Anthropology Magazine

A Window on Humanity’s Turbulent 2021


  • A black-and-white photo shows swirling winds and a bolt of lightning striking over open fields.

    A Window on Humanity’s Turbulent 2021

    The SAPIENS editorial team looks back at the year through an anthropological lens—and closes with a roundup of some of our favorite pieces published in the magazine in 2021.

  • Hendrik Robert van Heekeren - WWII Allied prisoners of war and civilian laborers worked in horrendous conditions to install a railway between Thailand and Burma.

    An Archaeologist on the Railroad of Death

    The 1950s Hollywood movie The Bridge on the River Kwai, about a Japanese POW camp during World War II, nearly contained a fascinating side story about a dedicated archaeologist prisoner. Hendrik Robert van Heekeren deserves the spotlight.

  • medical aid in dying ethics

    Death as Something We Make

    An anthropologist dives deeply into how “medical aid-in-dying” is transforming the ethics and aesthetics of death.

  • Why Are Black People’s Remains in Museums?

    Two archaeologists consider how the remains of thousands of Black people ended up in U.S. museums and what it would take for these institutions to begin to address the harm they have caused.