All posts by Edward Chong

Edward Chong

Recent graduate from Loyola University Chicago. Current U-Boat Tour Guide and Around the Web Digest Intern for Savage Minds.

Around the Web Digest: April 24

As my internet connection is finally back after a cat-induced Wi-Fi disruption, I come with more readings for the week.

By the time this goes live, May Day demonstrations will happen all around the world for labor rights. As a reminder of the struggle, Guatemalan immigrant workers continue to face low wages and dangerous working conditions on chicken plants all around the U.S.

Archaeology and tribal land are not safe from Trump either as the evil cheese snack moves to change the Antiquities Act to privatize land and further extract already depleted natural resources. 

Speaking of #teachingthedisaster: Yarimar Bonilla, Marisol LeBrón, and Sarah Molinari created the #PRSyllabus to contextualize the debt crisis in Puerto Rico.

University of California, Berkeley just released a Q & A with Nancy Scheper-Hughes for the “Anthropology on the Front Lines” Conference and illustrates the responsibility of an anthropologist through what she calls “barefoot anthropology”.

More readings to come!


Around the Web Digest- March 27

As the buds start popping out on the northern hemisphere, I emerge with your readings for the week.

As contemporary travel writing continues to perpetuate colonialist ideas and ignore the impact of military occupation in Hawaii; I ask all readers to never call poke, “sashimi salad”.

As violence in Chicago increases due to rising socioeconomic disparity and racial segregation, friendship among children are clouded with apprehension, fear, and strategic choices.

The current political climate will undoubtedly provide artists with new material for years to come, but fifty artists reflect on the power of art as a form of protest and their duty to speak truth to power.

Brandon Jones offers a few tips and suggestions on how to teach climate change in a humanities environment.

Speaking of climate change, Medical Anthropology Quarterly posted a series of essays on “Sensorial Engagements with a Toxic World”.

Allegra Laboratory posts an essay on the lives of Syrian women in Istanbul and the role gender has on their displacement.

If you need a quick introduction of Edward Said and Orientalism to Facebook friends that continue to post xenophobic garbage, Al Jazeera posted an easy to digest short video that complicates the binary thinking of the West.

Around the Web Digest- March 19

As spring begins to rear its head, I come bearing the fruits of internet.

Buenos Aires, anarchism, and pastries. If a similar movement in bakeries happened in the U.S., I would like to propose the “cake pop(ulism)s” and immediately apologize for that joke I spent 20 minutes thinking about.

NPR illustrates the lives and history of a forgotten immigrant community in the Southern U.S., the Chinese of the Mississippi Delta.

For anthropologists looking to work with indigenous communities in the U.S., a helpful list was compiled on Native Anthro filled with tips to avoid awkward neocolonial moments.

CNN follows the life of Jorge Matadamas as he attempts to readjust to life in Mexico after being deported from the U.S.

Even after years of work to prove race as a social reality, not a biological one; Governments and public policy continues to be driven by the ideology of racial panic.

See you all next week.



Around the Web Digest- February 20

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday and in old Chicago tradition, I tried to grab a paczki from my favorite bakery. Unfortunately, in my own personal tradition, I came back empty handed. However, I do not come back empty handed here and I bring new readings for the week!

Anthropologists live the mantra “talk s**t, get hit” when white nationalists tried to come for cultural anthropology’s eccentric, yet well-meaning grandpa Franz Boas.

As the last protestors at the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock were forcibly removed and arrested last week, we are left to recommit ourselves to environmental resistance as the powers at be continue to push for ecological disaster.

Sara Shneiderman reflects on the fragile nature of citizenship in the age of the travel ban and demands a critical reflection on the destruction it takes to create a “home”.

Youtube and other social media sites facilitate an archive and community for transgender youth in Chile, where young trans and gender-nonconforming youth can learn about the process of transitioning and document their own experiences outside the western model of LGBT life.

Harajuku is dead.

Emma Louise Backe reflects on the emotional tolls of fieldwork as both an advocate and ethnographer of rape victim advocates. For any readers out there in emotionally stressful times, please take care of yourselves.

See you next week!


Around the Web Digest- February 13

It is 66ºF in the middle of February in Chicago and I am appreciating the warmth while writing this before climate change destroys us all. With that I have your readings for the week!

While we believe in all you doctoral students out there finishing your dissertations and we are sure they will be fantastic, might I suggest you change directions and drop a mixtape instead?

For centuries, the Nunatsiavut people in the northern regions of what is now Canada along the Atlantic and their long artistic history has never received recognition due to perceived acculturation. Only in recent years has the work of Labrador Inuit artists and craftspeople gained acceptance from institutions and broader indigenous artistic communities.

In addition to the standard audio recorders, cameras, and notebooks to gather data from fieldwork; Anthropologia 2.0 offers why your smartphone may be one of the best tools in the ethnographic methods toolbox.

Valentine’s Day was last week, but in the spirit of Esther Newton “Margaret Mead made me gay”. 

Finally, it would not be a proper Around the Web Digest without your weekly reminder of resistance.

Haley Bryant and Emily Cain discuss the possibilities and struggles of being both an ethnographer and activist in rising political turmoil.

The Society of Medical Anthropology released a letter to Trump and those trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act detailing why without affordable healthcare the most marginalized in the U.S. would face greater struggles.

The proposed border wall by Trump would cut through Tohono O’odham land, another blow to indigenous sovereignty in the past few months. 

