Category: Anthropology

Understanding Puerto Rico’s Past: A Recommended Reading List

You may have heard about the recent protest in Puerto Rico that ended in the toppling of a statue in Plaza San Jose. It’s incredibly important to understand that these situations don’t usually happen “out of nowhere.” From various news sources and Twitter, it looks like this happened due to the continued celebration of colonialism in Puerto Rico and the… Continue Reading Understanding Puerto Rico’s Past: A Recommended Reading List

“Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Adapting to Segregation”

The following is an excerpt from Malinda Maynor Lowery’s Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation. With more than 50,000 enrolled members, North Carolina’s Lumbee Indians are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River. Malinda Maynor Lowery, a Lumbee herself, describes how, between Reconstruction and the 1950s, the Lumbee… Continue Reading “Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Adapting to Segregation”

Happy National Native American Heritage Month: A Reading List

Since 1990, November has been nationally celebrated as Native American Heritage Month. We take this month to honor the cultures, histories and contributions that Native people have made throughout the years. To help celebrate, we’ve curated a reading list of books from all Native American authors touching on different aspects of Native American life. We would also like to highlight… Continue Reading Happy National Native American Heritage Month: A Reading List

Author B. Brian Foster in Conversation with Author William Ferris, Hosted by Square Books

In late January, Oxford, MS-based indie bookstore Square Books hosted a virtual conversation between B. Brian Foster, author of I Don’t Like The Blues: Race, Black and Backbeat of Black Life, and William Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues. Watch as Foster and Ferris discuss a history of black people’s involvement in sociology,… Continue Reading Author B. Brian Foster in Conversation with Author William Ferris, Hosted by Square Books

Happy Haitian Heritage Month: A Reading List

A strong “Sak Pase” to all of our Haitian and Haitian-descendant readers! May is Haitian Heritage Month and we wanted to celebrate with a recommended reading list dedicated to the history of the first independent black republic in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti. May was chosen as Haitian Heritage Month because it marks the anniversary of the birth of Toussaint L’Ouverture,… Continue Reading Happy Haitian Heritage Month: A Reading List

Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt: Balancing Privacy and Archival Access

Today we welcome a guest post from Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, author of The Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910–1950, just published by UNC Press. In this history of the social and human sciences in Mexico and the United States, Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt reveals intricate connections among the development of science, the concept of race,… Continue Reading Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt: Balancing Privacy and Archival Access

Irfan Ahmad: Beyond Trump’s Notion of the “Pathetic Critic”

Today we welcome a guest post from Irfan Ahmad, author of Religion as Critique:  Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace.  Professor Ahmad is an anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Studies in Göttingen, Germany. In Religion as Critique, Irfan Ahmad makes the far-reaching argument that potent systems and… Continue Reading Irfan Ahmad: Beyond Trump’s Notion of the “Pathetic Critic”

John Hayes: “Those People”

Today we welcome a guest post from John Hayes, author of Hard, Hard Religion:  Interracial Faith in the Poor South, on the history of class and race in the American South. In Hard, Hard Religion, his captivating study of faith and class, John Hayes examines the ways folk religion in the early twentieth century allowed the South’s poor–both white and… Continue Reading John Hayes: “Those People”

Anthony Chaney: The Royal Scam

Today, we welcome a guest post from Anthony Chaney, author of Runaway:  Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological Consciousness, on Steely Dan, Columbia House and the negative-option record club. The anthropologist Gregory Bateson has been called a lost giant of twentieth-century thought. In the years following World War II, Bateson was among the group of mathematicians,… Continue Reading Anthony Chaney: The Royal Scam

Douglas Hunter: Dighton Rock, Leif Eriksson, and the Origins of Scientific Racism

Today we welcome a guest post from Douglas Hunter, author of The Place of Stone:  Dighton Rock and the Erasure of America’s Indigenous Past, on the contested history of Dighton Rock and it’s petroglyphs. Claimed by many to be the most frequently documented artifact in American archeology, Dighton Rock is a forty-ton boulder covered in petroglyphs in southern Massachusetts. First… Continue Reading Douglas Hunter: Dighton Rock, Leif Eriksson, and the Origins of Scientific Racism

Anthony Chaney: Movie Monsters That Disturb Our Sleep

Today, we welcome a guest post from Anthony Chaney, author of Runaway:  Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological Consciousness, who ruminates on nature, evolution, and the mind of movie sharks and dinosaurs. The anthropologist Gregory Bateson has been called a lost giant of twentieth-century thought. In the years following World War II, Bateson was among the… Continue Reading Anthony Chaney: Movie Monsters That Disturb Our Sleep

