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Anthropology Magazine

Expanding worlds by exploring everything human.

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With the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the SAPIENS Public Scholars Training Fellowship program guides anthropologists on accessible writing and podcasting for nonacademic audiences.
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An open window separates a pitch-dark room on one side from an illuminated teal exterior and light blue curtains blowing in the breeze on the other.

The Visit

SAPIENS’ 2024 poet-in-residence imagines a wordless conversation with a troubled figure from the past and considers legacies of marginalization during the figure’s life and in archives.
On a body of water surrounded by large trees, a person stands in and rows a canoe with a wooden paddle. Large white bags are piled near the front of the canoe.

Cultivating Modern Farms Using Ancient Lessons

An anthropologist examines what past farmers can teach us about adapting to climate change amid—and sometimes against—powerful political influences.
In a dusty, sepia-toned scene, a person wearing a headdress and long dress stands in the middle of a dirt road while a person operating a rickshaw passes them. A building, car, trees, and a distant mountain range fill the background.

Imphal as a Pond

As civil war continues to rip apart and threaten communities and families in Manipur in Northeast India, a poet reflects on those who leave and those who stay in the capital city of Imphal.
A person wearing a snorkel, wetsuit, and flippers floats underwater as sunlight streams into the ocean. In the background, another diver swims near the surface.

A Freediver Finds Belonging Without Breath

An anthropologist takes us on a journey “down the line” to explore what freediving can teach us about ourselves and kinship with the sea.
A large group of people—some seated and others standing behind them—gather under a stone roof and look at a black laptop sitting on a small maroon footstool placed on a wooden table.

The Trauma Mantras

An anthropologist’s memoir in prose poems offers insights into her experiences working with refugees and on humanitarian projects in many parts of the globe over the last 20 years.
A person’s hand leans on a car’s steering wheel while holding a black-and-white aerial photograph of a section of town with particular sites such as Patapsco River, Dundalk, and Arundel Corp. Shipyard labeled.

Baltimore’s Toxic Legacies Have Reached a Breaking Point

In a new book, an anthropologist reveals the heavy tolls industries have placed on residents in this eastern U.S. city. Here, she explains how these burdens have only worsened since the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
A child in a puffer coat squats in front of a memorial of flowers and various pictures of an owl, placing a piece of paper among the other objects.

What a Community’s Mourning of an Owl Can Tell Us

The outpouring of grief over New York’s Flaco the owl, who died recently, reveals how much attitudes toward these creatures have changed.
A stone figure with the body of a seated lion and the head of a person wearing a headdress sits in the foreground with a large stone pyramid towering in the distance.

Why I Talked to Pseudoarchaeologist Graham Hancock on Joe Rogan

An archaeologist explains his motivations and strategies for appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast with a purveyor of misinformation about the ancient past.
A person wearing a white hat, red-and-black backpack, and holding two hiking poles walks down a sandy trail lined with high grasses.

Conflicting Times on the Camino de Santiago

As increasing numbers of pilgrims walk the Camino, a European network of historic pilgrimage routes, those who journey to “slow down” their lives often don’t recognize the burdens of tourism on locals.
The toppled steeple of a church lies on the ground among other pieces of collapsed metal. A large blue and white building with a gold object on its roof towers in the background.

Spotlighting War’s Cultural Destruction in Ukraine

An archaeologist, anthropologist, and film expert examine the staggering amount of damage to cultural heritage caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Two side-by-side graphics depict skulls, one facing forward and the other in profile. Both images are outlined in blue and have sections shaded in yellow. The profile image has three red lines spanning across it in two V shapes.

Learning From Snapshots of Lost Fossils

Not all fossil discoveries happen in the field. In museum archives, researchers found photos of remains from Paleolithic children who had belonged to a group of early Homo sapiens in Eurasia.
In a pitch-black environment, a person with black smudges on their face wears a fur pelt and holds a lit torch.

How Accurate Is the Stone Age Thriller Out of Darkness?

An archaeologist with expertise in human origins assesses the accuracy of a 2022 film about Homo sapiens who encounter Neanderthals.
Three people stand in a line holding lit candles. The person in the center holds a piece of paper with a red triangle colored in with marker on the left side, and three horizontal stripes—black, white, and green—on the right. In the white area, text written in red marker reads, “MSJC family in solidarity.”

The Responsibility of Witnesses to Genocide

Palestinian narratives of their own dispossession are routinely dismissed—making witnessing Israel’s ongoing onslaught on Palestine that reignited in 2023 an urgent task. But witnessing is not enough.
Several people wearing matching brown jumpsuits sit on a long brown bench, holding landline phones and facing a large clear wall. On the other side of the first window, a person with a white headscarf on cries while holding a phone.

How Israeli Prisons Terrorize Palestinians—Inside and Outside Their Walls

An anthropologist in the West Bank explains how Israel’s prison regime dehumanizes Palestinians, who nevertheless dream of freedom and resist erasure.
Taken from under the frond of a leafy overhang, waters near the shore of a beach gently ripple under the bright orange glow of the setting sun.

Bila Mwili

A poet-historian in Tanzania remembers those who have passed but who are still nearby.
A header image on a cellphone of several people wearing military uniforms and holding hands is above a yellow logo and white text that reads, “Israel Defense Forces.” White text underneath reads, “Official IDF Twitter account. We tweet real-time information and updates in 7 languages—choose yours.”

The Viral Atrocities Posted by Israeli Soldiers

Tracing 75 years of Israeli war photography, an anthropologist explains how images that reframe disproportionate violence as proof of victory have intensified in the war on Gaza that erupted in 2023.
A group of people stand on an emptied dirt plot around a square hole. The one in the center, with lighter skin than the rest, holds the end of a shovel in the hole.

