I cannot say I will be nostalgic this Sunday morning, but Savage Minds and our incredible contributors never stopped writing and confronted every step with a critical eye. In order to mark the coming year, Savage Minds compiled a list of our favorite pieces written in 2016.
The ongoing “
Decolonizing Anthropology” series by Carole and Uzma continues to push anthropology to confront the historical trauma of our disciplines and how we can address this in the present. Movements like #NODAPL only highlight the importance of facing our colonial past. Decolonization as Care was one of our favorites of the series.
Beyond the Decolonize series, Uzma and Carole were writing nonstop on their own pieces. Uzma’s favorites include
The day after Leonard Cohen Died (as if 2016 was not hard enough) and “ Situational Awareness” about the increasing militarization of daily life.
Among Rex’s favorites, his writing knows no genre with his work ranging from the
timeline of anthropological theory, critiques of University of Chicago’s trigger warning letter, and a written memorial for Bernard Bate.
Earlier in the year, the resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions by the American Anthropological Association was rejected. A three-part series by Kerim illustrates why he voted for the boycott.
Part 1: David vs. Goliath
Part 2: SQUIRREL!
Part 3: It’s in the Resolution
Rex reflects on the AAA vote in
What we learned from #anthroboycott in a poetic turn.
Kerim teaching at National Dong Hwa University means he also writes about updates on cultural politics of Taiwan including his talk at Taiwan’s annual anthropology conference in
Seeing Culture Like a State and the relation of gender and hair in youth culture in Freddy’s Hair. (My favorite part of living in time zones 14 hours apart is my insomnia making me very responsive to direct e-mails)
Matthew, our resident museum cataloger r
aves over arXiv and its potential to expand collaboration between anthropologists. Matt also pulls out Max Weber again in Infrastructure as Iron Cage in order to explain the constraints of capitalism in our daily lives.
Cthulhu, graces us with their presence in 2016 by reviewing Donna Haraways’s Making Kin in the Cthulhucene.
The guest contributors this year wrote some the most provocative, brave, and thought provoking work to match the turbulence of 2016. Some standouts among Savage Minds contributors include:
We’re in Crisis! Time to Slow Down: Discernment in a Trumpian Age by Edgar Rivera Colón
#teachingthedisaster by Zoë Wool
Race, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Trump, Prison Abolition, Welfare Reform, Pulse Orlando: #Teachingthedisaster through Crowdsourced Syllabi by Carole McGranahan
Foundations of an Anarchist Archaeology: A Community Manifesto by The Black Trowel Collective ( Decolonizing Anthropology)
Journey between Two Languages by Asmeret Ghebreigziabiher Mehari ( Decolonizing Anthropology)
Reclaiming Detroit: Decolonizing Archaeology in the Postindustrial City by Krysta Ryzewski ( Decolonizing Anthropology)
Give and Take by Leslie J. Sabiston and Didier M. Sylvain ( Decolonizing Anthropology)
The Self at Stake: Thinking Fieldwork and Sexual Violence; Paranoid Reading, Writing, and Research: Secrecy in the Field; and Affect, Attention, and Ethnographic Research: Thoughts on Mental Health in the Field by Alix Johnson
Hunting as an Indigenous Right on Taiwan: A Call to Action by Scott Simon
As 2017 comes around the corner and the consequences of the previous year come into fruition, be sure that Savage Minds and our contributors will be there to reflect, debate, and critique with an anthropological twist.
Have a Happy New Year everyone!
I hope the students and professors that are finishing up their terms in the coming weeks are surviving the last wave of work before taking a well-deserved break. If you need some ideas for papers or just procrastination, here are some readings!
The American Anthropological Association released a
blog post that defines concrete steps for professors and those who work in academia to support undocumented students written by three scholars at University of California, Irvine.
Rachel Barney, professor at University of Toronto proposes a
10-point “Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct”
Months after the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,
financial instability in the city due to ill-informed policy changes are forcing public employees, artists, and citizens to take to the street to protest political corruption.
To those interested in visual anthropology,
photojournalist Matt Black photographed “poverty areas” across the U.S. where poverty rates exceed 20% in beautiful black and white photographs. Along this line of thought, University of Michigan released a series of videos profiling Jason de León and the Undocumented Migration Project where he uses analogue photography as a major methodology. ( Part 1) ( Part 2) ( En Español)
The Times of Higher Education gathers recent conversations surrounding ethnography in changing political climates in fieldsites and at home institutions. Issues brought up by the article include increasing political violence in the field, biases in employment when considering fieldsites, and the dismissal of auto-ethnography.
