Anthropology

Remembering Richard Leakey (1944–2022), the Last Victorian Scientist

Remembering Richard Leakey (1944–2022), the Last Victorian Scientist

Kenyan paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey died on January 2nd at age 77, following an extraordinary career devoted to the scientific exploration of human origins. Richard was once my boss. And although we never became friends, I came to know him fairly well. He died peacefully in his house overlooking Kenya’s

Geoffrey Clarfield
Geoffrey Clarfield
10 min read
Anthropology
The Society of Cultural Anthropology’s Campaign to Present American Populism as Fascism

The Society of Cultural Anthropology’s Campaign to Present American Populism as Fascism

Earlier this year, the Society of Cultural Anthropology (SCA)—a subdivision of the American Anthropological Association (AAA)—published a series of essays exploring the topic of American Fascism. The project was run under the SCA’s “Hot Spots” category, which editors at the SCA’s journal, Cultural Anthropology, dedicate to

Matthew Porter
Matthew Porter
8 min read
Anthropology
Why Is the Society for American Archaeology Promoting Indigenous Creationism?

Why Is the Society for American Archaeology Promoting Indigenous Creationism?

In April, one of us—Elizabeth Weiss—gave a talk, titled Has Creationism Crept Back into Archaeology?, at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). The 87-year-old SAA identifies itself as “an international organization dedicated to research about the interpretation and protection of the archaeological heritage

Elizabeth Weiss and James W. Springer
Elizabeth Weiss and James W. Springer
15 min read
Anthropology
The Campaign to Thwart Paleogenetic Research Into North America's Indigenous Peoples

The Campaign to Thwart Paleogenetic Research Into North America's Indigenous Peoples

One of the major North American archaeological discoveries of the 20th century was made in 1967 by a bulldozer crew preparing a site for a movie theater in the small fishing village of Port au Choix (PAC), on Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. It was a vast, 4,000-year-old cemetery created

Bruce Bourque
Bruce Bourque
19 min read
Anthropology
The Dangerous Life of an Anthropologist

The Dangerous Life of an Anthropologist

Limping in crutches, his broken leg shielded in plaster following a jogging accident, the distinguished biologist Edward O. Wilson made his way slowly toward the stage at a convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1978. Climbing the stairs, taking his seat, and shuffling his notes,

Matthew Blackwell
Matthew Blackwell
22 min read
Anthropology
How David Graeber Cancelled a Colleague

How David Graeber Cancelled a Colleague

At the height of the #MeToo scandal in 2018, when dozens of actresses were coming forward with sordid testimonies about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation, a much more obscure scandal was unfolding around an academic journal involving the anthropologist David Graeber. The journal—HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory—was imploding

Claire Lehmann
Claire Lehmann
14 min read
Anthropology
Why Is a Top Australian University Supporting Indigenous Creationism?

Why Is a Top Australian University Supporting Indigenous Creationism?

The Australian recently reported that the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is advising its staff to avoid teaching students about the arrival of Australian Indigenous people onto the Australian continent. As part of the development of materials used to guide teaching, the university has produced a diversity toolkit in

Andrew Glover
Andrew Glover
5 min read
Anthropology
The Origins of Colourism

The Origins of Colourism

When Solange and Beyoncé Knowles’s father Mathew Knowles was asked in 2018 why he preferred to date women of a lighter skin tone, he replied, “I had been conditioned from childhood.” At least as far back as Gunnar Myrdal’s 1949 book An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and

Matthew Blackwell
Matthew Blackwell
12 min read
Anthropology