"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.'"
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.
“Lupin” and the Limits of “Haute Culture”
Does Netflix’s “Lupin” resist the notoriously white milieu of European high culture, or, instead, endorse it?
Let’s Polarize Together
Humans can adapt to almost anything. So if social media forces us into permanently hostile camps, we will learn to stop seeing any other way.
Karen Carpenter’s Afterlives
Everyone knows that feeling when a song—written by someone else in some other place or time—sees you so completely in the present. But how does that happen?
Black folks can call into being an alternative relationship to TV, one that prompts a shift in consciousness and just possibly alters the future.
“Parasite” and the Plurality of Empire
Bong Joon-ho’s critique in Parasite is less of “universal” capitalism than of the particular imperialisms that have shaped Korean life.
The Floating Park: Parc de Belleville, Paris
“It is rare, on a summer evening in Paris, to find this sort of quiet along with the sensation of having the city at your feet.”
Women’s Ways of Aging
Studying human evolution reveals that older women have always been essential to the surviving and thriving of the species.
“The Culture of Narcissism” @40—and Counting
What if today’s self-centered world was born decades before digital media, as part of a much longer transformation of American society?
India’s Fans and India’s Future
Obsession is one of the hallmarks of love in Indian cinema: specifically, a love that breaks down borders.
Patricia Banks on Supporting African American Museums
Studies of museum patronage mostly focus on social class. That's not the whole story.
Writing the Latinx Bildungsroman
Before our eyes, US Latinx writers are inventing a new form of the novel. The classic bildungsroman, or novel of education and development, typically ...
What Future for Magic Mushrooms?
Hallucinogenic mushrooms have been used for centuries by numerous indigenous peoples around the world. These fungi appear in Aztec statues (like the one ...
It happens every year. Besides the “Best of” lists that heave into view as early as late November, there are the conspicuous “Worst of” lists. Contrary to their tone, these lists also itemize the ...
Fill the Halls: Space and Possibility in Lahore, Pakistan
Lahore today can feel like a city of security checks and gated passages, tall walls and ...
Cute. Dangerous. Asian American. “Gremlins” @35
Gremlins—released 35 years ago this summer—is about a cute, furry ...
Eighteen years ago, in Borneo, Kelly Wiglesworth told a camera crew that she didn’t come to make friends, she came to win. This iconic moment from Survivor defined much of the nearly two decades of reality TV that would follow ...
Anthropologists and Novelists
Tim Watson’s Culture Writing surveys the border between anthropology and literature in the years following World War II. Watson provides illuminating ...