In 2022, the smartphone, first introduced by IBM, will celebrate its 30th birthday. Most of us now use a smartphone every day—whether we like it or not. Previously associated with young people, these technologies have become ubiquitous around the world and among all age groups. But what exactly is a smartphone, and what are these devices doing to people’s connections with one another, especially across generations?
On a searing hot summer day at ‘Ubeidiya, an ancient site in northern Israel, an undulating expanse of dry grasses and thistles stretches into the distance. Far on the horizon, the mountains of Jordan shimmer through the haze; nearby stand cultivated olive groves and a date palm plantation.
On the evening of May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced that the unmarked graves of more than 200 children had been found on the former grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The story quickly dominated Canadian news media and drew attention beyond our national borders.
Early on the gray, dreary, morning of September 23, I landed at the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., after a 36-hour journey from Kilifi, on Kenya’s coast. As usual, I felt something of a culture shock coming back to the blatantly consumeristic culture of the United States—I felt a little out of place, a little off-kilter, in this world of gluttonous food and endless shopping.
Do ancestral spirits, I wondered, feel culture shock too?
In 2020, George Floyd’s murder by Derek Chauvin, a White police officer in Minneapolis, flared a global nerve. Black Lives Matter protestors stood up against anti-Black racism and police violence—bringing to the fore how colonial and imperial systems have not died but morphed into new forms of state surveillance, suppression, and violence against Black and Brown people around the globe.
We’re so used to the idea of being the only people around that it seems outlandish to think that not so long ago in our evolutionary history, multiple types of humans occupied various landscapes. The environments of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age, were dynamic. Populations moved, interacted, and sometimes even interbred. As archaeological methodologies and available technologies become more sophisticated, we’re able to “see” the lives of these human populations with more and more nuance, making the world of the Paleolithic more like a living tableau than a frozen museum diorama.
In this free live event, Yoli Ngandali, SAPIENS Media & Public Outreach Fellow, asks Justin Wright five questions about Lead me to Life: Voices of the African Diaspora, a new collection of poetry and prose from scholars across the African diaspora. Wright is currently a Ph.D. student in anthropology at American University and the poet-in-residence at SAPIENS. Through powerful storytelling and creative scholarship Lead me to Life aims to bring nearer a shared future of safety, vitality, equality, and justice for all.