Living Fossils

One of the most popular jokes among anthropologists is how often our work is mistaken for palaeontology. Almost every one of my colleagues and even a few of my students can relate an anecdote involving a situation where they were asked if they “dug up dinosaurs.” Imagine the difficulty I now face in my own work where the answer is effectively, “Yes, but not for the reasons you’re thinking.”

The Price of Eggs: Iran beyond liberalism and capitalism

As the dust settles on Iran’s recent bout of protests, the surge of commentary, punditry, and analysis is likely to continue, no longer working to explain these apparently ‘spontaneous’ protests, so much as to understand why they have petered out. Much of the commentary on what has been labelled the ‘greatest challenge to the Islamic … Continue reading The Price of Eggs: Iran beyond liberalism and capitalism

This New Year, Think About Your Social Health Too

Feeling 'well' can mean many different things. Generally, though, intentions still count, and even more powerful are the social connections we feel along the way. “That will be next year’s project”, say many of us. “By then, I’ll be ready for it”, we might add. These kinds of statements also featured in several conversations with my … Continue reading This New Year, Think About Your Social Health Too

It’s Not Just Your Parents’ Fault

Did you know that your mind is a cesspit of anger, and fear, and unresolved moments from your childhood? It’s not just you. Apparently everyone is living in a minefield of emotional triggers and traps. And underlying all of your behavior is a completely individualized personality structure, built up from stray comments and the subtle … Continue reading It’s Not Just Your Parents’ Fault