A Better Way to Namasté

Namasté is no longer just a pleasant Hindi greeting, but an English lexeme; a unit of language in the form of a word or phrase that has become an abstract representation of something other than its literal meaning. In this case, indexing a kind of white piousness that explicitly exoticizes and homogenizes South Asia into a caricature of disembodied Sanskrit words (like Ayurveda and Tantra), yoga poses, and “more authentic” religion all the while making unsubtle nods to imagined noble savagery and imitative ancient wisdom.

Teaching from the Textbooks: An Archaeology of the Current Historical Moment

On the last day of class, my advanced theory students would break up into small groups and each have the option of choosing one such old anthropology textbook from the box of them that I had selected from the shelf. They would then spend the next 15 to 20 minutes exploring the book (looking at the table of contents, skimming chapters, reading the introduction, etc.) in order to answer three basic questions...Truthfully, I have never had quite so much fun, nor gotten so much out of, teaching from a textbook.

Purity, Danger, and Handwashing

Author: Michael Dunford is currently a PhD Candidate at the School of Culture History and Language. His research asks how how agrarian economies and agrarian ecologies intersect with the politics of ethno-racial difference in mainland Southeast Asia. Prior to his time at ANU, Michael was a social science instructor at the Parami Institute in Yangon, … Continue reading Purity, Danger, and Handwashing