Jonah Blank

Top-trending articles

 The Strange Thai Insurgents Who Like Sorcery and Get High on Cough Syrup  (The Atlantic)

A look inside one of the world's most bizaare insurgency.  A sample:

"Before a cool April dawn in 2004, a hundred machete-armed guerrillas launched simultaneous attacks on eleven policy and army posts, then took refuge in the mosque. Some were high on a brew of cough syrup, Coca-Cola, and a narcotic plant called kratom.  Some were motorcyle-riding 'pilgrim bandits,' half hajji and half Hell's Angels.  Most wore amulets that they believed made them invisible to their enemies, or capable of teleportation, or invulnerable to any type of weaponry.  The talismans proved no match for the Thai army's machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.  The blood has been washed from the courtyard stones, but the bullet-holes in the sign at the mosque's portal remain defiantly unfilled to this day."

 How to Negotiate Like a Pashtun (Foreign Policy)

Does anthropology have any use outside of a seminar-room?  I believe it does-- and that the missteps of US policy in Afghanistan can be explained by American inability to see the world through Afghan eyes.  A sample:

"Whether our goal is counterterrorism, promotion of regional stability, or merely an orderly withdrawal of forces, America will soon be playing 'Let's Make A Deal.'  Can we learn the Afghan rules of this game?...After years of talking past our Afghan friends and foes alike, perhaps we will be forced to learn how to talk to them."

Some recent media appearances (not updated for far too long)

NPR, All Things Considered: Nepal Earthquake.  April 29, 2015:

PBS Newshour, Nepal Earthquake, April 29, 2015: 

CCTV, Paris attacks, November 17, 2015:

CCTV, Nigeria election, March 28, 2015 

CCTV, ISIS, February 4, 2015

Voice of America, Indonesia Service, Election of Jokowi, January 13, 2015

CCTV, Boko Haram, January 14, 2015

NPR, Morning Edition, ISIS, Sept 12, 2014

CNN, ISIS, September 8, 2014

CCTV, ISIS, September 9, 2014

Voice of America, Pashto edition: Interview on Afghan politics

NPR, Morning Edition, Pakistan, September 14, 2012

CNN, Situation Room, Sikh Gurudwara shooting, August 8, 2012 

Other articles on current topics

  • “Afghanistan’s Best Bet” (Foreign Affairs)

  • “From Glasgow to Kashmir: WilScotland’s Vote Spur Separatism in Asia?” (Foreign Policy)

  • “A Milder Modi?  What to Expect in a BJP-Led India”  (Foreign Affairs)

  • “Good Guy Gamble: What to Expect from Indonesia’s Jokowi” (Foreign Affairs)

  • “How Disaster Relief Abroad Aid Helps USA” (USA Today)

  •  “Lashkar-e Taiba and the Threat to the United States of a Mumbai-Style Attack” Testimony Delivered to the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

 Link: tests

Additional Blankography (partial, in full-citation format)

Blank, Jonah.  "The Afterparade: No Breakthroughs-- and That's Just Fine.", February 2, 2015.

Blank, Jonah.  "Annual Rites of the Daudi Bohras: Islamic Idenity as Universal and Unique." 

     The Eastern Anthropologist (Lucknow), Vol. 53, No.3-4 (July-December 2000), pp. 457-480.

Blank, Jonah. "Anthropology: What's the Use?" Anthropology News, March 2000, p. 37.

Blank, Jonah.  "Defining the Relationship: What Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Want from Each Other.", June 16, 2015.

Blank, Jonah.  "Democratization and Development."  In South Asia in World Politics,

     Devin T. Haggerty, ed., pp. 231-256.  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

Blank, Jonah.  "Ethnic Conflict & Civic Life: A Review Essay."  India Review, Vol. 2, No. 2 (April 2003), pp. 97-112.

Blank, Jonah.  "The Flight 370 Mystery Gets Political."  US News & World Report, March 18, 2014.

Blank, Jonah.  "Is There a Hidden Message in the Taliban's 2014 Fighting Season Plan?", May 29, 2014.

Blank, Jonah.  "Kashmir: All Tactics, No Strategy," in Sumit Ganguly, ed.,

     The Kashmir Question: Retrospect and Prospect, pp. 181-202.  London: Frank Cass, 2003.

Blank, Jonah.  "Kashmir: Fundamentalism Takes Root."  Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 6 (November/December 1999), pp. 36-53.

Blank, Jonah.  "Let's Talk About Kashmir: Could Modi, Islamabad, and the U.S. Troop drawdown in Afghanistan

     make the disputed territory the world's next terrorist hotspot?", September 5, 2014.

Blank, Jonah.  "The Muslim Mainstream: Islam is growing fast in America, and its members defy stereotypes." 

     US News & World Report, July 20, 1998, pp. 22-25.

Blank, Jonah.  "Obama's Burmese Gamble."  Project Syndicate, July 10, 2013.

Blank, Jonah.  "Obama and Myanmar: Four points about the conflict."  Christian Science Monitor, November 19, 2012.

Blank, Jonah.  "Penny Saved Department: A nest-egg grows in Washington."  The New Yorker, January 18, 1999, p. 25.

Blank, Jonah.  "Questioning Ramayanas: A South Asian Tradition/Seeking Mahadevi: Constructing the Identities of the Hindu Great Goddess." 

     American Anthropologist, Vol. 104, No. 4 (December 2002), pp. 1,228-1,230.

Blank, Jonah.  "Ram and Ram Rajya: The Babri Masjid/Ramjanambhumi Dispute and the Politicization of a Divinity." 

     Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4, Fall 1994, ppl 159-174.

Blank, Jonah.  "The Secret Life of Animals: How dogs helped create the human race, and other mammalian finds."

     US News & World Report, July 5, 1999, pp. 52-53.

Blank, Jonah.  "Unleashing the Tiger."  Washington Post Book Review, March 11, 2001, p.3

Blank, Jonah.  "Victory, Afghan Style: The Good News-- and the Bad-- About the Recent Election.", June 22, 2014.

Blank, Jonah.  "What Bangladesh-- and US retailers-- must do to prevent man-made tragedies."  Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2013.

Blank, Jonah.  "Who's Bombing Myanmar?", October 30, 2013.