Campus scholars' perspectives on topical issues — in conversation with you

What is your purpose in the face of white supremacy?

Yesterday, I published an essay in UC Berkeley’s Greater Good magazine about how the science of purpose can help explain the rise of white supremacy. Writing that piece led me to explore my own sense of purpose — which the research helped me see is tightly linked to my identity. I am a writer and … Continue reading »

Working outside the tech bubble

Annual note to self – most of the world exists outside the tech bubble. —– We have a summer home in New England in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato farm across the street. Drive down the road and you can see the tall stalks of corn waving on other … Continue reading »

What’s going on?

Brother, brother, brother, We don’t need to escalate, War is not the answer, Only love can conquer hate, I know we’ve got to find a way, To bring some lovin’ here today, What’s going on. Yesterday a church choir in Oakland sang Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” as a part of the church service. It … Continue reading »

What can be done about hate speech?

The tragic events in Charlottesville again raise the question of why expressions of hate should be tolerated and deemed protected by the First Amendment. Most European nations do not allow hate speech, such as the vile white supremacist, racist and anti-Semitic speech that occurred last week in Virginia. Would we be better off as a … Continue reading »

Losing the past or changing the future? Archaeologists and modern monuments

As images of white supremacists rallying to protest the planned removal of monuments to the confederate past filled the news, some people on social media began to argue that archaeology– my discipline, my profession— should oppose the destruction of these things. The argument goes that archaeologists have a responsibility to oppose any destruction of potential … Continue reading »