Sun of the Sleepless

The sleep experiment, back in Chicago in 1992… was that really more than 25 years ago?

In that experiment he could locate the seed of what would become of him—and millions of others. It was a study of night shift work, when it could still be called that. Maximizing labor efficiency by regulating bodies. Today, it seems as if the …


Thinking with spirits

During my first visit to Ghana in 1998, I was involved in a research project that looked at possible co-operations between healers and psychiatric clinics. I stayed in the healing camp of Prophet Abbam II, who was known in the area to heal patients with mental health problems. My presence at his healing church attracted many visitors, who kindly brought …


Is It Okay to Say that Research ‘Verges on Scientific Racism’?

Last fall, a group of researchers – mostly biological anthropologists and sleep researchers – published a study of three ‘pre-industrial’ communities, one in Latin America, two in Africa, and claimed that based on their data, consolidated nightly sleep is a human norm, inferring that it is the product of natural selection. The media picked up the research findings, and I …

FeaturesTeaching Resources

Intimate, Familiar and Strange, or Why I Don’t Teach a Class on Sleep

This article is part of the series:

One of the insights into teaching provided to me by Donald Morse, one of my undergraduate professors, was to never teach the same class twice. But, simultaneously, not to overburden oneself by developing a new course every year. His model, which I’ve entirely stolen, was to teach one-third texts he knew intimately, one-third texts he was familiar with, and …


Once More unto the Breach (of capitalism and nature) – jonathan crary’s 24/7

24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep

by Jonathan Crary

Verso Books, 2013. 133 pp.


Years ago, I gave a talk at Stanford University, an hour drive north from Santa Cruz. During the question and answer period after the talk, an economist in the audience raised a question about my argument that despite widespread belief in the emergence …


Longing for Sleep: Assessing the Place of Sleep in the 21st Century – Part 3

This article is part of the series:

Sleep has been in the news for the past decade or so as a matter of growing concern. Along with this popular, medical and scientific attention, social scientists have been increasingly interested in sleep as an object or process of study. The first major sociological book published on sleep was Simon Williams’ Sleep and Society (Routledge, 2005), after which