

Unexpected happiness in virtual spaces.

This piece was co-authored and experienced by the following (in alphabetical order): Zoe Crossland, Celine Gillot, Praveena Gullapalli, Sven Haakanson, Christina Halperin, Sarah Jackson, George Lau, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Kisha Supernant, Dawn Wambold, and Joshua Wright. This essay is about ice cream, beading, trust, friendship, and finding happiness in unexpected spaces while being an anthropologist. Collaboratively envisioned and written, we offer these reflections on praxis for a screen-bound contemporary moment, as well as an equitable and critical way to conceive {+}

Quaran-teens Class of 2021: COVID-19’s Impact on Our Everyday Use of Technology

Quaran-teens Class of 2021: COVID-19’s Impact on Our Everyday Use of Technology

[The following students are high school seniors Class of 2021 at “KTH School.” As part of their International Baccalaureate Social and Cultural Anthropology class, they conducted a collaborative visual auto-ethnography of their experience of hybrid schooling from August to December 2020. Each group focused on a particular conceptual theme to analyze in the blog.] By Elizabeth Surbrook, Logan Honshell, and Elle Nienhuis In this time of COVID-19, we mainly rely on technology to communicate with one another. Technology can be {+}

Quaran-Teens Class of 2021: Challenges to Identity

Quaran-Teens Class of 2021: Challenges to Identity

[The following students are high school seniors at “KTH School” taking International Baccalaureate Social and Cultural Anthropology. After their final IB exams were cancelled, they decided they would like to do an auto-ethnography of their life in coronavirus quarantine. They have collected data for three weeks (including photographs, screenshots of social media and virtual school, interviews, and personal reflections) and written anthropological analyses focused on different terms (communication, society, belonging, materiality, classification, the body, health, and conflict).] By: Jad Hamze, {+}

Quaran-Teens Class of 2021: Covid’s Impact on Social Relations

Quaran-Teens Class of 2021: Covid’s Impact on Social Relations

[The following students are high school seniors Class of 2021 at “KTH School.” As part of their International Baccalaureate Social and Cultural Anthropology class, they conducted a collaborative visual auto-ethnography of their experience of hybrid schooling from August to December 2020. Each group focused on a particular conceptual theme to analyze in the blog.] By: Kewe Chen, Cristian Gonzalez, and Kortni Owens Human culture is made up of varying complex social relationships found in every social group around the world. {+}

Gone in a Quibi: A case for anthropology in business?

Gone in a Quibi: A case for anthropology in business?

Quibi’s demise—just six months after the premium short-form smartphone-focused streaming service went live—made headlines last week. Company founder (and former head of Walt Disney Studios) Jeffrey Katzenberg claimed the COVID-19 pandemic held sole responsibility for Quibi’s $1.8 billion failure. As is usually the case, the reality is much more complicated. The Quibi fiasco makes a good case, I think, for ethnographic research in business. When Quibi launched in early April, my senior year of college had just moved online. Like {+}

I’ve Never Met Anyone Like Me, But Anthropologists (Not Me) Study People Like Me, Or: What if we trans/non-binary people weren’t just your objects of study?

I’ve Never Met Anyone Like Me, But Anthropologists (Not Me) Study People Like Me, Or: What if we trans/non-binary people weren’t just your objects of study?

cw: transphobia, mention of suicide and murder I started writing this piece in June. It was during Pride month, amidst JK Rowling’s ongoing public transphobia, and the same time as I was getting occasional news alerts about Trumpian cuts to protections around trans healthcare. It was also amidst some discussion here in Canada about Prof. Kathleen Lowery, a professor whose workload was shifted after complaints about her transphobia. Prof. Sarah Shulist covered a fair amount of the news around Prof. {+}