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This book captures an epochal juncture of two of the world's most transformative processes: the People's Republic of China's rapidly expanding sphere of influence across the global south and the disintegration of the Amazonian, Cerrado, and Andean biomes. The intersection of these two processes took another step in April 2020, when Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a "New Health Silk Road" agenda of aid and investment that would wind through South America, extending the Eurasian-African "Belt and Road Initiative" to a series of mine, port, energy, infrastructure, and agrobusiness megaprojects in the Latin American tropics. Through thirty short essays, this volume brings together an impressive array of contributors, from economists, anthropologists, and political scientists to Black, feminist, and Indigenous community organizers, Chinese stakeholders, environmental activists, and local journalists to offer a pathbreaking analysis of China's presence in South America. As cracks in the progressive legacy of the Pink Tide and the failures of ecocidal right-wing populisms shape new political economies and geopolitical possibilities, this book provides a grassroots-based account of a post-US centered world order, and an accompanying map of the stakes for South America that highlights emerging voices and forms of resistance.
Practicing Sectarianism explores the imaginative and contradictory ways that people live sectarianism. The book's essays use the concept as an animating principle within a variety of sites across Lebanon and its diasporas and over a range of historical periods. With contributions from historians and anthropologists, this volume reveals the many ways sectarianism is used to exhibit, imagine, or contest power: What forms of affective pull does it have on people and communities? What epistemological work does it do as a concept? How does it function as a marker of social difference? Examining social interaction, each essay analyzes how people experience sectarianism, sometimes pushing back, sometimes evading it, sometimes deploying it strategically, to a variety of effects and consequences. The collection advances an understanding of sectarianism simultaneously constructed and experienced, a slippery and changeable concept with material effects. And even as the book's focus is Lebanon, its analysis fractures the association of sectarianism with the nation-state and suggests possibilities that can travel to other sites. Practicing Sectarianism, taken as a whole, argues that sectarianism can only be fully understood—and dismantled—if we first take it seriously as a practice.
The future of Honduras begins and ends on the white sand beaches of Tela Bay on the country's northeastern coast where Garifuna, a Black Indigenous people, have resided for over two hundred years. In The Ends of Paradise, Christopher A. Loperena examines the Garifuna struggle for life and collective autonomy, and demonstrates how this struggle challenges concerted efforts by the state and multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank, to render both their lands and their culture into fungible tourism products. Using a combination of participant observation, courtroom ethnography, and archival research, Loperena reveals how purportedly inclusive tourism projects form part of a larger neoliberal, extractivist development regime, which remakes Black and Indigenous territories into frontiers of progress for the mestizo majority. The book offers a trenchant analysis of the ways Black dispossession and displacement are carried forth through the conferral of individual rights and freedoms, a prerequisite for resource exploitation under contemporary capitalism. By demanding to be accounted for on their terms, Garifuna anchor Blackness to Central America—a place where Black peoples are presumed to be nonnative inhabitants—and to collective land rights. Steeped in Loperena's long-term activist engagement with Garifuna land defenders, this book is a testament to their struggle and to the promise of "another world" in which Black and Indigenous peoples thrive.
This book offers the first social and intellectual history of Dalit performance of Tamasha—a popular form of public, secular, traveling theater in Maharashtra—and places Dalit Tamasha women who represented the desire and disgust of the patriarchal society at the heart of modernization in twentieth century India. Drawing on ethnographies, films, and untapped archival materials, Shailaja Paik illuminates how Tamasha was produced and shaped through conflicts over caste, gender, sexuality, and culture. Dalit performers, activists, and leaders negotiated the violence and stigma in Tamasha as they struggled to claim manuski (human dignity) and transform themselves from ashlil (vulgar) to assli (authentic) and manus (human beings). Building on and departing from the Ambedkar-centered historiography and movement-focused approach of Dalit studies, Paik examines the ordinary and everydayness in Dalit lives. Ultimately, she demonstrates how the choices that communities make about culture speak to much larger questions about inclusion, inequality, and structures of violence of caste within Indian society, and opens up new approaches for the transformative potential of Dalit politics and the global history of gender, sexuality, and the human.
