This category contains 10 posts

Mummy or Corpse?

For years the Field Museum in Chicago has had the desiccated naked body of a child on display—at child viewing level no less—in their Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit. For over a decade I have used this as an example in lectures in my Museums, Exhibitions and Representations class as an example of the power of museums … Continue reading

Essentializing Eastern and Western Culture Through Infographics

While going through some old files on my computer this morning I came across a file I had saved with a collection of graphic illustrations of differences between “Eastern” and “Western” culture. Drawn a few years back by a Chinese artist named Yang Liu in Germany, some of them are very humorous and thoughtfully executed. For … Continue reading

Experience Japanese Culture Free of Charge! Let’s Try!

Just as I was heading to the gate to catch my flight leaving Narita airport I passed a last-chance culture display. In the vast neutral space of the terminal the small tatami covered stage, complete with paper screen, umbrella, lantern with Japanese characters and a koto was like some kind of cultural drinking fountain. A last … Continue reading

Mystery Object #18: Foreigner Costume

“Hi, I’m a foreigner.” Over twenty years ago, while shopping at a store in Japan I came across a party novelty “foreigner” (gaijin) costume set–for dressing as a foreigner at parties. In this case it meant a specific kind of foreigner. The set came complete with a large white nose and two tape-on blue eyes. … Continue reading

“Moroccan” (Tourist) Things

Shen Yun Performing Arts as Falun Gong’s “Wild East Show”

This past week I went to my mailbox in the social sciences divisional office and was surprised to find every faculty mailbox had been stuffed to overflowing with a 2014 calendar of the Shen Yun dance troupe. It would be treating the “calendars” with too much respect to call them junk mail—much more respect than … Continue reading

Not Playing Ping Pong Playing Ping Pong

“The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth it is the map that precedes the territory—precession of simulacra—it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and … Continue reading

Faux Vintage Photos and Profound Academic Labor

Weekly field assignments are making for a very interesting and useful pedagogical experiment in this Fall’s Introduction to Anthropology class. Reviewing and scoring the field journals each Tuesday, however, makes for some intense grading. At least taking a fake Daguerreotype photo of the pile of black Moleskine notebooks, and posting it on Facebook makes it feel … Continue reading

Yungang Grottoes: The Missing Pieces Meet The Big Holes

Oh, I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece Hi-dee-ho, here I go lookin’ for my missin’ piece –The Missing Piece (Shel Silverstein, 1976) This afternoon I was doing some cataloging of images when I came across a folder from a few years back. In it I found a few photos … Continue reading

Cannibal Tours

A year ago a student borrowed our university library’s copy of Dennis O’Rourke’s classic film, Cannibal Tours, and never returned. The film is out of print and it has been tough to find a replacement—a big inconvenience because this film is so well done. I know of few films that so effectively make viewers aware of … Continue reading


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