White Men and Their Toxic White Fragility

It has been several months since the shooting in my classroom at UNC Charlotte where two of my students were killed, four were physically injured, and an untold amount of long-term mental, emotional, and spiritual harm was perpetrated. It is terrifyingly wide-spread the consequences of the shooting have been. It hasn’t just affected me; my…

Religion and politics in the US: How the Christian Right moves away from Jesus

Along with an anthropology degree, I also completed a degree in philosophy with a focus on philosophy of religion. My primary interests in that are theodicies (excuses for why an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god could let bad stuff happen), and how religion interacts with social institutions. This usually manifests itself as an exploration of the…

Born to Be Cute: Charisma and Niche Construction

As a multispecies ethnographer and evolutionary anthropologist, I am interested in the ways in which ecological interaction between various taxa affects their selection pressures and evolutionary trajectories. I spend much of my time thinking about niche construction–the ways in which organisms modify their own and others’ evolutionary niches (Laland et al. 2016)–and how we as…

The Story of a Mass Shooting Survivor and Anthropologist

  On April 30, my Liberal Studies class, framed as Anthropology and Philosophy of Science (Syllabus), was the site of a horrific event. Two of my students were killed while four more were injured. I will not share their names as to protect them, although that information is available elsewhere. I will use broad terms…

Admissions Fraud and the SAT: Hidden Implications

As you are well aware, there is a huge college admissions scandal that has been brought to life. Forbes calls it “The Worst Crime In College Admissions History Exemplifies The Worst Parenting“. Affluent parents are bribing their children’s way into prestigious universities, falsifying records and SAT scores, faking athletic performance, etc. Much of the light…

Hummingbirds are Nature’s…

One of my passions is studying multispecies entanglements. As an anthropologist, the ways in which human activities affect the lives of other living organisms are of central interest but the ontological relationships of other organisms goes deep. A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my partner (who is a gender scholar) and…

Decolonizing Primatology: Part I

We all have texts that are formative in our academic, professional, spiritual, personal, mental, and philosophical lives. There are a few books that I can point to as turning points in my intellectual life. For example, Orientalism by Edward Said, Le Suicide by Émile Durkheim, Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas, Why I’m Not a Scientist by Jon Marks are all…

Revisiting Geno-colonization: Senator Warren and “Native DNA”

I woke up this morning to the news that Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test “providing strong evidence” that she has a Native American ancestor 6-10 generations ago (I’ll unpack that later). While I appreciate Senator Warren’s take-down of banking executives and much of her politics, this is a misguided tug-of-war with Trump….

The Value of Anthropology: My Story

Dr. Agustín Fuentes argues that it is human creativity that is the defining characteristic of our species ( see my review of The Creative Spark here: Book Review- The Creative Spark). I agree with his position and there is no better way to see this than to focus on one of the most stark expressions of our…