For much of American history, large numbers of people claimed that money was a public good and asserted the right to shape money creation practices. If popular knowledge about money creation was once widely shared, how and why did it disappear? In this astute new work, Jakob Feinig shows how the relation between money users and money-issuing governments changed from British colonial North America to today's United States, discussing how popular movements reshaped money-creating institutions, and how their opponents attempted to silence them. He also reveals how monetary and political history unfolds in the tension between "moral economies of money" and "monetary silencing." Offering an introduction to money creation practices since the colonial era, the book enables readers to understand why most people are disconnected from knowledge about money creation today. At the same time, the book also allows readers to situate the recent prominence of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) against a broader historical background. Historians of capitalism, economic and political sociologists, social theorists, anthropologists of money, and anyone seeking to understand monetary activism, will find this book helps to clarify present-day possibilities in light of historical processes.
In contemporary accounts of the Shining Path insurgency and Peru's internal war, the Upper Huallaga Valley has largely been overlooked—despite its former place as the country's main cocaine-producing region. From afar, the Upper Huallaga became a political and legal no-man's-land. Up close, vibrant networks of connection endured despite strict controls on human habitation and movement. This book asks what happens to such a place once prolonged conflict has ostensibly passed. How have ordinary encounters with land, territory, and law, and with the river that runs through them all, been altered in the aftermaths of war? Gathering stories and images to render the experiences of transportation workers who have ferried passengers and things across and along the river for decades, Richard Kernaghan elaborates a notion of legal topographies to understand how landscape interventions shape routes, craft territories, and muddle temporalities. Drawing on personal narratives and everyday practices of transit, this ethnography conveys how prior times of violence have silently accrued: in bridges and roads demolished, then rebuilt; in makeshift moorings that facilitate both licit and illegal trades; and above all through the river, a liquid barrier and current with unstable banks, whose intricate mesh of tributaries partitions terrains now laden with material traces and political effects of a recent yet far from finished past.
There are few instances of a contemporary Western European society more firmly welded to religion than Ireland is to Catholicism. For much of the twentieth century, to be considered a good Irish citizen was to be seen as a good and observant Catholic. Today, the opposite may increasingly be the case. The Irish Catholic Church, once a spiritual institution beyond question, is not only losing influence and relevance; in the eyes of many, it has become something utterly desacralized. In this book, Hugh Turpin offers an innovative and in-depth account of the nature and emergence of "ex-Catholicism"—a new model of the good, and secular, Irish person that is being rapidly adopted in Irish society. Using rich quantitative and qualitative research methods, Turpin explains the emergence and character of religious rejection in the Republic. He examines how numerous factors—including economic growth, social liberalization, attenuated domestic religious socialization, the institutional scandals and moral collapse of the Church, and the Church's lingering influence in social institutions and laws—have interacted to produce a rapid growth in ex-Catholicism. By tracing the frictions within and between practicing Catholics, cultural Catholics, and ex-Catholics in a period of profound cultural change and moral reckoning, Turpin shows how deeply the meanings of being religious or non-religious have changed in the country once described as "Holy Catholic Ireland."
This book builds upon Irina Carlota [Lotti] Silber's nearly 25 years of ethnographic research centered in Chalatenango, El Salvador, to follow the trajectories—geographic, temporal, storied—of several extended Salvadoran families. Traveling back and forth in time and across borders, Silber narrates the everyday unfolding of diasporic lives rich with acts of labor, love, and renewed calls for memory, truth, and accountability in El Salvador's long postwar. Through a retrospective and intimate ethnographic method that examines archives of memories and troubles the categories that have come to stand for "El Salvador" such as alarming violent numbers, Silber considers the lives of young Salvadorans who were brought up in an everyday radical politics and then migrated to the United States after more than a decade of peace and democracy. She reflects on this generation of migrants—the 1.5 insurgent generation born to forgotten former rank-and-file militants—as well as their intergenerational, transnational families to unpack the assumptions and typical ways of knowing in postwar ethnography. As the 1.5 generation sustains their radical political project across borders, circulates the products of their migrant labor through remittances, and engages in collective social care for the debilitated bodies of their loved ones, they transform and depart from expectations of the wounded postwar that offer us hope for the making of more just global futures.