See you next week!

Around the Web Digest: February 5

As I continue dealing with the crushing weight of anxiety on my journey to graduate school and the fetid assault on human dignity we call contemporary U.S. politics, I return with readings for the week.

For any grad students who struggle with sleep trying to finish their dissertation, just think of getting on the list of best cultural anthropology dissertations for next year! (or dread the coming stress of the job search and start reframing personal success)

If you are a fan of African American history and data visualization, The Public Domain Review displays beautiful hand-drawn infographics by W. E. B. Du Bois about the Black economy in Georgia.

The podcast The Kitchen Sisters explores the role kimchi plays as a cultural ambassador for Korean culture through “gastrodiplomacy”. However, I was reminded of the one time I went to a potluck where a friend tried to feed me bland and unfermented cabbage, where he had the audacity to call it kimchi.

Speaking of food, Diep Tran on NPR illustrates the disconnect between trendy foodies looking for cheap eats and exploitation of immigrant labor in restaurants.

If you happen to be in New York City before March 7, 2017, I would suggest the “Black Cowboy” exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem that explores the hidden history and present state of Black Cowboys in the U.S.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes recalls her how her life and research informs her long history of activism among many communities. The piece on Boom California emphasizes the special role anthropologists have in creating theory that is accessible to broader publics and engage the people anthropologists write about toward collective liberation.

I will be back soon with more readings, until then keep reading and resisting.

Around the Web Digest- January 15

I hope all of our readers are riding the waves of energy that came from all the actions and demonstrations the past week in order to fight fascism. If you could not make it to a march, I hope you were part of the Read-in last week and follow the Facebook group to keep up with future readings!

Reading “Society Must Be Defended” is the only the most recent in anthropology’s history with the teach-in. Cultural Anthropology provides a brief history of the teach-in and why anthropologists need to continue the tradition today.

Cultural Anthropology also released a series of readings under the title “The Rise of Trumpism” that asks the uncomfortable questions to guide future action in the face of a Trump presidency. If the past few days did not solidify the role of academics in politics, anthropologists need to diversify the way scholarship reaches the public in order to combat the coming bigotry from an emboldened far right.

As neoliberalism continues to waver in the winds of political change, anthropologists in higher education will have to teach students who live in the turmoil of economic and political crisis. Anthropology News looks to innovations in pedagogy in order to find where anthropology will be in the face of labor automation and privatization.

Just a few days in the Trump administration, reproductive healthcare and public arts are in danger due to executive orders. As I type this the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines gained new life and moving forward with their construction. As museums and other cultural institutions are at risk, the American Alliance of Museums put out a call to action. Anthropologists have a stake in so many of our endangered institutions, complacency is no longer acceptable.


Around the Web Digest- January 8

To start this post off, I want to remind readers of our Read-In on January 20, 2017 where we will read Michel Foucault’s lecture eleven of “Society Must Be Defended” from March 17, 1976. The Read-In will be between 10AM and 10PM Eastern Standard Time and after a discussion will be held in person, through #ReadIn, or on the Facebook page found here.

Now for the weekly readings!

If the role of anthropologists and fellow academics are still in question in the coming years, Mark Edelman on a blog post for PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review summarizes what is at stake for our communities if we do not take action against the current wave of authoritarianism.

We want you to all check out the blog Academography: Critical Ethnography & Higher EducationSimilar to this blog’s vein, Academography is a collaborative blog that brings together work from interdisciplinary scholars under the umbrella term “Critical University Studies”.

The documentary What Was Ours was recently shown through PBS’s Independent Lens and currently available online to view. The film follows two Arapaho youth and a Shoshone elder as they travel to the Field Museum in Chicago to find objects that detail the history and future of indigenous life in the Americas.

Jason Hickel from the London School of Economics illustrates the huge clandestine profits made by rich countries that are obscured under the veil of “aid” to poorer countries. The article would work in classes and conversations that deal with globalization and its repercussions.

Zhou Youguang, the inventor of Pinyin, or the most commonly accepted method to Romanize Chinese has died at the age of 111.

In Switzerland, naturalization into citizenship is dealt with at the canton and municipal level, not the federal. In short, you can be denied citizenship for annoying your neighbors.

The American Anthropological Association is hosting a webinar titled “Social Science Advocacy in 2017 and Beyond” on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 between 2PM and 3PM to discuss social and behavioral science research in a turbulent political climate. RSVP at this link.

That is all for now, please read and discuss for our Read-In this week!

Around the Web Digest: 2016 in Review

  1. 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 raves 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:

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!

Around the Web Digest- November 28

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!

Around the Web Digest- November 21

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, Current Affairs illustrates the history and importance of “political vulgarity”. Your newly nihilistic friends and family may enjoy you validating their frustrations as subversions of the current political climate.

If you need a gift idea for the ethnographer in mind, Public Books released a list of novels based on anthropologists (ignore the cringe inducing first paragraph).

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!

Around the Web Digest: November 7

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.

Around the Web Digest- October 31

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 Gastropod explain the growing necessity  of Native American foodways in relation to lost knowledge of crops, high rates of diabetes, and food insecurity on reservations due to the history of displacement.

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)!

Around the Web Digest- October 17

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 NOTCHES, Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci details the history of venereal disease prevention in Japan. As panic surrounding foreigners, sex workers, and queer people in Japan grew; discrimination begins to foster rising rates of STIs.

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!

Around the Web Digest- October 3

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!