Observing Real America: A Beginners Guide to Nantucket

From whence do our myths come, and how do they bear similarities across continents and generations? Anthropologists continue to speculate. Meanwhile, the scenes of contemporary odysseys – be they of tourists, scholars, spouses, or refugees; patterned according to taste, décor, algorithms, or despair – are most complete when we have never been, like unrequited loves.

On the Heartbreak of Leaving the Field: Falling in love and going home again

My heart was broken not by leaving individual people, but by leaving something much bigger.  It takes us too long in anthropology to learn that the communities we study keep on going without us. They don’t stop mid lifetime waiting for us to return and press play again. Things will be different if we return, so when we leave, a certain something is left behind forever.

Encoding Value: What is cryptocurrency, and what does it mean for society?

Author: Stephanie Betz, PhD candidate at the Australian National University and a digital anthropologist researching the intersections between people and technology.  Her doctoral research is an ethnographic study of the relationships people develop with and through computer-controlled video game characters.  Her research interests include artificial intelligence and machine learning, art and images, and narrative-based communities. … Continue reading Encoding Value: What is cryptocurrency, and what does it mean for society?