Unearthing the Origins of Plantation Slavery on São Tomé

The African island nation played a central—but little-known—role in the rise of the global sugar trade based on enslaved labor. To uncover this past, a team launched the country’s first archaeological research.
A large, tan cardboard box sits on a shelf with a label that reads “C2” below it. On two small pieces of black tape on the box’s front side, white letters read “Infant” and “Name Once Known.”

Infant, Name Once Known

A poet-anthropologist of the Chickasaw Nation honors infant remains historically used in teaching collections at the University of Illinois.
A person with short black hair looks away from the viewer out of a window on the room’s back wall. Between the person and the window is a narrow bed with blue, pink, and red linens.

What It’s Like to Grow Old on the Margins

In a brief documentary, an anthropologist provides a glimpse into the precarious lives of poor older Peruvians whose experiences mirror those of countless elders around the world.
With several people around them, a person wearing an olive green headwrap and white long-sleeved shirt cradles a beige cat who is facing the viewer. They are in a building topped with an ornately decorated gold dome.

For the Love of Cats in Turkey

On a visit to feline-friendly Turkey, an anthropologist considers what long-standing practices of caring for cats reveal about human societies.
At sunset, a large, gently rippling body of water reflects yellow, orange, and pink light. Small lights scatter along dark silhouetted mountains on the horizon.

Fishing for Dust

A poet-historian from Manipur, India, shapes tensions between violence and beauty into an allegory, calling residents and readers alike to stay awake.
An older person wearing a black headscarf and embroidered skirt sits on the ground, resting against a concrete wall.

Living as Stateless Palestinians in Jordan

Israel’s war on Gaza that erupted in 2023 continues a long history of systemic displacement of Palestinians. Over 2 million Palestinian refugees currently live in Jordan in indefinite exile, tens of thousands without citizenship in any country.
Against a black background, two faces in profile look in opposite directions. The one on the left has straight brown hair with pale skin, and the one on the right has slightly darker skin and disheveled orange hair.

Excavating the Coexistence of Neanderthals and Modern Humans

An archaeologist explains how remains recently recovered from a cave in present-day Germany suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans populated Europe together for at least 10,000 years.
A crowd of people, with several taking pictures on cellphones, surround a damaged structure in a public square. The small building, with its tiling cracked and wooden seating splintered, has a large arrangement of white flowers in front of it.

At the Intersection of Sarinah Plaza, Thamrin Street

A poet-anthropologist in Indonesia criticizes extremist militants who use religion to commit violence.
A person wearing a black baseball cap and a shirt covered in a collage of different images of a man’s face walks down a presentation hall. A screen showing many people elsewhere is to their right and a poster with a graphic of a gun hangs over a booth in front.

Among Gun Rights Activists, Fears About Survival Reign

An anthropologist delves into what the rising ranks of local firearm-touting militias in Virginia reveal about intensifying political polarization in the U.S.—and what these shifts might mean for the 2024 presidential election.
Two people—one in a white T-shirt and the other in burgundy robes—work together to hang a string of white pieces of cloth with black writing on them.

Replacing Plastic Prayers With Biodegradable Blessings in the Himalayas

As synthetic prayer flags and scarves pollute the Himalayan region, a team of scholars and activists work to spread sustainable materials drawn from Indigenous knowledge.
A person wearing a long-sleeved black maxi dress and a red headscarf holding a green umbrella walks on a public street with a silver truck and several people in black hats, helmets, and khaki uniforms in the background.


A poet-anthropologist from India recalls a checkpoint encounter in Sri Lanka, just months after the Easter Sunday bombings.
A person with short gray hair wearing a blue shirt holds a black camera up to their face and points it at a figure that looks like a hairy unclothed person with one hand on their lap and the other on its chin.

What’s Behind the Evolution of Neanderthal Portraits

Since the 1800s, Neanderthal depictions have evolved not only with changing science but also due to social views. An archaeologist explains why visualizations of our evolutionary cousins matter.
In a wooden structure without walls, three people wearing loincloths and no shirts, and two individuals wearing T-shirts surround and point to spots on a large tan and green map.

Finding Footprints Laid at the Dawn of Time

In the Brazilian Amazon, a university-trained archaeologist and Wajãpi Indigenous people understand traces from the past differently—but their partnership bears fruit for both.
Shot from above, a close-up photograph features a cluster of flowers with white petals and yellow centers with green blades of grass growing out of a rough, rocky plot of brown soil.

Expert Witness Reviews Exhibits for Asylum Proceedings, Franco-González Class Member

A poet-anthropologist who has been an expert witness in asylum proceedings for Mexican nationals resists dehumanizing legal and political language to make space for the humanity of asylum-seekers.
Taken from an upward angle, a photograph features a shirtless person wearing a red, blue, yellow, and black feathered headdress, colorful bracelet, and several beaded necklaces. They are holding a yellow and green flag.

Reading the Future of an Amazonian Mine

In Ecuador, Shuar people, an Indigenous group in the region, face increasing threats to their ways of life from industrial mining. But some find strength and courage to resist through knowledge gained by using hallucinogenic plants.
On a wood-paneled floor, four barefoot people wearing different outfits in shades of red, yellow, and blue dance in front of a gray wall. Captured in motion, and therefore blurry, each has several of their dance moves overlapping and visible at once.

Making Anthropological Poetry Reel

In featuring three SAPIENS poems, students in a digital anthropology seminar infused video reels for Instagram with vivid history and powerful emotions.