Anthropology Magazine

Cultural anthropologists seek to understand the diverse ways people live today, including how they think, act, create, struggle, make meaning, and organize their societies.

An adult with short hair, a mustache, and glasses, and two young people with long hair held by barrettes—one holding a pen—sit on the floor around a large piece of construction paper, markers, and a camera.

Through Film, Discovering Hope in the Face of Environmental Destruction

In the midst of acute eco-anxiety, can community-based filmmaking help young people imagine a different future?
A person in near silhouette stands in front on an ocean landscape with wind chime objects hanging down, all tinted orange.

SAPIENS Is Going Viral

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck humanity. The SAPIENS podcast explores anthropological insights into what this crisis taught humanity about our evolution, how we deal with abstract threats, love and resilience in hard times, and much more.
A person in near silhouette stands in front on an ocean landscape with wind chime objects hanging down, all tinted orange.

The SAPIENS Podcast Is Back

Why can eating insects be so gross? Who were the ancient Denisovans? How are dreams shaped by culture? Are people naturally generous? The SAPIENS podcast is back, exploring an array of curious questions about the human experience.
A person in near silhouette stands in front on an ocean landscape with wind chime objects hanging down, all tinted orange.

A Trailer for Everything Human

What makes you … you? Is it your DNA, culture, environment? SAPIENS hosts Esteban Gómez, Jen Shannon, and Chip Colwell speak with anthropologists from around the globe to help us uncover what makes us human.
Two people hug in a bathroom, with one seated on a closed toilet and the other kneeling on a tan-and-brown tiled floor. Two standing onlookers flank the image’s foreground.

How Eugenics Shaped the U.S. Prenatal Care System

Black women in the U.S. are far more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy and birth than White women. Two scholars explore how the discrediting of Black midwives helped create these racial disparities—and call for alternative models of prenatal care.
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Bringing Nhakpoti, the Kayapó Story of Star Girl, to the Screen

Over years and across long distances, an international filmmaking team collaborated to bring to life the origin story of how agriculture came to Kayapó communities, Indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon.
Two people in uniforms—one in black, the other in tan—wearing black boots and hats topped with matching fans face each other and kick one leg up, their feet traveling above their heads. Other people in uniform stand at attention along the roadside behind them.

Imagining Other Worlds at the India-Pakistan Border

For decades, soldiers at the border between Attari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan, have staged an elaborate ceremony for onlookers. An anthropologist reflects on the ceremony as a legacy of Partition—and imagines other futures for the two nations.
Four people, one wearing a red baseball cap and another a blue shirt, ride a boat on a khaki-colored river surrounded by dense forest.

Writing Indigenous Oral Tradition to Fight a Dam

In the northern Philippines, the Isnag are documenting their Traditional Stories to sustain their culture and fight a legal battle against dams that would inundate their homelands.
Two people wearing waterproof pants, purple windbreakers, and black caps stand on a teal boat at sea, looking toward a white windmill.

The Persistence of Fukushima’s Fisherfolk

In a new book, an anthropologist with long-term ties to northeastern Japan shares stories of how fishing communities have continued making a living in uncertain waters after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In a sepia-and-white color palette, two hands cup a pile of sand, much of which is falling between the fingers.

Cold Hubris and Fundo

A poet-historian reflects on the legacy of colonial-era collecting practices in Tanzania that tore Black Indigenous ancestors from their communities and history.
A close-up image features two spiders on a stick held horizontally in the hands of a child whose face appears slightly blurred in the background.

What Spider Games Say About Arachnophobia

Many people around the world fear spiders. But in the Philippines, the tradition of spider wrestling often brings people and arachnids in close proximity.
A person wearing a white dress whose skirt is made of ribbons, each with a name written on it, leans back with their eyes closed. They are on grass with a Black Lives Matter banner on the ground beside them and a circle of drummers and bystanders around them.

The Urgency of Envisioning a World Without Police

An anthropologist working in Baltimore argues that safety for Black communities requires an end to policing. That also means taking a hard look at how policing intersects with patriarchy and intimate partner violence.
A person in a burgundy jumpsuit stands on a road with their back to the viewer and their hands behind their head. They look into the distance, where yellowed billows of smoke rise from a burning field of grass and trees.

A Call for Anthropological Poems From Within “Zones of Conflict”

SAPIENS is seeking poetry submissions for a curated collection that will publish in early 2024. Deadline September 15, 2023.
In front of many people seated around the perimeter of a town square, a person in a brown hat stands in its center over a pile of green leaves on a colorful patterned cloth. They are holding up a bag by a string.

Fair and Balanced—Weighing Coca With a Wipi in Peru

An Andean community’s use of weighing scales shows how meanings of fairness and justice differ across cultures.
A close-up image features the hands of a person wearing a black top with a colorful beaded necklace cradling a wooden pipe with a face carved into its top end.

Collaborating So a 200-Year-Old Pipe Can Continue Its Work

A museum curator and a First Nations leader explain how a treaty pipe, sold at auction, exemplifies a new path for repatriations in Canada.
Surrounded by gray cobblestones, two black kettles sprinkled with ash sit over blackened logs and open orange flames. Two pairs of sneakers on people’s feet are visible just behind the fire close to another kettle.

