Progress, Progressivism, and Progressives

Where does “progress” come from? What does “progressivism” mean? Which cultural tradition and ideological discourse makes “progressive” movements or parties thinkable? Why is it always important to be “moving forward,” as in the now clichéd phrase used by some many US politicians, journalists, and public commentators? When does thinking about “going forward” start to look […]

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Privilege: White, American, or Imperial?

To the extent that “white privilege” continues to exist in the US, is it the highest form of privilege? How might a focus on domestic race relations misdirect us from an examination of US society in its proper geopolitical context? Related to the last question: is this introverted, America-centric focus itself a sign of “American privilege”? In practice today the tendency […]

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Social Imperialism and New Victorian Identity Politics

Social Imperialism? New Victorianism’s Domestic Moral Code and the Political Economy of Identity Politics “The nation-state in its imperialist guise was the inescapable context within which all political action necessarily took place: it determined the range of possibilities against which the left as much as the right were compelled to define their positions”. (Eley, 1976, […]

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The New Victorianism

“A man…lives not only in the spot which he personally occupies, but in every spot to which he may extend his action, or to which he may conceive it possible that his action should be extended. And so, wherever over the world British influence penetrates, or can conceive itself penetrating, there, and not in the […]

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Nativistic Movements

Originally published as: “Nativistic Movements” By Ralph Linton and A. Irving Hallowell American Anthropologist, 45(2), 1943, pp. 230-240 NATIVISTIC MOVEMENTS By RALPH LINTON ———-page 230———- AT THE time that the centennial meeting of the American Ethnological Society was planned, the writer was invited to contribute a paper on nativistic movements in North America. When he […]

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Which States? Which Secrets? Secrets from Whom?

From the journal of the World Policy Institute comes “The Big Question“ for its Fall issue on Secrecy and Security. I have maintained a research interest in the area of the anthropology of secrecy, and understandings of power in connection with secrecy in both anthropological theory and in the work of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (more to come […]

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Still Standing: Zimbabwe

“Mr. Mugabe, at the age of 88, is rumored to be in poor health. In April, rumors spread in Harare that he was on his deathbed in Singapore, but he appeared at the country’s independence day celebration a few days later, looking fit as he walked around a soccer stadium under a blazing sun for […]

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A Tear for Africa: Humanitarian Abduction and Reduction

Helpless, pleading, wanting, needing, small, weak, staring at you, black–this is the anti-bogeyman invented by Western humanitarianism, what passes as morality in the ideology of empire (yet again). Past the time of a London Missionary Society, we now have the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the moral dogma of a white, western elite that projects its […]

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Invisible Freedoms

It is the singular affliction of whiteness to suffer the slings and arrows of righteous indignation on the rare occasion its privileges are infringed by the power structures meant to secure them. High on the list of stuff white people don’t like is surveillance, at least when its traditional contours are involuted, the lidless eye […]

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Keep Your Money: A Series on Dignity

This is the first part of a series on dignity that will appear on ZA, featuring the usual collage of songs, history, documents, and short essays. While there are treatments of “dignity” in Western philosophy, it is interesting to note the absence of the idea as a concept in the works of most anthropologists, which […]

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