That Most Dangerous, Sacred American Space, the Bathroom

uncommon sense Spoiler alert: In Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho, Janet Leigh was not savagely murdered in the living room, but we’ll get to that. Culture wars can erupt anywhere, including in the bathroom. These spaces are personal. They really can be dangerous, nerve-wracking and threatening, but not for the reasons we hear on the media. Today’s […]

Why Is This Trash Can Yelling at Me? Big Bellies and Clean Green Gentrification

rasanblaj Rasanblaj: n. assembly, compilation, enlisting, regrouping (of ideas, things, people, spirits. For example, fè yon rasanblaj, do a gathering, a ceremony, a protest). “Hey there, good looking!” On a misty December day in downtown Brooklyn, my walk along Fulton Street was interrupted by a slew of high-tech trash cans trying to grab my attention. […]

An Immigrant’s View of “Amrika”

books & arts Deepak Singh. 2017. How May I Help You? An Immigrant’s Journey from MBA to Minimum Wage. Oakland: University of California Press. 305 pages. I am in an electronics store in the shopping mall near my house. While staring perplexedly at a display of cell phone accessories, I am approached by a store […]

Yellow Water: Rupture and Return One Year after the Gold King Mine Spill

Beginnings Forged by glacial flows millions of years ago, the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado remain a mystical landscape to many visitors. The lure of their sky-bound rocky spires, regionally called “fourteeners,” a colloquial title that references their higher-than-14,000-foot elevation, draws thousands of tourists annually to explore nostalgic remnants of the “wild west” in […]

The Great American Cultural Eclipse

Total solar eclipses are magnificent, dramatic visual collisions of moon and sun. They are also cosmic provocateurs that provide life-long memories. The eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 did not disappoint. Beyond its heavenly mechanics, the Big Event served as a cultural and personal projective test of national dimensions. The eclipse arrived as a glorious […]

More than Scenery: National Parks Preserve Our History and Culture

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) will celebrate its 100th birthday. But what’s a party without people? In fact, while many Americans think of national parks as places to experience nature, they also preserve unique resources that tell stories about the everyday lives of people and their American journeys. Along with protecting […]

Good Earth: Exploring the Old Lead Belt

Lead mining in southeast Missouri is more than just an industry. It is an ingrained and defning aspect of the environment and community. In 1719, when French explorer Philip Francois Renault discovered high concentrations of lead in the region, he was unaware that he had stumbled across the largest lead deposit in the world. One […]

Gina Athena Ulysse on Sandra Bland

In a piece on Africa is a Country titled “Meditation on Sandra Bland’s self-possession, The Beatles and neo-Black codes of conduct,“ anthropologist Gina Athena Ulysse reflects on Sandra Bland. “The image of Sandra Bland I cannot get out of my head is her selfie wearing a blue Beatles t-shirt. Besides being professional black women with […]

Trademarking Racism: Pseudo-Indian Symbols and the Business of Professional Sports

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a novel by the Spokane author Sherman Alexie, a basketball player at an all-White high school is the persistent target of racist slurs. “Chief” and “Tonto,” he is called, “Squaw boy” and “Redskin.” He also experiences the indignity of sharing the court with a caricature of […]