Upon arrival to the United States, Mexican immigrants are racialized as simultaneously non-White and "illegal." This racialization process complicates notions of race that they bring with them, as the "pigmentocracy" of Mexican society, in which their skin color may have afforded them more privileges within their home country, collides with the American racial system. Racial Baggage examines how immigration reconfigures U.S. race relations, illuminating how the immigration experience can transform understandings of race in home and host countries. Drawing on interviews with Mexicans in Los Angeles and Guadalajara, sociologist Sylvia Zamora illustrates how racialization is a transnational process that not only changes immigrants themselves, but also everyday understandings of race and racism within the United States and Mexico. Within their communities and networks that span an international border, Zamora argues, immigrants come to define "race" in a way distinct from both the color-conscious hierarchy of Mexican society and the Black-White binary prevalent within the United States. In the process, their stories demonstrate how race is not static, but rather an evolving social phenomenon forever altered by immigration.
A rigorous study of the social meaning and consequences of racist humor, and a damning argument for when the joke is not just a joke. Having a "good" sense of humor generally means being able to take a joke without getting offended—laughing even at a taboo thought or at another's expense. The insinuation is that laughter eases social tension and creates solidarity in an overly politicized social world. But do the stakes change when the jokes are racist? In The Souls of White Jokes Raúl Pérez argues that we must genuinely confront this unsettling question in order to fully understand the persistence of anti-black racism and white supremacy in American society today. W.E.B. Du Bois's prescient essay "The Souls of White Folk" was one of the first to theorize whiteness as a social and political construct based on a feeling of superiority over racialized others—a kind of racial contempt. Pérez extends this theory to the study of humor, connecting theories of racial formation to parallel ideas about humor stemming from laughter at another's misfortune. Critically synthesizing scholarship on race, humor, and emotions, he uncovers a key function of humor as a tool for producing racial alienation, dehumanization, exclusion, and even violence. Pérez tracks this use of humor from blackface minstrelsy to contemporary contexts, including police culture, politics, and far-right extremists. Rather than being harmless fun, this humor plays a central role in reinforcing and mobilizing racist ideology and power under the guise of amusement. The Souls of White Jokes exposes this malicious side of humor, while also revealing a new facet of racism today. Though it can be comforting to imagine racism as coming from racial hatred and anger, the terrifying reality is that it is tied up in seemingly benign, even joyful, everyday interactions as well— and for racism to be eradicated we must face this truth.
How do the worlds that state administrators manage become the feelings publics embody? In Administering Affect, Daniel White addresses this question by documenting the rise of a new national figure he calls "Pop-Culture Japan." Emerging in the wake of Japan's dramatic economic decline in the early 1990s, Pop-Culture Japan reflected the hopes of Japanese state bureaucrats and political elites seeking to recover their country's standing on the global stage. White argues that due to growing regional competitiveness and geopolitical tension in East Asia in recent decades, Japan's state bureaucrats increasingly targeted political anxiety as a national problem and built a new national image based on pop-culture branding as a remedy. Based on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork among rarely accessible government bureaucrats, Administering Affect examines the fascinating connection between state administration and public sentiment. White analyzes various creative policy figures of Pop-Culture Japan, such as anime diplomats, "Cool Japan" branding campaigns, and the so-called "Ambassadors of Cute," in order to illustrate a powerful link between practices of managing national culture and the circulation of anxiety among Japanese publics. Invoking the term "administering affect" to illustrate how anxiety becomes a bureaucratic target, technique, and unintended consequence of promoting Japan's national popular culture, the book presents an ethnographic portrait of the at-times surprisingly emotional lives of Japan's state bureaucrats. In examining how anxious feelings come to drive policymaking, White delivers an intimate anthropological analysis of the affective forces interconnecting state governance, popular culture, and national identity.
