Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar: Language Learning Through Immersion

Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar:  Language Learning Through Immersion (Sic Semper, Malinowski and the Tropical Beach...) What does it feel like to live as an insect inside a glass jar? The praying mantis was removed from its environment suddenly, and plopped into a clean, bright glass vessel, along with other things that … Continue reading Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar: Language Learning Through Immersion

Is Drumming Better than Prozac? An Anthropological Reflection

'Mental health' has been shown to be social and environmental, though we've heard of Prozac, and even music therapy led by professionals.  Well-being may also be connected to collective, organized sound among ordinary people.  I'd like to share a recent study in biomedicine, and draw these scientific conclusions into the anthropological realm.  First, because I'd … Continue reading Is Drumming Better than Prozac? An Anthropological Reflection

The Place That Is Our Home

In 1978, Remmy Ongala left his home in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (not far from the city of Bukavu) for Tanzania.  He boarded a boat across Lake Tanganyika to Kigoma, Tanzania's main port city on the great lake.  From Kigoma, he then traveled by train to Dar es Salaam to eventually become one … Continue reading The Place That Is Our Home

When is the country between India and Thailand called Burma or Myanmar?

English speakers seemingly use the word Burma or Myanmar to describe that country.  My impression is that it is somewhat interchangeable.  If you use Burma instead of “Myanmar” it is some how ok—you just sound a bit old-fashioned, which is perhaps how the United States Embassy in "Burma" sounds to ears inside Myanmar.  On the … Continue reading When is the country between India and Thailand called Burma or Myanmar?

“Building Bildung,” and Other Improbabilities among German University Undergrads

  German has two words for the English word “education.”  Erziehung describes the school system, and the mechanics of what is taught and conveyed from the world of adults to that of children in order to “bring them up.”  Focus is on skills adults need like literacy, numeracy, history, and the factual basis citizens need … Continue reading “Building Bildung,” and Other Improbabilities among German University Undergrads

More about Erving Goffman and my German Language Problems

As I wrote before I am living in Germany and learning German.  On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I spend 2.5 hours with ten strangers from all over the world. We have little in common except that we are foreigners living in Germany struggling to integrate. Our conversations with each other are in German, and inevitably … Continue reading More about Erving Goffman and my German Language Problems

On the Culture of Binge Drinking in a Residential College Town

Culture: The values, beliefs, behaviors, and expectations of behaviors or social norms of a given population of humans. Do you know what I find amazing? I find it amazing that I never see people burning couches and cars in the streets of my neighborhood. And I find it amazing that I never find discarded red … Continue reading On the Culture of Binge Drinking in a Residential College Town

Johnny Cash on the Importance of Listening to Your Mama about Open Carry of Guns

In my Criminology class, I used to lecture about "ecological theories" of crime.  For example, the "ecology of bars" lend themselves to violence.  Basically, ecological theory says that if you put together young males, alcohol, and guns, someone is more likely to get hurt than if any one of the tree elements is removed.  Remove … Continue reading Johnny Cash on the Importance of Listening to Your Mama about Open Carry of Guns

Battle Ritual Among the Nacirema

By Guest Writer Finn Johansson Battle ritual among the Nacirema In anthropological and ethnological research, scientists face new cultural specialties every day. Yet there are some rites, so deeply inherited by the practicing community, that ritual behavior might astonish even the most experienced researchers. Accessing those abnormalities from an empirical point of view in order … Continue reading Battle Ritual Among the Nacirema

We’ve Always Done It This Way

I wrote the post below during my last semester as an adjunct instructor at a rural community college. I resurrect it here because Warren Waren over at Racism Review just published "Institutional Racism: Comparing Oscar Nominations with Higher Education Faculty." It's a must-read, especially for anti-racist White academics serving on hiring committees, as faculty and … Continue reading We’ve Always Done It This Way

Student Housing and Ethnic Segregation at Chico State

This is a rather odd post for a blog which typically addresses national and international issues.  This blog is about my own university, Chico State, in California, which has worked very hard to qualify for federal money to be a "Hispanic Serving Institution."  This is a good thing, as California is rapidly changing ethnic composition … Continue reading Student Housing and Ethnic Segregation at Chico State

True Believers and Personality Tests

I used to be a true believer in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I can’t remember when I first encountered the 93 question test but it was probably during grad school. I was at my height of believing in it though, when I was part of a two-year leadership development program at my old job. … Continue reading True Believers and Personality Tests