Tag: Anthropology

The Fabric of the Times

In recent years we have watched hoods become wholly emblematic of social uprisings, political movements, and unrest. Sometimes overt, at other moments they work silently in the background—not wholly ...

Where do Morals Come From?

The social sciences have an ethics problem. No, I am not referring to the recent scandals about flawed and fudged data in psychology and political science.1 I’m talking about the failure of the ...

Cyborg Communitarianism

Since life on Earth is so hard, the utopian imagination likes to turn to space. Almost as soon as astronomers and their telescopes emptied the heavens of angels, philosophers like Bernard Le Bovier ...

A Laborless Eden?

A utopian fantasy has always served as an engine for scientific progress—the fantasy that, one day, we might harness enough fossil fuel, enough computing power, and enough mined mineral wealth to ...

Seeing Things

December 1, 2015 — One of the great myths of our time concerns the promise of a global vision, of seeing things with the power, distance, and clarity of an all-encompassing vantage point, what Donna ...

Saving Muslim Women

The 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris—along with the brutal activities of ISIS—have spurred a resurgence of concern about Islam in Western media. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof fretted ...

Planetary Politics

In 2000, the atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen and the ecologist Eugene Stoermer proposed that the earth had entered a new age. The Holocene period, the geological term for the past 11,500 years, had ...

The Trouble with “Modernity”

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that capitalism is the engine behind the environmental crises of the early 21st century. It doesn’t even take a Marxist: as the French environmental journalist ...

What World? Whose Algorithms?

In an arresting chapter in Carolyn L. Kane’s new book, Chromatic Algorithms: Synthetic Color, Computer Art, and Aesthetics after Code, she analyzes the movie Predator, which gives expression to ...

Studying Up

In an often-quoted manifesto, Laura Nader urged fellow anthropologists (and, by extension, sociologists and other social scientists) to “study up,” do their research among the rich and powerful ...

Organic Machines

Matthew Barney and Edward Burtynsky are two contemporary artists not typically discussed in the same sentence. Barney is a provocateur known largely for his elaborately staged films filled with ...

Margaret Mead’s Countercultures

If you were raised in the United States during the 1960s, as I was, and if you came of intellectual age in the 1980s, as I did, chances are that you too have inherited a strangely black-and-white ...

Animal Feelings

We read stories of how, after losing their companions, dogs and bunnies refuse to eat; ducks and horses exhibit nervousness and social anxiety; dolphins strand themselves ...