Riham Alkousaa laments the role of social media in the Syrian Revolution and how Facebook content actually hurt revolutionaries through pacifying international solidarity and making it easier to find individuals involved in the revolution.
See you next week!
So after a week of visiting family for Thanksgiving and slowly accepting the crushing weight of neoliberalism that came crashing down in 2016. I come back with readings to begin the last month of the year.
American Ethnologist posts an interview with Lila Abu-lughod on the impact of her groundbreaking work and reflections on the aftermath of unstable times.
Post-Thanksgiving, Anne Keala-Kelly
considers the role of media like Disney in erasing colonialism and the realities of indigenous life throughout the world.
A piece that only gains relevance in the past few weeks,
. Your newly nihilistic friends and family may enjoy you validating their frustrations as subversions of the current political climate. Current Affairs illustrates the history and importance of “political vulgarity”
If you need a gift idea for the ethnographer in mind, (ignore the cringe inducing first paragraph). Public Books released a list of novels based on anthropologists
Are you a dirty liberal professor trying to indoctrinate pure American youth with your vile leftist propaganda? Well if you are, I hope you stand strong as the spectre of Joseph McCarthy looms over us once again.
Enjoy the first days of December!
I am slowly recovering from the emotions of realizing a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and noted reality TV star will be the U.S. president for four long years. The onslaught of articles, op-ed pieces, and commentary trying to explain the cherry on top of a year filled with unprecedented global changes did little to ease the anxiety of seeing the product of dominant economic and political ideologies. Anthropologists are no stranger to the public with articles coming out in force such as:
A two-part series of posts by Paul Stoller on the importance of anthropology
before and after November 8th.
The American Anthropological Society pushed for
anthropology to be protected in a time where higher education is in peril
The Geek Anthropologist positions public anthropology as expanding conversations outside of academia.
Kristina Killgrove on
Powered by Osteons details the experience of teaching students that subscribe to the ideology of Trump.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly would advocate the importance of anthropology in a globalizing world, but we need more than theory and discussion. Public anthropology that only exists in university classrooms and op-eds does not actually engage the public. What does anthropology do for the student who cannot afford college to attend lectures? Working adults trying to survive in growing economic disparity? How will a new ethnography prevent violence being done to the people we study? What do neologisms that are unintelligible for someone without a humanities degree do for the public? The life of articles in the era of click-bait saturating the social media landscape are days at best. Many Trump supporters have college degrees and had ample opportunity to study the world-shaking discipline of anthropology, what does anthropology do for those who do not want to understand cultural relativism?
Obviously, I see the importance of higher education and anthropological representation in press, but when will conversations lead to action? How does a public anthropology manifest in concrete and material change for the people we engage with? How public anthropology manifests with increasing violence in the U.S. and around the world is still in debate, but it is clear that conversation alone is not enough. Anthropology does not have the luxury of existing solely in print; to do so is to accept irrelevance.
I live in Chicago and the screams of Cubs fans assured me of no sleep for the rest of the night. So here I am bringing you some non-sports readings as my petty retaliation for a late night headache!
As the struggle at Standing Rock continues, most visibly through Facebook where users checked in at Standing Rock in solidarity with activists this week.
Teachers and professors will find this syllabus useful in describing the history and context of resistance in Indigenous America.
Speaking of Indigenous life in America,
listen to in relation to lost knowledge of crops, high rates of diabetes, and food insecurity on reservations due to the history of displacement. Gastropod explain the growing necessity of Native American foodways
As capitalism continues its march into every facet of daily life,
are those who exploit its mysteries and ambiguity “magicians”?
The oldest Chinese laundry in the U.S. closed last week, a
reminder of the racialized immigration policy that led thousands of Asian immigrants into the service industries and its aftermath.
With gentrification pushing out residents in Queens, New York City, the Queens accent is now an “endangered species”. Author Tara Clancy details the shift and struggle of code-switching in a less linguistically diverse world.
See you next week (hopefully with sleep)!
As the days get longer, the temperature drops, the midterm workload grows larger; I offer distractions from the stress of the week!
Feel free to share this
handy flowchart to students, friends, and family to prevent them from being a racist for this year’s Halloween.
Anthropologists are far from the days when Margaret Mead was one of the most visible public intellectuals in the 1960’s and 1970’s. How can ethnography for the public live a second life in the 21st century.
