"We define ourselves more by certain emotions. I've never heard anybody say, 'I'm trying to get over my embarrassment and I feel so inauthentic.'"
Anthropology & Religion
Past Editor: Matthew Engelke
Andrea Hornick and Timothy Ingold: Designs for the Anthropocene
“We bring our own creativity into what we see—the seams get filled in, smoothed over, by our looking.”
Marshall Sahlins’s “Original Affluent Society” 50 Years Later
Capitalism seeks wealth to meet desires. But foraging societies follow “the Zen road to affluence”: not by getting more, but wanting less.
The 21st-Century Social Scientist
“If we want technologies that will not undermine our humanity, social analysts must join with other researchers.”
How to Be a Prophet?
The US Religious Right wins elections, but advances nationalism and white supremacy. Why, then, should the Religious Left seek to emulate them?
Borders Cast Long Shadows on Nations: Talking with Malini Sur
“Borders continue to gather life’s promises, even when walls and checkpoints brutally divide nations and societies.”
In painting immigrants, George W. Bush seeks to ingratiate himself with the American public. But his crimes must be remembered.
To Air Is Human
An aerodynamicist and an anthropologist discuss the world of “Dune,” finding it as aesthetically beautiful as it is functionally implausible.
Tolerance by Accident, Trust by Design
Today, trade and globalization often reinforce the incentives for coercion and violence. But what might the history of India reveal about the economic conditions of toleration?
Can Anthropology Look to the Future?
Transhumanists want to transcend humanity. Where does that leave anthropology?
Thoreau in Good Faith
The writer went to Walden to reorient his world, so that the woods, rather than the town, centered his spiritual map.
What Will Be Impossible?
Why excavate these Reformation characters—the preacher and the werewolf—now? What do they have to teach us?
Leaving Orthodoxy, Again
Losing faith in Orthodox Judaism is an old story. But today it’s often the “heretics” who rely on faith, and the “faithful” who draw on science.
Ethnographic Fictions: Talking with Megha Majumdar
Anthropology’s attention to the granular texture of someone’s life is a beautiful training for being a fiction writer.
Philanthropy and the “Jewish Continuity Crisis”
Today, Jewish philanthropy—like all philanthropy—is big business, thanks to US philanthropy’s torturous entanglement with US capitalism.
When France Fostered Religious Intolerance
French colonial policies in Algeria created animosity between Jews and Muslims—animosity which the state continues to claim was timeless.
For the Slow Work of Critique in Critical Times
With so many crises—environmental, humanitarian, racial, viral, and economic—the work of “critique” can seem to be a luxury. But is it?
Bunkers, Buffers, Borders
“Flagged for deportation, I was hurtled into my own little nightmare, an absurdist take on all the immigration tragedies raging across the world.”
Injustice in the Breeze
Energy companies promise to “go green.” Yet they use the same forms of extractive capitalism that have destroyed the planet’s climate.
In the Library of Lévi-Strauss
The walls were lined with books, as one might expect. Among them were a number of wooden masks, woven baskets, and a tapestry of a bodhisattva. The desk was ...