Rosie and I visited Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange this weekend. Located at Edison’s former West Orange campus, it’s a sprawling collection of inventions and early photographs, motion pictures and sound recordings (Much of which has been digitized).
Edison has recently been in the middle of a bit of an historical [...]
Moundville, Alabama sits next to the Black Warrior River, not far from Tuscaloosa. It’s a small, rural town with a population south of 2,000, but back in the day — between 1000 and 1450 AD — its population was north of 11,000.
Moundville caught my [...]
I went to a reading by literary journalist Ted Conover at Amherst Books this week. Conover has developed a distinctive style that draws on the American narrative journalism tradition and the anthropological method of participant observation.
I first read Conover on the recommendation of one of my professors at UMass, Norm Sims, [...]
Many years ago Mr. Dunbar famously noticed that there is a tight correlation between the size of a primate’s brain and the size of the social group its species generally forms. On this basis human beings should live in groups of around 150. The neat thing about this prediction was the way [...]
Up there is one of my favorite landmarks in all of New England, because it serves as a visual reminder — standing out against the sky with its thick, ruddy arkose — of the crazy awesome geological and biological history of this valley I [...]
I knew, after just one day on the job, that san men constantly made judgments about individuals. They determined residents’ wealth or poverty by the artifacts they left behind. They appraised real estate by the height of a Christmas tree, measured education level by the newspapers and magazines stacked on the curb. [...]
While we may live in a time where civil rights is taught in history classes, the legacies of racism in the South continue to impact people economically and culturally, in persistent and often pernicious ways. I want to focus our collective attention on this complicated inheritance by documenting Baptist Town for the remainder of 2010. [...]
“If I could do it, I’d do no writing at all here. It would be photographs; the rest would be fragments of cloth, bits of cotton, lumps of earth, records of speech, pieces of wood and iron, phials of odors, plates of food and of excrement. Booksellers would consider it quite a novelty; [...]