Read an interview between Alma Gottleib and Guest Writer Kristen Ghodsee on Ghodsee’s new book From Notes to Narrative: Writing Ethnographies that Everyone Can Read.
Chinese children who are born in the U.S. and raised back in China, while their parents work in the states are sometimes referred to as “satellite babies”.
NPR details the nuance of coming back to the U.S. for school and the role that institutions play in their coming of age.
The stereotype of Native Americans being predisposed to alcoholism follows a history of pathologizing inferiority under colonialism.
An article by Pacific Standard complicates the narrative of alcohol abuse in indigenous communities by looking at the issue through a postcolonial lens.
In a blog post for As panic surrounding foreigners, sex workers, and queer people in Japan grew; discrimination begins to foster rising rates of STIs. NOTCHES, Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci details the history of venereal disease prevention in Japan.
In the new movie Arrival, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis gets the cinematic treatment in a linguist’s attempt to communicate with aliens.
Hope you have a great week!
As I continuously wait for the US to abolish Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, here are your readings for the week.
All throughout Mexico,
indigenous knowledge surrounding agriculture and foodways provide valuable insight into sustainable futures. Biodiversity, alternative proteins, and landscape restoration are nothing new in the age of food insecurity.
Māori women are embracing the Moko Kauae after colonization almost wiped the tattoos away.
As Māori women embrace increased political visibility, the facial tattoos embody resistance in a changing state.
As gentrification in Washington, D.C. continues to increase rent prices and attract predatory developers, the Ethiopian community is quickly being displaced. The security of ethnic enclaves for new immigrants are threatened in this competitive housing market.
The term “Chinese” cuisine erases the vast diversity of styles and flavors that emerge among different Chinese ethnic groups. NPR covers a new exhibit in New York at the Museum of Chinese in America that explores the nuance of regional cuisine in China.
As the aftermath of the Rio Summer 2016 Olympic Games are slowly manifesting,
social movements for queer people and feminism are gaining traction in response to growing political violence.
See you next week!
As anthropologists in the U.S. prepare for the barrage of racist costumes at the end of October, we here at Savage Minds offer you some readings for the week!
In a hearing world, sign language confronts the linguistic conventions that dominate
“bodily expressiveness”. How can the spaces we create be designed with the deaf and heard of hearing in mind?
your local anthropologist at Reddit answers questions on the culture of online communities in this podcast for Marketplace.
As climate change continues in the anthropocene,
can astrobiology offer insight into the futures of humanity?
As iPhone users live their life without a headphone jack, the
global trade of cobalt stem used in many electronics come from dangerous mines in the Congo.
At Billingsgate Fish Market in the U.K.,Dawn Lyon details the
stakes of the aesthetics of fisherman’s catch in such a competitive market.
See you next week!
As Fall begins to creep around the corner in the Northern hemisphere, I present you with this week’s readings.
As big data continues to permeate every facet of your life,
Cathy O’Neil reveals how structural inequality perpetuates through your personal information.
As the days get shorter and winter creeps on the horizon, I can only remember the Mai Tais from the summer.
However, the history of the tiki bar and its commodification of Hawaiian religious symbols leaves a sour taste.
Need a movie suggestion?
Might I suggest . The film is shot in the Mayan language of Kaqchikel in a conscious effort to combat the racism against indigenous groups in Guatemala. Ixcanul by Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamente
In a piece for the Medium series
Muslim Women Speak, Ayqa Khan details the false dichotomy of being a Muslim woman and embracing sexuality.
As Gary Johnson continues to not inspire voters by stating “What is Aleppo?”.
Feel free to use this to educate the people in your life about the Syrian conflict.
As the struggle of activists in Standing Rock continue, the American Anthropological Association released this comprehensive statement of solidarity with Tribal Nations.
See you next week!
Hope readers in the U.S. are having a great Labor Day (aka your annual state-mandated day off from the crushing reality of capitalism)! Here are your readings for the week!
Is your groundbreaking ethnography not informing public discourse as much as you hoped? Peter Taylor-Gooby turned his research into a novel. Literary ethnographers keep doing your thing!
I am still weak from Beyoncé’s visual album
Lemonade, but did you catch any of the references to Yoruba and the representation of the Orisha, Oshun?
As Boliva recently passed Law Nº 807, the “Gender Identity Law” that provides a wide-range of legal protections for transgender and transsexual people in the country. The law providing a contrast in international LGBTQ rights discourse that focuses on same-sex marriage and decriminalization of homosexuality.
