Our books examine how people in disparate cultures across time and space live and think about their world—an examination that encourages us to think critically about our own cherished assumptions about culture, race, gender, reason, politics, and more. The Princeton list features work identified with the subfield of social or cultural anthropology, privileging theoretically and historically informed ethnography.
Recent offerings extend classic ethnographic methods into the study of emerging forms of digital culture. Princeton’s list also illuminates the biological and evolutionary aspects of human development, including books in paleoanthropology, primatology, cultural and behavioral evolution, human biology, and evolutionary medicine.
Shannon Lee Dawdy on American Afterlives
Death in the United States is undergoing a quiet revolution. You can have your body frozen, dissected, composted, dissolved, or tanned.
Treasure troves: Freeing the hidden histories in German ethnological museums
Germany’s heated repatriation debates reached a milestone in April 2021. As public discussions became particularly intense over the preceding five years, they focused largely on the opening of the Humboldt Forum, a new exhibition venue in the heart of Berlin.
A look inside The Mushroom at the End of the World
In 1908 and 1909 two railroad entrepreneurs raced each other to build track along Oregon’s Deschutes River. The goal of each was to be the first to create an industrial connection between the towering ponderosas of the eastern Cascades and the stacked lumberyards of Portland.
The water crisis on the High Plains
The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair.
Eric Cline on Digging Deeper: How Archaeology Works
To be perfectly honest, this is the book that I wish had been available when I was just starting out in archaeology and before I went on my first dig as a sophomore in college—a book small enough that I could slip it into my back pocket and pull out whenever I had a spare moment to read a couple of pages or a whole chapter.
Craigslist’s lessons for a weirder, more ethical internet
When I first started teaching undergrad courses on the internet and society, it was 2010. Back then, students usually walked into the classroom with a fairly positive attitude about digital technology. They saw the internet as a vital tool for democracy, an important way to network for future jobs and connect with their friends.