Writing his Life through the Other: The Anthropology of Malinowski

Photograph of Bronislaw Malinowski, circa 1920, shortly after his return to England from his first major ethnographic stint in the Trobriand Islands / Public Domain Exploring the personal crisis plaguing the Polish-born anthropologist at the end of his first major stint of ethnographic immersion in the Trobriand Islands, a period of self-doubt glimpsed through entries in[…]

Death and Dying 101

Students from the author’s class on death and dying explore Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. / Photo by Anita Hannig A study of cross-cultural attitudes toward mortality can help young people accept death as a part of life. By Dr. Anita Hannig / 10.03.2017 Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brandeis University Back in February, on[…]

Failing Well: Accommodating Vices in an Ideal Vedic City

Samadhi Mandir of Srila Prabhupada (back side) at ISKCON, Mayapur, West Bengal, India / Photo by Joydeep, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. John Fahy Junior Research Fellow Woolf Institute University of Cambridge DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau7.2.030 Abstract Since the early 1970s, the small town of Mayapur in West Bengal has been home to a multinational Gaudiya Vaishnava community of[…]

Fashion, Faith and Culture Come Together Through the Global Art of Head Wrapping

Model Aliyyah Abdul-Raul wearing designs from Ohio-based designer Chimiwear poses in front of the camara at a past Beautifully Wrapped Headwrap Expo. During the event, fashion shows take place every hour and features different looks from designers. Credit: Courtesy of Felicia Tolbert By Public Radio International / 11.27.2017 There’s no shortage of glam at a[…]

The Revolutionary Power of Andean Folk Tales

Andean folktales—such as those recounting deals made with merpeople in watery underworlds—are not as innocuous as one might think. / James Brunker, Magical Andes Photography Stories shared by diverse oppressed peoples of the Andes during Spanish colonialism gave witness to their suffering and helped to unite them in the face of exploitation. By Dr. Di[…]

The Struggle to Protect a Tree at the Heart of Hopi Culture

To Hopi traditionalists—Hopis who practice traditional culture—the humble one-seed juniper tree has deep cultural meaning. / Photo by Mark Sykes In the American Southwest, the loss of juniper trees at the hands of mining and development could cost the Hopi a crucial part of their heritage.    By Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa (left) and Dr. Chip Colwell[…]

Impacts of the Death of Elders and the Young

At the Modern Filial Piety Culture Museum in Qionglai, southwest China, February 2015. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty By Dr. Amy Olberding / 11.20.2017 Professor of Philosophy University of Oklahoma Not long before he died, I sat in hospital with my grandfather, keeping him company as he waited, gowned and gaunt, for whatever the doctors might do. Before[…]

Teachers Inspire This Cambodian-American Boy to Keep His Traditional Dance Alive

Maddox and his brother in their apartment in Lowell, Massachusetts. / Photo by Heidi Shin By Heidi Shin / 11.14.2017 When the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975, the regime carried out a genocide that killed over 1.5 million people and specifically targeted nearly all of the country’s artists and musicians. Very few survived. After[…]

Does One Ethnic Group Own Its Own Cultural Artefacts?

At the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Photo by Allegro-Takahi/Flickr By Dr. Tiffany Jenkins / 03.18.2016 Sociologist and Writer Objects that once adorned display cases in museums around the world are disappearing from view. In recent decades, dramatic wooden Iroquois face masks, crafted by the nations and tribes of indigenous people of North America, have been[…]

The Untold Story of Japan’s First People

Portrait of two Ainu men from Sakhalin, photo by Bronislaw Pilsudski / National Museum of Natural History, National Anthropological Archives, Wikimedia Commons In the 20th century, Japanese anthropologists and officials tried to hide the existence of the Indigenous.  Then the Ainu fought back like their cousins, the bears. By Jude Isabella / 10.25.2017 Editor-in-Chief, Hakai Magazine Itek[…]

Mixed Ancestry between Ancient European Farmers and Foragers

Tiny samples taken from ancient European skulls, in a process shown here, yielded enough DNA for researchers to determine that farmers and foragers interbred in three different regions from 8,000 to nearly 4,000 years ago. Genetic evidence shows interbreeding after agriculture arrived from what’s now Turkey. By Bruce Bower / 11.10.2017 Thousands of years ago,[…]

The Genuine Side of Cambodia

By Kiva Bottero / 11.06.2017 All we could do was smile at each other. My host family, not being able to say much in English, and me knowing even less Khmer, just sat around and smiled. But it wasn’t an uncomfortable kind of silence. I was actually glad not to be speaking English, or speaking[…]

Collective Intelligence is the Root of Human Progress

By Raya Bidshahri / 11.08.2017 The Underestimated Role of Collectivity Many of us intuitively think about intelligence as an individual trait. As a society, we have a tendency to praise individual game-changers for accomplishments that would not be possible without their teams, often tens of thousands of people that work behind the scenes to make[…]

People are Intensely Loyal to Groups Which Abuse Newcomers. Why?

