Current Columns

  • Borders

    Has migration always been a central part of the human condition, or are we in the midst of a global humanitarian crisis? “Borders” invites readers to step inside the lives of those on the frontlines—migrants, refugees, smugglers, guards, aid workers, politicians—to explore how imaginary lines shape identities. This column features uniquely human stories about one of the most complex political issues of our time.

  • 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.

  • Entanglements

    From the microbes living in our guts to the succulents growing in our homes, we are deeply intertwined with other living things. “Entanglements” explores the messy—and oftentimes fraught—relationships that humans have with other life forms to reveal the ways that people exploit, love, kill, and care for the many beings that share planet Earth.

Past Columns

  • “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. This column 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    This column highlights new ways of understanding our rich collective past by exploring emerging research from regions of the world that continue to receive little media attention.

  • Origins

    We all have an origin story. For some of us, it’s a work in progress. What we learn from fossils, artifacts, genetics, and more contributes to an elegant yet increasingly complex answer to the question, “Where did we come from?

  • Dana J. Graef

    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.

  • The Dirt

    Archaeology is not just a way of learning about how people lived in the past. The information we unearth also has bearing on all of us—now. In “The Dirt,” we’ll dig for clues and insights about how humanity’s multilayered past can shed light on today’s pressing issues.

  • The Human Palate

    “The Human Palate” is a blog about the anthropology of food. From terroir to terrine, it covers the cultures and traditions of farming, foraging, cooking, and eating around the world. With an emphasis on people and places often overlooked, “The Human Palate” explores Homo sapiens through this one fundamental need that shapes us all—food.

  • 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.