Matthew Timothy Bradley | Freelance portfolio

Clips, samples, and selections of my work

I began freelancing in November of 2012 with a piece on winter outdoor recreation. Since then I have sold a number of outdoor and nature-related pieces, as well as doing some science writing. I am particularly proud of the opportunities I have had to write on issues of cultural heritage, an area where a number of my interests converge.


Cyberbullying at the drive-in; ‘The Force Awakens’ trailer

Millennial digital content via G.I. Generation analog technology and vice versa

I was stopped short earlier today as I drove between Wooster and St. Clairsville when I happened upon Ohio’s oldest drive-in in Strasburg.

18 April 2015 – It may be the 21st century, but you'll need cash on hand if you want into Strasburg, Ohio’s, 78-year-old drive-in.

18 April 2015 – It may be the 21st century, but you’ll need cash on hand if you want into Strasburg, Ohio’s, 78-year-old drive-in.


Chota and Tanasi in the earliest documents

The Southeastern twin town settlement pattern among the Overhill Cherokee

The “twin town” settlement layout of Chota and Tanasi poses an immediate challenge to the taken-for-granted notion of communities as spatially distinct social entities.1 The first documented European visitor to the communities, George Chicken in July of 1725, displayed his acute ethnographic eye in noting the presence of both, but was forced to resort to circumlocution in describing it: “Here are two town Housses in this Town by reason they are the people of Two towns settled together.”2

The path between the Valley Towns and the Overhill Towns on George Hunter’s 1730 map. Note that only Tanasi alone, and not Chota, is labeled.


Philippe Descola’s modes of relation

Forms of attachment

Phillippe Descola’s modes of identification—animism, totemism, analogism, and naturalism—have gained some currency in the world of American anthropology. Less well-known are his modes of relation. The present post is a brief overview of those six modes, drawn from chapter 13 of his book Beyond nature and culture (also available OA from HAU).

Descola’s usage is distinct from that of Mauss and Lévi-Strauss. Rather than muck up the presentation of his own usage by presenting it vis-a-vis theirs, I invite interested readers to consult his book. There he treats the differences as well as his rationale. If you are a splitter like myself I suspect you might be inclined to see a value in his shaking up of first principles. Lumpers may be less so inclined.

Transfers: gift, exchange, predation

The first triad of modes of relation are reversible. That is, the parties to the relationship, might, potentially, be on either side of the relation.


Gifting per Descola’s definition is giving with no expectation that something has to be given in return. This is not to say that countergifting does not exist. It is to say that countergifts do not constitute one side of an exchange relationship.

The Magi depicted on an early 6th century mosaic at the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.


Teotihuacan: Temple of the Feathered Serpent offerings

Tlalocan Project symposium at National Museum of Anthropology

Tip of the hat to Don Paul Liffman for alerting me that today and tomorrow, 30–31 October 2014, a symposium will be held at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City to announce preliminary results of the Tlalocan Project’s work at Teotihuacan. From an INAH press release:

In announcing the latest findings of the Tlalocan project, which have lead to the threshold of three chambers beneath Teotihuacan’s Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Teresa Franco, Director General of INAH, indicated that that the finds, in conjunction with other INAH-sponsored projects, will lead to a reappraisal of the culture areas of Meso- and Arido-america.

Illustration of the tunnel beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent where the offerings were found.

La Jornada video

The Interwebs will be filthy with algorithm chasing English language posts soon enough, so stay tuned. In the meanwhile, here is a nicely produced video from La Jornada that you should be able to follow regardless of your Spanish language proficiency.

About the author

Matthew Timothy Bradley

Ely S. Parker and Native contributions to anthropology

Friend of Lewis H. Morgan, U.S. Grant’s secretary, Commissioner of Indian Affairs

[T]he dismissal of anthropology as a merely White science of the Other is woefully underinformed historically. (Whiteley 2004: 501)

The life of Ely Samuel Parker gives the lie to the taken for granted notion that Native Americans were passive, exploited research specimens during the early days of anthropology in the United States.

Ely Samuel Parker was born in 1828 near Tonawanda Creek on what was then Seneca territory.

Marker near Tonawanda Creek in Genesee County, New York, commemorating the birthplace and life of Ely S. Parker.


When I hear the phrase ‘family-friendly workplace’

The fertility trap

Apple and Facebook just announced that their benefits packages will cover up to $20,000 worth of expenses towards freezing employee ova. A digital flood of praise and condemnation has predictably followed close in the wake of the announcement.


Tony Soprano on Columbus Day

Identity politics are the worst

Being as I am from an American Indian community, I feel about Christopher Columbus similarly to how I imagine a lot of Eastern Europeans probably feel about Vladimir Lenin. “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” True enough! But you are still a shitty fucking head chef.



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