Sweet Salvation was originally published at www.norcalblogs.com. December 2006, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico There are three facts that exist on the southern tip of Baja Mexico: 1) this is a desert, 2) until very recently, even though the entire area is surrounded by ocean, there was very little drinking water here, and 3) it is … Continue reading Sweet Salvation
The Anthropology blogosphere (including Ethnography.com, SavageMinds.org, anthropologyreport.com and even National Public Radio) has recently lit up with critiques of Jared Diamond’s new book The World Until Yesterday. Jared Diamonditis seems to be a regular affliction of anthropology, re-emerging every time that the esteemed Professor of Geography (and Physiology) publishes a new tome of big picture history. … Continue reading Why Does Anthropology Worry about Jared Diamond when they have Nigel Barley?
In summer 2011, I had the pleasure of co-teaching a Sociology/English class for American students in Thailand. One of the real pleasures was using novels to illustrate sociological principles. It was kind of like profession (sociology) meets hobby (reading novels). I hope that the students liked it—I certainly did, and this blog is about what … Continue reading Love, Duty, and Marriage in a Classic Thai Novel
Explaining why people do things, even when it doesn’t seem reasonable to an American undergraduate is what I do for a living. I’ve explained why people don’t agree with their political views, the persistence of “irrational habits,” why most people don’t want to move to America, why poverty persists in a world of abundance, and a … Continue reading Which Thumb is on Top? Questions about Culture from a Mlabri Village in Thailand
Karen Connelly was a Rotary Exchange student in Phrae Province, northern Thailand, in 1986-1987 as a 16 and 17 year old. She published an enchanting memoir about her experiences in Phrae Province Dream of a Thosuand Lives: A Sojourn in Thailand in 1993, a book that won the coveted Governor General’s prize for Canadian Literature. … Continue reading Changing Thailand, Not Changing Thailand: Of Water Buffalo, Work Elephants, and Cultural Persistence
This is a story about the nature of law, what is like to feel like an outsider in court. It is about laws of liability which are rational, reasonable, and legtimate by local standards. However, as I think that the following example shows, such assumptions about liability and law are always embedded in the unspoken … Continue reading The Case of the Stung Ducks: A Study of Law from Sukumaland in Tanzania
File this one under…I don’t know what. My story begins with the desire to get cheap airplane tickets to visit our family in Germany this winter. Simple: Leave at an uncomfortable hour, fly Christmas Eve, save $200 per ticket, and still arrive at Grandma’s in time for Christmas breakfast. Anyway, we arrived at … Continue reading How to Get Deported for Christmas
I was reminded of the importance of foreign language learning twice in the last week or so. This morning I read a commentary in the New York Times about how poorly Americans do at foreign languages. Several of the authors remind us that Americans have long done poorly at foreign language learning, and that … Continue reading Learning Foreign Languages
I met Roger, a master carver, while staying at Nugget City, Yukon. Enjoy! httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRS2gfXd9MI
Dave is a fellow I met in a local bar in Pemberton, BC and agreed to be my first interview, its just took some time to get it together!
The EPIC conference is fast approaching and thanks in part to Ethnography.com I’ll be on my way to Denmark at the end of next week to attend the EPIC conference at the University of Copenhagen. I am excited and nervous about the trip! It is my first time traveling to Europe and only my second … Continue reading Headed to Denmark…