Kristina M. Jacobsen: The Gallup Flea Market and Navajo Cultural Sovereignty

What struck me this time after many months away overseas is the subtle ways that Diné cultural sovereignty is practiced in this informal economy, where unemployment on the Navajo Nation currently hovers above 50%, and where tribal citizens are incredibly creative about ways to make ends meet in order to live on or close to their ancestral homeland (a statement about sovereignty and connection to homeland in its own right). Although not an explicitly “political” space, Diné citizens express their attachments to being Diné through what they choose—or refuse—to sell in this public space. Continue Reading Kristina M. Jacobsen: The Gallup Flea Market and Navajo Cultural Sovereignty

Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate

Recently, a blogosphere debate erupted on headscarves/hijab among various Muslim women. The debate was preceded by physical harassment against visibly Muslim women. The worsened climate of Islamophobia was greeted with shock and disgust by a number of Americans. A number of non-Muslim women—Dr. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College, for instance—put on the headscarf as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. While some Muslims critiqued hijab solidarity as a form of appropriation, many welcomed it as a well-intentioned and courageous gesture in difficult times. Continue Reading Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate

Excerpt: Muslim American Women on Campus, by Shabana Mir

Fatima was an adventurous designer of third space identities, a non-hijabi who was at the same time religiously devout, socially liberal, sexually conservative, and politically aware. When Fatima entered the gates of Georgetown, having newly graduated from a strictly Islamic school, she was horrified to find that some of her Muslim friends drank alcohol. Continue Reading Excerpt: Muslim American Women on Campus, by Shabana Mir

Excerpt: Island Queens and Mission Wives, by Jennifer Thigpen

Thigpen describes the voyage of New England missionaries to Hawai’i and the political shifts occurring on the island that signaled the powerful role women would play in the cultural interactions that lay ahead. Continue Reading Excerpt: Island Queens and Mission Wives, by Jennifer Thigpen

Interview: Shabana Mir on College Experiences of Muslim American Women

Recently, I took (and passed) my citizenship test, and the interviewer asked me if I had a middle name. When I said no, she asked if I wanted to change my name. Hmm, I thought, am I supposed to, to become an American? For many Americans, including those born and raised here, there’s an assumption that they must prove just how American they are. My research participants felt that way much of the time, but those who practiced certain kinds of behaviors—drinking, dating, dressing in mainstream Western fashion—felt the pressure less. Diya was relatively indistinguishable from her White American friends in terms of lifestyle, but then she came under question for just how Muslim she was. If she didn’t wear hijab, was she a nominal Muslim? Amber, a hijabi, was on the other hand perpetually being required to speak up for Muslims in classroom discussions on Islam and terrorism, or Islam and gender. Almost all of my research participants felt that because of the pervasive nature of Muslim stereotypes, they were always or often having to prove that they were really American, normal, empowered, peaceful Muslims. Continue Reading Interview: Shabana Mir on College Experiences of Muslim American Women

Interview: Walt Wolfram and Jeffrey Reaser on the Dialects of North Carolina

Language and dialects are culture, but like other aspects of our heritage, they have sometimes existed under the cultural radar. In part, this is due to the historical and political subordination of the South. Southern speech has become increasingly different from Northern speech since the Civil War, but it was interpreted as inferior due to the stereotypes of the South by outsiders. The effects of linguistic prejudice are just as harmful as other types of prejudicial attitudes, perhaps more so because their workings are often invisible. It takes time to raise linguistic awareness by countering myths and stereotypes with formal and informal education about the legacy of dialects. North Carolinians deserve to know and understand the truth about its distinct dialect and language legacy. Continue Reading Interview: Walt Wolfram and Jeffrey Reaser on the Dialects of North Carolina

Nicole Fabricant: Santa Cruz Civic Leaders and New Strategic Alliances with Indigenous Protestors in Bolivia

I was back in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the lowland agro-industrial capital of Bolivia for the months of July and August 2012 in order to understand a new political conflict that had exploded between the government of Evo Morales and lowland Indigenous groups in 2011. Continue Reading Nicole Fabricant: Santa Cruz Civic Leaders and New Strategic Alliances with Indigenous Protestors in Bolivia

Interview, Part 2: Nicole Fabricant on “Mobilizing Bolivia’s Displaced”

In this second of two interviews, Fabricant discusses the ways in which indigeneity has been mobilized as well as some of the causes of the widespread disillusionment with the nation’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales. Continue Reading Interview, Part 2: Nicole Fabricant on “Mobilizing Bolivia’s Displaced”