Nonprofits and Civil Society

As we face an era of ever-increasing uncertainty, it is more important than ever to support organizations that stand for and protect our personal, cultural, and human rights. The collective power embedded in our social institutions, particularly in the nonprofit sector, offers one of the few bulwarks against both the threat of the mob and the power of the state.

It is the nature of our modern capitalist system that the most pressing [Continue reading]

Thoughts on the Mass Killing in Newtown, CT: A Rant in 11 Tweets

This is a series of posts I made on Twitter following the shooting in Newtown, CT yesterday. I could flesh them out, but I like them as is, sketchy and impressionistic as they are. Edited simply to correct two typos and expand abbreviations.

Most of the responses to today’s mass shootings, from people I mostly respect, boil down to 1) gun control! 2) crazy people! 3) evil!

Some things I haven’t [Continue reading]

The Guardian UK on Anthropology and Counter-Insurgency

In the wake of the death of one of the HTS anthropologists last week in Afghanistan, The Guardian covers some of the controversy around the use of anthropology by the military. The article discusses the “Anthropology and Global Counter-Insurgency” conference I presented at last month, and features quotes from and mentions of several of the participants, including John Kelly, Marshall Sahlins, David Price, Hugh Gusterson, Brian Selmanski, and Kerry Frosh — the latter two representing the Air Force and Marines, respectively. [Continue reading]

Upcoming Conference on Anthropology and Counter-Insurgency

I’ve been invited to speak at a conference next month of anthropology and counter-insurgency. Details are still sketchy; all I know so far is that the conference will be held at the University of Chicago on April 25-26. That means I have just over a month to write something new and meaningful. I’m thinking of surveying the history of anthropological involvement with the military, and closing with a list of fundamental incompatibilities between military practice and anthropological practice. More info to come… [Continue reading]

Why Math Matters

Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a former student about math. That’s right: math. The Women’s Studies department I teach in has a sort of open adjunct/student lounge with computers and a small library and a table and such — a place to hang out and get a little work done or chat online or whatever. This student was working on some algebra, and was clearly frustrated. She turns to me and says, “Why do we have to learn this stuff?! When am I ever going to need to know about imaginary numbers?” Two things you should know about me. First, I started my academic career as an engineering major — aerospace, to be precise. While I quickly bailed out of engineering, I have a great respect for the applied sciences, and the sciences in general. [Continue reading]

Yes we can?

This blog started in political disappointment. I started blogging in the days running up to and immediately after the 2000 election that essentially destroyed America. I hated seeing the Democrats going after the staunchest defenders of progressive values in attacking the Nader campaign, I hated seeing Bush take the White House despite his clear lack of an electoral mandate (losing by a loophole in the rules is even more unsatisfying than losing outright!). [Continue reading]

The Making of Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War

book cover small I just finished a 3-part series of long articles detailing how I put together and got published my forthcoming edited volume, Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War: The Influence of Foundations, McCarthyism and the CIA.  If you’d like to see how an academic work gets from idea to published (technically, “almost published” since it’s not quite out yet — but soon!) check it out at the anthropology blog [Continue reading]

A Couple of Oldies

While searching for some other files, I came across copies of two posts I made at the very beginning of my blogging career, back in November of 2000. The first post I ever did has been lost to the vagaries of history, but the second and third posts are now up here in the November, 2000 archives. I started blogging because I was upset at the way the 2000 elections were going, and these posts reflect that. The funny thing is that there wasn’t really any blogging software back then, so the pages were hand-coded. I can’t imagine what I would have done once I had dozens of posts to keep up with, but I wort of fell out of blogging for a while and didn’t come back until 2002, and by then there was Blogger. [Continue reading]

Out on a Limb

Hypothesis: Nudity, pornography, and open sexuality have absolutely no harmful effects on children (when the child is not the subject of sexual behavior). Discuss. [Continue reading]

Pro-Life = Anti-Sex?

I’m Pro-Choice and I Fuck by Rachel Kramer Bussel [Continue reading]