Big Bend: Narratives of Isolation

“Splendid Isolation, the Big Bend…” is how the National Parks Services introduces Big Bend National Park on its website. My partner and I recently took a several day trip to Big Bend and, I have to say, it was truly splendid. Many of the sights and experiences I had were unlike anything I had experienced…

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…

Book Review: “How to Think Like an Anthropologist”

After each semester I evaluate what did and didn’t work in my classes. I didn’t teach Introduction to Anthropology for Fall 2018 so I had an extra semester to think about what I wanted to do with the course moving forward. I have decided to move on from using a textbook (despite the fact that…

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….

Biology, Race, and “Orientalism”

Edward Said published Orientalism in 1978 and is highly influential, both in post-colonial studies and social theory. Said argues that through the construction of the ‘Orient’ (the East) and the other the ‘Occident’ (the West) defines itself. Western representations of the orient are merely a pseudo-intellectual endeavor of justifying and exalt its own existence instead of a sincere…

Populations, Race, and The Sorites Paradox

The sorites paradox (also called the paradox of the heap) refers to a particular logical contradiction that arises from the analysis of vague terms (Sainsbury, 2009). Terms like ‘heap’, ‘bald’, ‘tall’ all fall into this category. We know a tall or bald person when we see one but what are the necessary and sufficient conditions…

Book Review: Not in Our Genes

I’ve been slacking on writing book reviews and so I need to get back to it so the next several posts will be just that (unless something happens in the news that warrants some interrogation). My next foray into reviews will be a book that I hold in very high regard. It’s a book I…

Science as a Structure of Violence

The study of human diversity and subsequent racialisation of people has been examined and critiqued but has escaped interrogation as an institution by which structural violence is enacted. Works such as Is Science Racist? (2017) by Jonathan Marks have evaluated science as a means of reproducing culturally held racist beliefs and justifying subordination through cultural…

A Brief History of Race in the Western Thought

Race, as a concept, has important ontology in American society. In order to understand the relationship between race, genetic research, and the American class structure, it is necessary to first understand the historical production of race. The following section does not intend to be a comprehensive history of race but merely highlight trends in Europe…

The Commodification of Resistance

During the 2018 meeting of the American Anthropological Association, I took a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It had been nearly two decades since my last trip and it seemed like a politically salient time to visit and reflect on the destruction carried out by a fascist regime. While there, visitors were…