Table of contents
Table of contents

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

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The Problems of Digital Evidence in Terrorism Trials

An anthropologist uses courtrooms in Turkey as his field site to understand how digital evidence is shifting legal practices.
A silhouetted woman sits in a chair in the center of a dark room looking directly at the camera. Close-up images of another woman are projected onto screens on the three walls surrounding her.

Spotlighting Black Women’s Mental Health Struggles

An anthropologist discusses her film that honors and grieves the loss of Kime, a friend who passed away after experiencing physical and state violence.
An overhead view shows a street intersection filled with a mix of pedestrians, bicycles, rickshaws, motorcycles, and cars facing in various directions.

Being a “Good Man” in a Time of Climate Catastrophe

An anthropologist follows a group of men who work in India’s rickshaw industry, revealing how their practices of masculinity and mutual aid shape their responses to intensifying flood disasters and political divides.
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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.
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.
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Black Influencers Beyond the Screens

Meet Anuli Akanegbu, the host of the BLK IRL podcast and a doctoral candidate researching Black creatives who are contract workers in Atlanta, Georgia.
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.
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Cultures of Technology

In the seventh season of the SAPIENS podcast, listeners will hear a range of stories about how technology—in a variety of configurations—shapes humanity.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
On the left, smoke billows out from the top of several large smokestacks on a long sandy shore that a few people are walking along. On the right, over dark blue water, an orange sunset illuminates a pier in the distance.

Between the Lines

A poet-anthropologist in Israel looks to his students and their surroundings, calling for “seekers of peace” to create lifelines across social and geopolitical divides.
Between tall wooden walls, a child peers over a short wooden door. A pitch-black background is behind her.

A Mausoleum of Our Everydays/Nai nsang negu herouki

A humanities and social science doctoral student from Manipur, India, takes readers on a journey through ordinary moments interwoven with violence.
A crowd of adults and children wearing T-shirts, flip-flops, and denim shorts or sarongs looks at a water tap with the word “Italy” stamped on its side and a giant silver lock on it.

Strange Future

A Nigerian eco-activist and poet wonders what future lies ahead in the face of climate change impacts and resistance to large-scale emission reductions.
A large, brown sculpture depicts a cluster of people looking outward, one cradling a child in their arms. A village and blue sky are visible in a distant horizon.

Poems of Witness and Possibility: Inside Zones of Conflict

Anthropological poems from around the globe speak to people’s creative will, resistance, and resilience—and the significance of our shared humanity.