This category contains 26 posts

Two Iron Trunk Boxes Containing the $18.5m USD

FROM sunil GUEI Dearest One, I am the first duaghter of an ex military/ex president been an opposition party to the present Government of COTE D`IVOIRE. On the 19th sept 2002 my father/mother including every members of our family was murdered by the unknown REBELS during the time they attack our house by shooting and … Continue reading

Cultural Categories: Christmas Lights

Representationally Hacking a “Life Group” at the Royal Ontario Museum

You have a phrase called “Golden Age.” We do not want to be depicted the way were were, when we were first discovered in our homeland in North America. We do not want museums to continue to present us as something from the past. We believe we are very, very much here now, and we … Continue reading

Roots of Chinese Culture Research Center

While walking in Chicago Chinatown I passed by a nondescript doorway in an old brick building. Next to three old doorbells was a small piece of white paper taped up with heavy layers of weathered scotch tape. On it were written the words: “The Roots of Chinese Culture Research Center” It was a great mystery … Continue reading

“Sing Red to Fight Darkness”: Chinese Urban Development as Apocalypse

“Yes, people are constructed by their material world, but often they are not themselves the agents behind that material world through which they must live” (Miller 2009: 84). “The apocalyptic describes not just the spilling forth of the unseen, but also of the undifferentiated matter of the possible, of what could have been and was … Continue reading

Selling Lucky Telephone Numbers in Shanghai

  “13661588868” “I want to bring forth wealth, wealth! I want fortune, fortune, fortuuunnneeee to arise! Let fortune flow!” While going through images on my office computer, I found some photos I shot in Shanghai quite a few years ago that I should post here to share. Following up on previous posts about lucky red … Continue reading

Adjusting Floor Numbers to Avoid Bad Luck in a Chengdu Hotel

When I teach Introduction to Anthropology I often like to use simple examples to relativise taken-for-granted categories. “Common-sense” examples usually communicate these the best—so I might talk, for example, about what categories of animal constitute food or how daily life is inflected by tiny habits, rumors or superstitions. I often mention, for example, lucky numbers … Continue reading

What The Photograph Takes, What the Photograph Misses

Fujiazhuang Beach in Dalian presents a dizzying array of of activities and actions, social and personal trajectories of participation and involvement—all jostling up against one another on a small strip of sandy shore. My first day there, as I walked its length I saw a huge group of Russian children having a squirt gun fight next … Continue reading

Shen Yun Buys The Front Page—Promises Authentic, Beautiful, Old “Culture”

As if junk mail spam-bombing college faculty and advertisements stuck up on community bulletin boards everywhere weren’t enough—this morning I awoke to find that the front page of our local community newspaper, The Saint Paul Pioneer Press had an advertisement for Falun Gong’s Shen Yun dance troupe. These guys have some seriously deep pockets and … Continue reading

Ghosts in the City

This month I am finally whittling away at a few of the books in my pile. Among these is the second volume of The Practice of Everyday Life—Living and Cooking. I have been meaning to read it since visiting de Certeau’s grave back in 2012. And now that I am in the middle of it, I’m embarrassed … Continue reading


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