In the last 30 years, Delhi, the capital of India, has displaced over 1.5 million poor people. Resettlement and welfare services are available—but exclusively so, as the city deems much of the population ineligible for civic benefits. The Right to Be Counted examines how Delhi's urban poor, in an effort to gain visibility from the local state, incrementally stake their claims to a house and life in the city. Contributing to debates about the contradictions of state governmentality and the citizenship projects of the poor in Delhi, this book explores social suffering, logistics, and the logic of political mobilizations that emanate from processes of displacement and resettlement. Sanjeev Routray draws upon fieldwork conducted in various low-income neighborhoods throughout the 2010s to describe the process of claims-making as an attempt by the political community of the poor to assert its existence and numerical strength, and demonstrates how this struggle to be counted constitutes the systematic, protracted, and incremental political process by which the poor claim their substantive entitlements and become entrenched in the city. Analyzing various social, political, and economic relationships, as well as kinship networks and solidarity linkages across the political and social spectrum, this book traces the ways the poor work to gain a foothold in Delhi and establish agency for themselves.
Many enter the academy with dreams of doing good; this is a book about how the institution fails them, especially if they are considered "outsiders." Tenure-track, published author, recipient of prestigious fellowships and awards—these credentials mark Victoria Reyes as somebody who has achieved the status of insider in the academy. Woman of color, family history of sexual violence, first generation, mother—these qualities place Reyes on the margins of the academy; a person who does not see herself reflected in its models of excellence. This contradiction allows Reyes to theorize the conditional citizenship of academic life—a liminal status occupied by a rapidly growing proportion of the academy, as the majority white, male, and affluent space simultaneously transforms and resists transformation. Reyes blends her own personal experiences with the tools of sociology to lay bare the ways in which the structures of the university and the people working within it continue to keep their traditionally marginalized members relegated to symbolic status, somewhere outside the center. Reyes confronts the impossibility of success in the midst of competing and contradictory needs—from navigating coded language, to balancing professional expectations with care-taking responsibilities, to combating the literal exclusions of outmoded and hierarchical rules. Her searing commentary takes on, with sensitivity and fury, the urgent call for academic justice.
Palestinians living on different sides of the Green Line make up approximately one-fifth of Israeli citizens and about four-fifths of the population of the West Bank. In both groups, activists assert that they share a single political struggle for national liberation. Yet, obstacles inhibit their ability to speak to each other and as a collective. Geopolitical boundaries fragment Palestinians into ever smaller groups. Crossing a Line enters these distinct environments for political expression and action of Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and Palestinians subject to Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, and considers how Palestinians are differently impacted by dispossession, settler colonialism, and militarism. Amahl Bishara looks to sites of political practice—journalism, historical commemorations, street demonstrations, social media, in prison, and on the road—to analyze how Palestinians create collectivities in these varied circumstances. She draws on firsthand research, personal interviews, and public media to examine how people shape and reshape meanings in circumstances of constraint. In considering these different environments for political expression and action, Bishara illuminates how expression is always grounded in place—and how a people can struggle together for liberation even when they cannot join together in protest.
The story of how one ethnic neighborhood came to signify a shared Korean American identity. At the turn of the twenty-first century, Los Angeles County's Korean population stood at about 186,000—the largest concentration of Koreans outside of Asia. Most of this growth took place following the passage of the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, which dramatically altered US immigration policy and ushered in a new era of mass immigration, particularly from Asia and Latin America. By the 1970s, Korean immigrants were seeking to turn the area around Olympic Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles into a full-fledged "Koreatown," and over the following decades, they continued to build a community in LA. As Korean immigrants seized the opportunity to purchase inexpensive commercial and residential property and transformed the area to serve their community's needs, other minority communities in nearby South LA—notably Black and Latino working-class communities—faced increasing segregation, urban poverty, and displacement. Beginning with the early development of LA's Koreatown and culminating with the 1992 Los Angeles riots and their aftermath, Shelley Sang-Hee Lee demonstrates how Korean Americans' lives were shaped by patterns of racial segregation and urban poverty, and legacies of anti-Asian racism and orientalism. Koreatown, Los Angeles tells the story of an American ethnic community often equated with socioeconomic achievement and assimilation, but whose experiences as racial minorities and immigrant outsiders illuminate key economic and cultural developments in the United States since 1965. Lee argues that building Koreatown was an urgent objective for Korean immigrants and US-born Koreans eager to carve out a spatial niche within Los Angeles to serve as an economic and social anchor for their growing community. More than a dot on a map, Koreatown holds profound emotional significance for Korean immigrants across the nation as a symbol of their shared bonds and place in American society.
