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…

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…

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…

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…

New Semester: Science Studies Course

It’s a new semester and I am teaching two sections of LBST 2213 (STS) along with two sections of introduction to anthropology. The Science Studies course focuses on the nature of science and issues with biological determinist arguments in human sciences. You can see the syllabus here: Syllabus for Science Studies Course: LBST 2213 On the…