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

A Liquor Store is like a Drive-Thru Cheers

Notes From the Liquor Store... Thought I was finished working here. But I remembered, I do like the liquor store. Been coming in and chatting with Norm at night.  He's helping with my studies in Arabic philosophy.  So I thought I'd give him a night off so he can run errands and cook dinner for … Continue reading A Liquor Store is like a Drive-Thru Cheers

Thinking about Yangon: Normalcy or Conflict?

Christina says I should write about my trip to Yangon (Myanmar/Burma) these last few days, as it is a city unfamiliar to the readers of Ethnography.com.  Her impressions, and those of our readers are probably in the context of the international news about Myanmar which focused last year on the Rohingya refugee crisis in which … Continue reading Thinking about Yangon: Normalcy or Conflict?

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

“Certain esoteric rites” for The Ethnographer

There need be no explanation for most occupations– but ethnographer?  At least one of Argentina's beloved poets would not have asked what I do if we'd met at a cocktail party, so I'd told him I was an ethnographer.  It's 1969, an assortment of olives and cheese crumbles between us, I swirl my dram glass … Continue reading “Certain esoteric rites” for The Ethnographer

Another Round of Cultural Anthropology and Population Genetics?

Last month, there was a spirited exchange on Ethnography.com and Razib Khan’s Gene Expressions blog “Against the Cultural Anthropologists” about the relationship between cultural anthropology and population genetics.  The “conversation” started with the assertion by Razib that basically, the cultural anthropologists are a bunch of post-modern political malcontents who do nothing productive, and are anti-scientific.  … Continue reading Another Round of Cultural Anthropology and Population Genetics?

Musings about the Theft of Culture from Anthropology

  Some years ago, I asked the question, "Who Stole Culture from Anthropology?" in a brief essay in  Anthropology News in 2006. I raised the question because many anthropologists had complained to me since about 1987, about how they had trained “too many” anthropologists with the result that they were unemployed.  The discipline seemed to be … Continue reading Musings about the Theft of Culture from Anthropology