The Heaviness

A multidisciplinary poet-scholar and suicide attempt and multi-suicide loss survivor unveils complex anthropological threads that shape suicidal ideation.
An adult stands behind a child loading laundry into a white washing machine. A refrigerator, microwave oven, stove, and wooden cabinets line the room.

Do Washing Machines Belong in Kitchens? Many Brits Say “Yes.”

An anthropologist moves from Canada to the U.K. and finds herself reflecting on what home design patterns reveal about a society.
A close-up image features a mostly red, woven piece of cloth with diagonal patterns that incorporate white, black, green, and hot pink accents.

Feeling What We Are/A’yel jtaleltik

An anthropologist and writer from the Tseltal community speaks back to a colonialist history of suppression—instead claiming his identity, language, and people.
In the photo’s foreground, a cross made of sticks surrounded by palm leaves rises next to a table that holds a large pile of small figures cut from white paper. People organize the paper in the background.

Why Nahua Pilgrims Carry Thousands of Papers Up Sacred Peaks

Along mountain pilgrimages, two anthropologists learn how an Indigenous Mesoamerican religion helps people practice a reciprocal relationship with the Earth.
A crowd of people wearing head coverings and long dresses or robes outfits decorated with colorful accessories walk in line through public streets past a white steepled building.

Giving Winter a Funeral in Transylvania

In a village in Romania, residents maintain a centuries-old carnival tradition called farsang to mark winter’s death.
A photograph features a landscape lush with green grass with a body of water in the center and a large mountain range in the background. The mountain range is cut in half by a valley and topped with a sky full of white clouds.

A Love Letter to the Munay-Ki

A poet exuberantly gives thanks for the Munay-Ki rites enlivened across the ages and shared by the Q’ero people in the Peruvian Andes.
A person’s gloved hands touch an Amazon-labeled cardboard box that is one of several packages.

The Anthropology Professor in an Amazon Warehouse

To learn what conditions are really like for Amazon workers, an anthropologist has joined their ranks.
A photograph taken from under a large building’s awning looks out to show a fountain with green and red tress lining either side. The building’s stone pillars line the foreground.

When I See Spring in Your Eyes/yeli bU’ vuċh canen Ạċhen mnz nō bhar

A poet-anthropologist from Indian-occupied Kashmir speaks of hope as inherited through memories of resilience in the past and present.
Public wall art depicts a woman with facial wrinkles and gray hair smoking a cigarette while surrounded by green leafy plants as well as red, blue, and yellow mushrooms.

The Psychedelics Industry Is Booming—but Who’s Being Left Out?

Three researchers discuss the possibilities and problems arising as psychedelic plant medicines, held sacred by many Indigenous communities, move into the global mental health and tourism industries.
A close-up image features a large, dark-gray silver medal embossed with the profile of a crouching naked woman reaching for a child, with another child appearing behind her.


An Indigenous poet-anthropologist writes to her daughter of the limits of her motherly protection.
A human figure with a large white cloth draped over them stands in a long, dark corridor lined with windows on one side.

What It Means to be Human in an Asylum

A sociocultural anthropologist from Pakistan speaks to how women in asylums in a patriarchal culture are in a battle between their realities and their lost dreams. Yet those dreams offer hope for tomorrow.
A man with black hair and a beard sits on a sofa in the dark and looks at the illuminated screen of a cellphone he holds in his left hand.

Dating Apps Can Gauge Attraction but Not Chemistry

Why do attraction and chemistry feel different in the digital age? The answer lies in how digitally mediated information is changing the way we come to know potential partners.
An image of a coastline, where land meets sea, seen from high above.

Aného’s Disappearing Coast

How do people adapt when the ground beneath their feet starts to wash away? All over the world, coastal communities are facing the same challenges: rising sea levels and vanishing coastlines.
A photograph features a cluster of stars sporadically circling a larger and brighter central orb in a pitch-black sky.


A poet-anthropologist celebrates how the Orring people of southeastern Nigeria conceptualize the origins—and workings—of the cosmos.
A layered image of a rain forest with a church bell and bowl.

The Conversion of Julio Tiwiram

What is shamanic power? And how does it affect modern politics in Indigenous Amazonia? In this episode, we follow the life of a young Indigenous activist fighting for his ancestors’ land.
A photograph features a large green grassy field with a large mountain, blue skies, and few white clouds in a distant background.

Apparition in Sugarland

A poet-anthropologist evokes a popular myth that speaks to the repercussions of—and possibilities of repair from—U.S. violence in the Philippines during colonialism.
A person with blonde hair wearing a pink blazer stands at a podium with several microphones on it and a sign that reads, “Protect Children’s Innocence.” Several people in suits stand behind, with a large white domed building in the background.

Two Myths Fueling the Conservative Right’s Dangerous Transphobia

An anthropologist attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)—ground zero for the current onslaught of anti-trans rhetoric and legislation in the U.S.