What should South Korean offices look like in a post-hierarchical world? In Supercorporate, anthropologist Michael M. Prentice examines a central tension in visions of big corporate life in South Korea's twenty-first century: should corporations be sites of fair distinction or equal participation? As South Korea distances itself from images and figures of a hierarchical past, Prentice argues that the drive to redefine the meaning of corporate labor echoes a central ambiguity around corporate labor today. Even as corporations remain idealized sites of middle-class aspiration in South Korea, employees are torn over whether they want greater recognition for their work or meaningful forms of cooperation. Through an in-depth ethnography of the Sangdo Group conglomerate, the book examines how managers attempt to perfect corporate social life through new office programs while also minimizing the risks of creating new hierarchies. Ultimately, this book reveals how office life is a battleground for working out the promises and the perils of economic democratization in one of East Asia's most dynamic countries.
The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state. With this book, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. Drawing on court archives, public records, and ethnography of the Court of Cassation, the highest civil court in Lebanon, Mikdashi shows how political difference is entangled with religious, secular, and sexual difference. She presents state power as inevitably contingent, like the practices of everyday life it engenders, focusing on the regulation of religious conversion, the curation of legal archives, state and parastatal violence, and secular activism. Sextarianism locates state power in the experiences, transitions, uprisings, and violence that people in the Middle East continue to live.
Muhtars, the lowest level elected political position in Turkey, hold an ambiguously defined place within the administrative hierarchy. They are public officials, but local citizens do not always associate them with the central government. Street-Level Governing is the first book to investigate how muhtars carry out their role—not only what they are supposed to do, but how they actually operate—to provide an ethnographic study of the state as viewed from its margins. It starts from the premise that the seeming "margin" of state administration is not peripheral at all, but instructive as to how it functions. As Elise Massicard shows, muhtars exist at the intersection of everyday life and the exercise of power. Their position offers a personalized point of contact between citizens and state institutions, enabling close oversight of the citizenry, yet simultaneously projecting the sense of an accessible state to individuals. Challenging common theories of the state, Massicard outlines how the position of the muhtar throws into question an assumed dichotomy between domination and social resistance, and suggests that considerations of circumvention and accommodation are normal attributes of state-society functioning.
Mexico is at the center of the global battle over abortion. In 2007, a watershed reform legalized the procedure in the national capital, making it one of just three places across Latin America where it was permitted at the time. Abortion care is now available on demand and free of cost through a pioneering program of the Mexico City Ministry of Health, which has served hundreds of thousands of women. At the same time, abortion laws have grown harsher in several states outside the capital as part of a coordinated national backlash. In this book, Elyse Ona Singer argues that while pregnant women in Mexico today have options that were unavailable just over a decade ago, they are also subject to the expanded reach of the Mexican state and the Catholic Church over their bodies and reproductive lives. By analyzing the moral politics of clinical encounters in Mexico City's public abortion program, Lawful Sins offers a critical account of the relationship among reproductive rights, gendered citizenship, and public healthcare. With timely insights on global struggles for reproductive justice, Singer reorients prevailing perspectives that approach abortion rights as a hallmark of women's citizenship in liberal societies.
