Anthropology and Culture

This is part of  a series of posts I wrote for an Introduction to Anthropology blog I kept for my students. That site got eaten in the Great LeafyHost Collapse of 2006, but I’ve held onto the content backups in the hopes of someday reposting it. Finally I realized that it was unlikely I’d get the [Continue reading]

Uptown/Downtown: The Settlement Movement and Jewish Immigrants

This paper tells the story of a colonial encounter. Between 1880 and 1915, some 3 million East European Jews migrated to the United States, fleeing from the violent pogroms and repressive policies of Czarist Russia under Alexander III. For these immigrants, America represented an uneasy mixture of di goldene medine (the Golden Land) and di treyfe medine (the Non-kosher Land), a country in which freedom of religion was a guaranteed right, if not always a practiced one. Already poor in the Old Country, for the most part they arrived in America penniless and made their new homes in the growing tenements of America�s major cities–Chicago, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, and especially New York City, where over one-and-a-half million Jews settled over those 35 [Continue reading]

Franz Boas and the Rise of Modern Culture

Originally published in three parts in 2000 at Suite 101 when I was the editor of their Jewish-American History section. That section disappeared in a subsequent re-design of the site. This is a compilation of those pieces, edited to improve the flow as a single [Continue reading]

Book Review: Sex and Pleasure in Western Culture

2007. “Book Review: Sex and Pleasure in Western Culture”. Archives of Sexual Behavior 36(3): 471 – 472.

This is my self-archive version of this article. It is available online to those with access to the SpringerLink service, and be in print with the release of the July issue.

BOOK REVIEW: Sex and Pleasure in Western Culture

By Gail Hawkes, Polity Press, Cambridge, England, 2004, 207 pp., £50.00 (hardback); £15.99 [Continue reading]

Female Genital Cutting, Sexuality, and Anti-FGC Advocacy

This post is a response to the increasingly heated thread at Feministe on Female Genital Cutting (FGC). Nearly every mention of FGC in our society elicits condemnation of the practices and the people who practice them as “bestial”, “barbarian”, “inhuman”, “uncivilized”, “heinous”, etc., which has a tendency to set me off. For a long time I’ve wondered about the incredible and disproportional response FGC incites in Westerners, feminists and non-feminists alike, responses which generally are very far removed from the reported responses and experiences of women who have undergone some form of [Continue reading]

We Are All Postmodern

I am often surprised by the scorn that the term "postmodern" (and its variations) meets with, both in academia and in the general population. I find that "postmodern" is a term that is "bandied about" quite a bit without much substance or conviction behind it, in much the same way that a secularist like myself will yell out "Damn you!" without actually considering him- or her- or myself to be imploring a vengeful deity to consign one’s interlocutor to [Continue reading]

Between a Job and a Third Place

I have a strong interest in ideas of space and place. Whether it’s the use of places as sites of memory and memorialization, the construction of spaces for expression and community, or the mapping of different sorts of activities onto the social landscape, my interest is always sparked by the ways people think of and use physical and metaphorical space.
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Notes on The Matrix

I wasn’t going to write about the new Matrix film here. I’ve been posting comments to some of the discussions of the film around the blogosphere, but didn’t feel I had enough to say to make it worth a post of my own. But it’s a funny thing–certain ideas kept reprocessing, some of my earlier sureties about the movie have come under question, and I find myself admiring the movie a lot more today than I did when I saw it 10 days [Continue reading]

My Julius Knipl Days

In the <a href=[Continue reading]

More Things My Language Told me to Say

(Follow-up to Things My Language Told Me To Say ) [Continue reading]