Sailors aboard the USS Lexington celebrate crossing the equator with an elaborate hazing ritual, 5 April 1944. Participants include Her Highness Amphitrite (seated left), King Neptune (seated right, with trident), and a Royal Baby, all characters who ‘preside’ over the initiation. / Photo by J R Eyerman, LIFE, Getty By Dr. Christopher Kavanagh / 01.16.2017 Post-Doctoral[…]

When Evolution is Not a Slow Dance but a Fast Race to Survive

Afghan refugee Maimuna, photographed in Kabul in 2016. Photo by Hedayatullah Amid/Epa/REX By Wendy Orent / 11.08.2017 Anthropologist We all know what Neanderthals looked like: the beetling brow ridges, thick nose, long skull, massive bone structure – and probably red hair and freckled skin. You might do a double-take if you saw one on the subway,[…]

The Language of the Undead: Zombie Narrative and Linguistics, Who Knew?

Jamie Thomas, AB ’06, studies zombies, language, race and othering at Swarthmore College. Photo by Jennifer Weisbord By Alana Hauser / 10.16.2017 In 2003, bestselling author Max Brooks published the Gray’s Anatomy of survival guides. The Zombie Survival Guide took readers on a journey through the anatomy of the living dead: their physical attributes, behavioral patterns and historical origins.[…]

In Brazil, Religious Gang Leaders Say They’re Waging a Holy War

Brazil’s jailhouse preachers may not explicitly condone violence against people of other faiths, but they’ve remained largely silent as their well-armed followers wage a holy war. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes By Dr. Robert Muggah / 11.02.2017 Associate Lecturer Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) The expression “evangelical drug trafficker” may sound incongruous, but in Rio de[…]

Two or Three Things I Love about Ethnography

Photo by Jonathan Cardy / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Signe Howell Professor Emerita of Anthropology University of Oslo 7:1 (2017) Abstract I argue that anthropology and ethnography are two sides of the same coin. Anthropology is nothing without ethnography and ethnography is just an empty practice without a concern for the disciplinary debates in anthropology[…]

The Nuclear National Family: Japan, Fukushima, and Societal Fissures

The Fukushima disaster exposed fissures in Japanese society that its familial politics tries to paper over.    By Mari Matsumoto (left) and Sabu Kohso (right) / 09.15.2017 In the history of nuclear disaster, Fukushima stands out in its singularity. There, two kinds of disasters were intermixed: the earthquake/tsunami, and the nuclear explosion. On March 11,[…]

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

Creative Commons By Dr. Katherine W. Phillips / 09.18.2017 Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics Management University of California, Berkeley The first thing to acknowledge about diversity is that it can be difficult. In the U.S., where the dialogue of inclusion is relatively advanced, even the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to anxiety and[…]

What Makes People Cooperate with Strangers?

Credit: Alborzshawn, Flickr Creative Commons A new study finds that having a reputation for cooperation may be key to getting other people to cooperate with you. By Jill Suttie, Psy.D. / 10.05.2017 Human beings are among the most cooperative species on the planet. Yet it’s not always safe to cooperate with a stranger. What if[…]

An Amazonian Question of Ironies and the Grotesque: The Piaroa of Venezuela

Traditional Piaroa village The arrogance of cosmic deceit, and the humility of everyday life. By Dr. Joanna Overing / 06.20.2012 Emeritus Professor of Anthropology University of St. Andrews 1. The place of humour My strongest memories of Piaroa people of the Venezuelan Amazon Territory involve experiencing their humour. The ludic was vital to their everyday[…]

Wooden Sculptures from Nukuoro

Nukuoro Atoll, Micronesia / Archive: NASA, International Space Station By Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys / 09.08.2017 Anthropologist of Material Culture Curator of Oceania National Museum of World Cultures At the crossroads of cultures Nukuoro is a small isolated atoll in the archipelago of the Caroline Islands. It is located in Micronesia, a region in the[…]