Anthropology / Everything Human

Columns

Columns

  • The Black Lives Matter movement has brought issues of race to headlines across the United States.

    “Race”

    Each of us has our own notions of what “race” is and what it tells us about ourselves and others. Our roots as humans are tangled, and our complex histories and social constructs make race impossibly difficult to define. This blog explores the factors that make race such a fractious concept and points us toward new ways of understanding its meaning in our lives.

  • Animalia

    “Animalia” explores humanity’s place in nature. Homo sapiens faces the same challenge as any other species—a perpetual struggle for survival involving disease, overpopulation, competition for resources, and a necessity to adapt biologically and behaviorally to a changing environment. This blog examines how our interactions with other organisms and with the environment have shaped our past, and how they may influence our future and the future of the planet.

  • Conflicted

    The world is, tragically, replete with conflict and violence. It is also full of claims so frequently repeated that we fail to adequately question them—that humans are inherently warlike, for instance, or that developing countries are more prone to war. “Conflicted” explores the many facets of human conflict, drawing insights from the frontlines of anthropological research.

  • Curiosities

    Human beings often infuse objects with deep, substantial meaning. In each post, “Curiosities” explores the nature, importance, use, and changing interpretation of artifacts people have created. The investigation of these curiosities—often tied to current events and holidays—will inspire us to think more deeply about our humanity and the significance of the countless things that surround us.

  • Field Trips

    What is it like to study the skeletons of giant rats and Homo floresiensis in Jakarta? How can a humble clam tell us how sea ice affected hunters in the Aleutian Islands? How do you use the contents of a 19th-century privy to piece together the lives of the women who once inhabited a Boston brothel? “Field Trips” delves into the latest ideas and research in anthropology and highlights how anthropologists interact with the materials and people we study.

  • game theory anthropology - Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings, left, and Brad Rutter, right, look on as the IBM computer Watson beats them to the buzzer to answer a question during a practice round of the quiz show in Yorktown Heights, New York.

    Machinations

    Through technology, you can find love, find your way home, learn languages, earn money, and talk to people across the planet. Devices might one day take your job, diagnose your diseases, tend to your dying moments, and compose a fugue in your memory. “Machinations” explores the human side of the so-called artificial intelligence revolution. It attempts to understand how a growing reliance on technology might affect our relationships with one another and what opportunities and costs lie ahead for future societies.

  • Off the Map

    New archaeological discoveries from disparate sites—the Indus River valley, the jungles of Ecuador, the Mongolian steppe, and the island of Madagascar, to name a few—are reshaping our understanding of how past peoples perceived and engaged with their neighbors, their environments, and themselves. This column aims to highlight new ways of understanding our rich collective past by exploring emerging research from regions of the world that continue to receive little media attention.

  • climate change evidence

    The Climate Report

    Contemporary climate change is a profoundly human issue. How people understand and experience the effects of climate change—from droughts and floods to fires and intense hurricanes—depends on their cultures, histories, and geographical vantage points. While anthropological perspectives are often sidelined in public discussions about climate change, this column highlights climate insights from ethnographic research and anthropological theory.

  • Wanderers

    As our ancestors looked up at the night sky, they wondered about their place in the universe. Today, half a century after humans first walked on the moon, we continue to look to the stars as we imagine possible futures here on Earth, on other planets, and beyond. “Wanderers” explores anthropological insights from our encounters with outer space as we study the origins of life in the universe, search for extraterrestrial intelligence, prepare to send humans to Mars, and imagine travelling to distant stars.