August 31, 2016 marked the 64th Anniversary of the “Criminal Tribes Act” in India. However, these communities still face stigma from police and structural barriers to resources.
Perplexed by an enthusiastic “YAAASSSS” from the young people in your life?
Dive into the queer history of “YAS” and its recent appropriation in popular culture.
Skid Row in Los Angeles exposes the loophole that intense poverty and over-policing have on each other, as witnessed by sociologist Forrest Stuart.
See you next week!
Hi everyone! Hope your first days of class are going well! (If your first week of class is not going as well as you hope…
may I suggest becoming a farmer?)
Here are some readings for the week!
Donald Trump loves to spread the gospel of American exceptionalism, however much of his goods are manufactured outside of the U.S.
Jakarta Post publishes a photo essay about the irony of producing political souvenirs in Indonesia.
NPR interviews McGill University anthropologist Gretchen Bakke about her book
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Electricity Habit and how the U.S. is failing to embrace new energy infrastructure.
As a rare book collection from occupied East Jerusalem moves to West Jerusalem, archaeologists and activists worry about the political ramifications of moving Palestinian artifacts.
As the U.S. National Parks gears up for their first centennial, the racist history surrounding the National Parks has come into light. From the
hunting grounds of wealthy white men and the displacement of indigenous groups in the name of conservation.
University of Chicago has caused much controversy surrounding their denouncement of “safe spaces”.
Many have espoused the necessity of safe spaces for teaching students who experienced trauma. However, the question remains who is safe in these “safe spaces”?
Local Chicago activist Charles Alexander Preston
See you all next week!
Hey everyone! Hope you are enjoying the last few days of summer before the academic grind starts for another year. Here are your readings for the week.
Akemi Johnson details the
contested and racialized history of the term in Hawaii. Identity, colonialism, immigration, and cultural appropriation all coalesce into what it means or does not mean to be hapa hapa.
For those interested in gender and medical anthropology,
Buzzfeed reports on why some transgender activists in Japan are pushing to keep “gender identity disorder” among their psychiatric professionals.
Picking your own produce straight from the field may sound like a fun day for the family, but not the
families of farmworkers who work in dangerous conditions and for low wages every other day of the year.
Multispecies ethnographers can enjoy the interplay of oysters, climate change, and sea farmers in Connecticut cough Anna Tsing? cough
What do you do when gentrification comes from within your own community?
Citylab analyzes “ gentefication” within Latino neighborhoods and the conflicts between keeping cultural heritage and displacing low-income residents.
See you next week!
Hi everyone, hope the first week of August is not beating down on you too hard! Here are your readings for the week.
As the 2016 Summer Olympic games begin this week, Gregory Mitchell observes the
effects of mass sports tourism on the lives of sex workers in Brazil.
Durkheim and the “collective effervescence” has picked up some steam to explain the popularity of Trump. However, to explain Trump as a magician-king. Religion Dispatches looks at the Scottish anthropologist James Frazer and The Golden Bough
kawaii becomes kawai. The immaculate construction and cuteness of bento lunch boxes are used as markers of social status among Japanese parents and a source of shame for more humble lunches.
linguistic diversity of indigenous people in Mexico is gloriously animated in several short films that seek to preserve endangered languages.
Alyssa Jeong Perry cites University of California, Irvine anthropologist Eleana J. Kim and her book The Nation profiles the lives of several Korean adoptees in America and the struggles that follow. (which I am currently reading and highly recommend). Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging
See you next week!
Hi everyone, I apologize for the delay but here is this week’s readings for you!
Hamilton, the musical sensation soon traveling to different cities in the U.S., Current Affairs questions its revisionist portrayal of European colonists and downplaying the history of slavery.
Pokemon Go has millions of players exploring their neighborhoods and ending up in interesting situations in the past few weeks. However, not everyone with disabilities can go out and catch them all. How does the rise of augmented reality technology ignore the needs and embodied experiences of different groups?
Have you noticed your Chinese takeout getting more expensive? Joe Pinsker examines a “global hierarchy of taste” that relates the price and prestige of cuisine to a nation’s political and economic influence.
Anti-Black racism does not only take the form of police brutality.
connects the militant policing of Black neighborhoods with environmental pollution that contribute to higher rates of conditions such as asthma and cancer in Black populations. City Lab
Two-Spirit indigenous populations in North America have a complicated history with anthropologists. In recent years, more non-indigenous people have claimed two-spirit as part of their identity.
Black Girl Dangerous interrogates the violence of colonialism when non-indigenous people claim to be two-spirit.
See you next week!