The Dominican Republic has posted impressive economic growth rates over the past thirty years. Despite this, the generation of new, good jobs has been remarkably weak. How have ordinary and poor Dominicans worked and lived in the shadow of the country's conspicuous growth rates? This book considers this question through an ethnographic exploration of the popular economy in the Dominican capital. Focusing on the city's precarious small businesses, including furniture manufacturers, food stalls, street-corner stores, and savings and credit cooperatives, Krohn-Hansen shows how people make a living, tackle market shifts, and the factors that characterize their relationship to the state and pervasive corruption. Empirically grounded, this book examines the condition of the urban masses in Santo Domingo, offering an original and captivating contribution to the scholarship on popular economic practices, urban changes, and today's Latin America and the Caribbean. This will be essential reading for scholars and policy makers.
Assessing the dawn of the Anthropocene era, a poet and philosopher asks: How do we live at the end of the world? The end of the Holocene era is marked not just by melting glaciers or epic droughts, but by the near universal disappearance of shared social enterprise: the ruling class builds walls and lunar shuttles, while the rest of us contend with the atrophy of institutional integrity and the utter abdication of providing even minimal shelter from looming disaster. The irony of the Anthropocene era is that, in a neoliberal culture of the self, it is forcing us to consider ourselves as a collective again. For those of us who are not wealthy enough to start a colony on Mars or isolate ourselves from the world, the Anthropocene ends the fantasy of sheer individualism and worldlessness once and for all. It introduces a profound sense of time and events after the so-called "end of history" and an entirely new approach to solidarity. How to Live at the End of the World is a hopeful exploration of how we might inherit the name "Anthropocene," renarrate it, and revise our way of life or thought in view of it. In his book on time, art, and politics in an era of escalating climate change, Holloway takes up difficult, unanswered questions in recent work by Donna Haraway, Kathryn Yusoff, Bruno Latour, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Isabelle Stengers, sketching a path toward a radical form of democracy—a zoocracy, or, a rule of all of the living.
In the poorest neighborhoods of Santiago, Chile, low-income residents known as pobladores have long lived at the margins—and have long advocated for the right to housing as part of la vida digna (a life with dignity). From 2011 to 2015, anthropologist Miguel Pérez conducted fieldwork among the pobladores of Santiago, where the urban dwellers and activists he met were part of an emerging social movement that demanded dignified living conditions, the right to remain in their neighborhoods of origin, and, more broadly, recognition as citizens entitled to basic rights. This ethnographic account raises questions about state policies that conceptualize housing as a commodity rather than a right, and how poor urban dwellers seek recognition and articulate political agency against the backdrop of neoliberal policies. By scrutinizing how Chilean pobladores constitute themselves as political subjects, this book reveals the mechanisms through which housing activists develop new imaginaries of citizenship in a country where the market has been the dominant force organizing social life for almost forty years. Pérez considers the limits and potentialities of urban movements, framed by poor people's involvement in subsidy-based programs, as well as the capacity of low-income residents to struggle against the commodification of rights by claiming the right to dignity: a demand based on a moral category that would ultimately become the driving force behind Chile's 2019 social uprising.
A powerful examination of soulful journeys made to recover memory and recuperate stolen pasts in the face of unspeakable histories. Survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 took refuge across the globe. Traumatized by unspeakable brutalities, the idea of returning to their homeland was unthinkable. But decades later, some children and grandchildren felt compelled to travel back, having heard stories of family wholeness in beloved homes and of cherished ancestral towns and villages once in Ottoman Armenia, today in the Republic of Turkey. Hoping to satisfy spiritual yearnings, this new generation called themselves pilgrims—and their journeys, pilgrimages. Carel Bertram joined scores of these pilgrims on over a dozen pilgrimages, and amassed accounts from hundreds more who made these journeys. In telling their stories, A House in the Homeland documents how pilgrims encountered the ancestral house, village, or town as both real and metaphorical centerpieces of family history. Bertram recounts the moving, restorative connections pilgrims made, and illuminates how the ancestral house, as a spiritual place, offers an opening to a wellspring of humanity in sites that might otherwise be defined solely by tragic loss. As an exploration of the powerful links between memory and place, house and homeland, rupture and continuity, these Armenian stories reflect the resilience of diaspora in the face of the savage reaches of trauma, separation, and exile in ways that each of us, whatever our history, can recognize.
