Issues & News

Anthropologists Speak Out: A Collection of Op-Eds

As scholars and practitioners with invaluable knowledge about diverse peoples, anthropologists have a unique opportunity to reshape public dialogues, challenge misconceptions and add complexity to a wide range of contemporary issues.

Many anthropologists choose to share their knowledge with a wider audience through public writing. From opinion pieces published in top-tier newspapers to in-depth articles and commentary written for alternative magazines, the following list represents just some of the powerful, persuasive and engaging opinion articles published by AAA members:   


What the Next President Must Do to Save FEMA

Gregory Button (U of Tennessee, Knoxville)
CounterPunch.  October 28, 2008
Button continues the "Pulse of the Planet" series with a look at the circumstances that crippled FEMA's disaster response mission and the steps needed to improve it.

The Clean, Green Nuclear Machine?

Barbara Rose Johnston (UCSC - Center for Political Ecology)

.  October 27, 2008
As part of the "Pulse of the Planet" series, Johnston provides insight into whether or not nuclear energy is as clean as the Nuclear Energy Institute makes it out to be.

Carbon Offsets: More Harm Than Good?
Melissa Checker
(CUNY-Queens C)
. August 27, 2008
Melissa Checker's article is the most recent installment of Counterpunch's "Pulse of the Planet" op-ed series. Checker highlights the flaws of the carbon offset industry and suggests alternative ways to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Putting a Plague in Perspective
Daniel Halperin (Harvard School of Public Health)
New York Times. Jan 1, 2008
While politicians push for more funds to combat AIDS in Africa, Halperin calls attention to several widespread global health problems that have been eclipsed by the world’s headline epidemic.

Legalize Prostitution
Patty Kelly (George Washington U)
Los Angeles Times. March 13, 2008
Just as the controversy surrounding Eliot Spitzer was heating up, this op-ed gave US readers a new perspective on prostitution in a country where paying for sex is common and, in many states, legal.

The US Military’s Quest to Weaponize Culture
Hugh Gusterson (George Mason U)
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. June 20, 2008
Gusterson recalls the ethics of Franz Boas as he explains the problematic partnership between anthropologists and the military in the past and again today with the Pentagon's HTS and Minerva programs.

The Human Right to Eat (CUNY)
Joan Mencher
CounterPunch Weekend Edition. June 28/29, 2008 
'Pulse of the Planet' series
Rising food costs may drive more people back to small-scale farming and local food consumption. Yet the right to minimum nutrition continues to be denied to the poorest of the poor in India and around the world.


The Truth About Iran
William Beeman (Brown U)
New York Times. Jan 16, 2008
Why President Bush can't persuade the Arab world to turn against Iran.

A Better Immigration Policy
Alejandro Lugo (U Illinois)
New York Times. May 12, 2008
A call to legalize the millions of immigrant workers who contribute to the US economy.

Personal Essay

I Am Evolution
Holly Dunsworth (Penn State U)
NPR. May 11, 2008
Dunsworth offers a first-person account of her work as a paleoanthropologist and explains why she can’t just say, “I believe in evolution.”