Author: Rex

Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book “Leviathans at the Gold Mine” won the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology book award. He is interested in political anthropology, the anthropology of virtual worlds, the history of anthropology, and public anthropology and open access scholarship.

Anthropologists and Espionage, chapter 4,378

Anthropologists and Espionage, chapter 4,378

Is there anything new to say in the never-ending discussion of anthropology and espionage? Most anthropologists think it is unethical to gather intelligence on behalf of the government when they do their fieldwork — but not all of them. Some spies pose as anthropologists. Sometimes people start out as anthropologists and move into espionage as a form of applied work. Indigenous people and others have criticized anthropology as itself inherently a form of unethical surveillance which aids colonialism. It turns {+}

Sun Ra > Black Panther

Sun Ra > Black Panther

The Black Panther movie has been out for a little bit now, and posts both pro and con have been circulating on the Internet (Kerim has a quick roundup in a microblog of his). As a white guy who studies the Pacific, I don’t really have anything to say about Black Panther, which I liked as well as any entry in Marvel’s massive movie franchise. I guess it’s not surprising that Black Panther’s hero ends up endorsing an Obama-like liberal {+}

This Anthropology Day, Let’s Remember George Hunt

This Anthropology Day, Let’s Remember George Hunt

It’s Anthropology Day, our discipline’s latest invented tradition! A time for reflection on chocolate mint and the values of our discipline, Anthropology Day 2018 is uniquely placed this year. Earlier this week, Cultural Anthropology ran a powerful and important reflection by David Platzer and Anne Allison on the tenuous situation anthropology is in as tenure track jobs continue to disappear. And, even more importantly, yesterday was the 164 birthday of George Hunt, the First Nations anthropologist who helped found modern American anthropology {+}

Let’s all write shorter letters of recommendation

Let’s all write shorter letters of recommendation

If you are an academic who is in a secure, full-time position then , let’s be honest, no one in the precariate wants to listen to you complain about how hard your job is. But if you were to complain, one topic would be the endless rounds of letters of recommendation you are asked to read and write. The production and circulation of these letters has gotten out of control, people: out of control. We need to go back to letters {+}

Ursula K. Le Guin in the Redwood Zone

Ursula K. Le Guin in the Redwood Zone

Ursula K. Le Guin died on Monday at the age of 88. On the Internet and social media, people remembered her as a feminist and poet, defender of culture and integrity against capitalism and commercialism, and exemplar of the depth and sophistication of genres variously described as science fiction, fantasy, and YA. Anthropologists have a special relationship to Le Guin because she was the daughter of Alfred Kroeber, the founder of Berkeley anthropology and the first person to take a {+}

The Dude Troll As Anthropologist: A Review of Peter Hempenstall’s “Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Cultural Anthropology”

The Dude Troll As Anthropologist: A Review of Peter Hempenstall’s “Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Cultural Anthropology”

The first time I read Coming of Age in Samoa was in my Intro to Anthro course. My teacher — and future mentor — was a social anthropologist and a social conservative of the Mary Douglas stripe. As we read the book she carefully pointed out passages where Mead seemed to contradict herself. Her impatience with the books was obvious, and at the end of the class she said “There, now you can say you’ve read something by Margaret Mead”. {+}

Where the Whacky Franz Boas Pictures Come From

Where the Whacky Franz Boas Pictures Come From

Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, right? These pictures get used all the time on the Internet and in class. Memeworthy in extremis, they manage to pay homage to a founder of our discipline while simultaneously to taking him too seriously — an ironic, typically anthropological move. But where do they actually come from? In honor of the new twitter account for my history of anthropology tumblr, Highly Accurate Pictures of Anthropologists, I tracked down the original picture. As some {+}

Three Styles in the History of Anthropology

Three Styles in the History of Anthropology

Anthropology has an unhealthy relationship to its past. Approaches range from highly fetishized, almost ritual reading of sacralized texts like The Gift and The Nuer to intense, context-free denunciations of past practitioners based on their race, gender, and emplacement in nineteenth century. In fact, perhaps the most common relationship anthropologists have to their history is ignorance. Anthropologists often have little sense of what the discipline has achieved (or not achieved) in the past, and famously reinvent the fundamental insights of {+}

My History of Anthropology Syllabus

My History of Anthropology Syllabus

This semester I taught ANTH 490, the History of Anthropology. It is a required class for our majors and is sort of a ‘capstone’ for their anthropology experience, despite the fact that we have a three field department and I only cover sociocultural anthropology. This was my first time teaching the course, and I wanted to give the students a sense of the anthropological canon reformed — something that had both classic readings but also presented previously excluded or marginal {+}

Highly Accurate Pictures of Anthropologists: A new Tumblr

Highly Accurate Pictures of Anthropologists: A new Tumblr

So I started a Tumblr. It contains highly accurate pictures of anthropologists. I thought maybe it would help people who wanted to see well-sourced, high-quality pictures of anthropologists. This Tumblr is driven by my long-term interest in curating open access material. The Internet is awash in high-quality material. But it’s also awash in… well, let’s just say that sometimes the signal to noise ration on the Internet is not where I’d want it to be. Nowhere is this more true {+}