Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Anthropology Class

'Tis the season for academic rites of passage and for many of us to say goodbye to the students who have been our intellectual companions for the past four years. Here are some of the (mostly) lighthearted thoughts I shared with my graduating anthropology majors and minors at our department reception this week. *Please note … Continue reading Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Anthropology Class

Kennewick Man Sighted Buying Groceries in Virginia

by Cynthia van Gilder Most everyone in the anthropological community is familiar with the controversial human skeletal find known as Kennewick Man. Discovered in 1996 by some hikers on the Columbia River, Washington, Kennewick Man was initially identified as a 19th century Euro-American settler, but closer inspection revealed a projectile point embedded in his pelvis … Continue reading Kennewick Man Sighted Buying Groceries in Virginia

Patience 101: Just Wait Until You Hear This

CNN has reported that Trina Thompson, age 27, is suing her alma mater, Monroe College (New York), for not being sufficiently helpful in supporting her efforts to find a job since her graduation this past April.  Headlines describing the suit sum it up as follows: "Alumna Sues College Because She Can't Find a Job." Recently, … Continue reading Patience 101: Just Wait Until You Hear This

If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts it on Youtube, does the tree actually have a healthier sense of self?

As many of you know from earlier posts,  I am the mother of a 15 year old.  Although I have certainly been aware of the need for constant email, phone, and camera usage everywhere she and her friends congregate, it came to me this spring that although she embraces this practice enthusiastically, it seems to … Continue reading If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts it on Youtube, does the tree actually have a healthier sense of self?

Married with Chintzes

On Tuesday, May 26th, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, a voter initiative that declared that marriage could only exist between a man and a woman.  Subsequent media reports were quick to point out that unions between same-sex couples would still be recognized, and that essentially this ruling "merely" stripped gay spouses of the … Continue reading Married with Chintzes

The A-hole: A True Human Universal?

As a member of the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, I recently became aware of a new development in a controversy currently underway on the island of Kaua’i regarding the disturbance of some Native Hawaiian burials for the construction of a private residence.  The practice of archaeology has been particularly contentious in the islands since the … Continue reading The A-hole: A True Human Universal?

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus – but don’t hold your breath for a meritocracy, honey.

I had an experience recently that started me nostalgically reflecting on my undergraduate days and the path that has since led me to become my current jaded, cynical self.  I've wanted to be an archaeology professor since I was 12.  A life of teaching in the academy, mentoring students, undertaking research, reading and learning, designing … Continue reading Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus – but don’t hold your breath for a meritocracy, honey.

The Top Three Things I Have Not Been Blogging About

3. The New Lead Singer of the Band Journey I intended to call this one "World Systems Cinderella," and in it I would have recounted the story of how Arnel Pineda, onetime street performer in the Philippines, was chosen to be the new lead singer for the rock band Journey.  He was discovered, they say, … Continue reading The Top Three Things I Have Not Been Blogging About

Wake Up and Smell the (Fair-trade) Coffee

While I find your particular conflation of "liberal," "Marxist," and "academic anthropologist" delightfully mid-century, (although probably going to garner you a D on the final exam), Mark, I have let it slide long enough. I've got news for you, in the United States, you ARE a left-leaning anthropologist, and there's little you can do about … Continue reading Wake Up and Smell the (Fair-trade) Coffee

Indiana Jones and the Myth of the Moundbuilders (Big Time Spoiler Alert)

The hat. The whip. That crooked, knowing smile. For Indy fans, any excuse to be in the big-screen presence of their idol is a cause for celebration. Yes, as an archaeologist who was a teenager in the late 80’s, of course I have a soft spot for Henry Jones, Jr., but for the record, I … Continue reading Indiana Jones and the Myth of the Moundbuilders (Big Time Spoiler Alert)

Cindy’s Top Ten Things Anthropologists Should NOT Do When They Are Drunk

10. Operate heavy machinery (for those of you who are looking for a loophole - this not only includes pick-up trucks, but also flot machines, all remote sensing equipment, AND tape recorders) 9. Call your ex and read your CV over the phone 8. Pinch the silver-back male while he’s sleeping just to see what … Continue reading Cindy’s Top Ten Things Anthropologists Should NOT Do When They Are Drunk

In Memory of a Friend

Today I attended a memorial mass celebrating the life of a friend and colleague, Dr. John Alfred Pierre Dennis, Jr., who died on February 9, 2008 (b. 10/21/48). Dr. D, as he was known to students, was one of those people whose spirit literally seemed to linger in the room after he left - making … Continue reading In Memory of a Friend