This category contains 10 posts

Keep Your Drones At Home

A few days ago some students stopped by my office to ask me about an email that they had all just received from the Dean of Students Office. The message announced a ban on the use of drones on campus. The sudden appearance of the all-campus message suggested that there had been an incident that … Continue reading

Utopia or Bust Is a Fine Guide to Our Present Crisis

This past December Verso had an incredible book sale—50% off everything and digital books at a fraction of their list price. To top it off, they did something that I wish every bookseller did—buy the book and get the digital book for free. The sale provided the excuse I needed to catch up on books I … Continue reading

Patrick Wilken’s Biography of Claude Lévi-Strauss

I just finished a very enjoyable read—Patrick Wilcken’s biography Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology. I picked it up used at a local Minneapolis Bookseller, Magers and Quinn late last week. Billed as “the first biography in English” of its subject, it was not something I could turn down. For years I have enjoyed teaching Tristes … Continue reading

A Practical Science of the Singular

This morning I finally finished The Practice of Everyday Life, Volume 2: Living and Cooking. I don’t have time to write a commentary, but did want to post some choice quotes from the short essay at the end by de Certeau reflecting on the study of everyday life, “A Practical Science of the Singular.” In … Continue reading

Old Red Books For Sale

Protection in the Nuclear Age

“In this uneasy age in which we live, strife abounds in many troubled parts of the world. The weapons of modern warfare have become increasingly powerful and numerous…In the face of this threat, a strong civil defense is needed not only throughout government, but on the part of the individual and the family.” In the … Continue reading

The Weight of Creation(ism)

“…it is an inherent characteristic of common-sense thought precisely to deny this and to affirm that its tenets are immediate deliverances of experience, not deliberated reflections upon it…common sense rests its [case] on the assertion that it is not a case at all, just life in a nutshell. The world is its authority.”—Clifford Geertz, “Common … Continue reading

On Becoming An Anthropologist (in 1970)

Last month, while doing some deep cleaning in our anthropology lab, I came across a small booklet titled On Becoming and Anthropologist: A Career Pamphlet For Students. Prepared by Walter Goldschmidt at UCLA, it was published by the American Anthropological Association in 1970. Its attractive burnt orange color, retro font, and the unidentified “ethnic symbol” … Continue reading

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris

This summer I have spent a good amount of time reading widely, and even somewhat randomly, books that examine the sociocultural in a poetic or literary way. I have been searching for an ethnographic approach to rethink and rewrite my research on social memory and nostalgia in a way that addresses the contingent, contradictory, emergent … Continue reading

A Visit to Gao Village

In the summer of 2010 I was lucky enough to be able to make a visit to Gao Village. It was a rainy day, and we were behind schedule when we arrived. I didn’t take as much video or as many photos as I had hoped. Above is a small selection of photos, and the … Continue reading


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