In its current state, the global food system is socially and ecologically unsustainable: nearly two billion people are food insecure, and food systems are the number one contributor to climate change. While agro-industrial production is promoted as the solution to these problems, growing global "food sovereignty" movements are challenging this model by demanding local and democratic control over food systems. Translating Food Sovereignty accompanies activists based in the Pacific Northwest of the United States as they mobilize the claim of food sovereignty across local, regional, and global arenas of governance. In contrast to social movements that frame their claims through the language of human rights, food sovereignty activists are one of the first to have articulated themselves in relation to the neoliberal transnational order of networked governance. While this global regulatory framework emerged to deepen market logics, Matthew C. Canfield reveals how activists are leveraging this order to make more expansive social justice claims. This nuanced, deeply engaged ethnography illustrates how food sovereignty activists are cultivating new forms of transnational governance from the ground up.
How extreme-right antidemocratic governments around the world are prioritizing profits over citizens, stoking catastrophic wildfires, and accelerating global climate change. Recent years have seen out-of-control wildfires rage across remote Brazilian rainforests, densely populated California coastlines, and major cities in Australia. What connects these separate events is more than immediate devastation and human loss of life. In Global Burning, Eve Darian-Smith contends that using fire as a symbolic and literal thread connecting different places around the world allows us to better understand the parallel, and related, trends of the growth of authoritarian politics and climate crises and their interconnected global consequences. Darian-Smith looks deeply into each of these three cases of catastrophic wildfires and finds key similarities in all of them. As political leaders and big business work together in the pursuit of profits and power, anti-environmentalism has become an essential political tool enabling the rise of extreme right governments and energizing their populist supporters. These are the governments that deny climate science, reject environmental protection laws, and foster exclusionary worldviews that exacerbate climate injustice. The fires in Australia, Brazil and the United States demand acknowledgment of the global systems of inequality that undergird them, connecting the political erosion of liberal democracy with the corrosion of the environment. Darian-Smith argues that these wildfires are closely linked through capitalism, colonialism, industrialization, and resource extraction. In thinking through wildfires as environmental and political phenomenon, Global Burning challenges readers to confront the interlocking powers that are ensuring our future ecological collapse.
Media of the Masses investigates the social life of an everyday technology—the cassette tape—to offer a multisensory history of modern Egypt. Over the 1970s and 1980s, cassettes became a ubiquitous presence in Egyptian homes and stores. Audiocassette technology gave an opening to ordinary individuals, from singers to smugglers, to challenge state-controlled Egyptian media. Enabling an unprecedented number of people to participate in the creation of culture and circulation of content, cassette players and tapes soon informed broader cultural, political, and economic developments and defined "modern" Egyptian households. Drawing on a wide array of audio, visual, and textual sources that exist outside the Egyptian National Archives, Andrew Simon provides a new entry point into understanding everyday life and culture. Cassettes and cassette players, he demonstrates, did not simply join other twentieth century mass media, like records and radio; they were the media of the masses. Comprised of little more than magnetic reels in plastic cases, cassettes empowered cultural consumers to become cultural producers long before the advent of the Internet. Positioned at the productive crossroads of social history, cultural anthropology, and media and sound studies, Media of the Masses ultimately shows how the most ordinary things may yield the most surprising insights.
On any given day in Jordan, more than nine million residents eat approximately ten million loaves of khubz 'arabi—the slightly leavened flatbread known to many as pita. Some rely on this bread to avoid starvation; for others it is a customary pleasure. Yet despite its ubiquity in accounts of Middle East politics and society, rarely do we consider how bread is prepared, consumed, discussed, and circulated—and what this all represents. With this book, José Ciro Martínez examines khubz 'arabi to unpack the effects of the welfare program that ensures its widespread availability. Drawing on more than a year working as a baker in Amman, Martínez probes the practices that underpin subsidized bread. Following bakers and bureaucrats, he offers an immersive examination of social welfare provision. Martínez argues that the state is best understood as the product of routine practices and actions, through which it becomes a stable truth in the lives of citizens. States of Subsistence not only describes logics of rule in contemporary Jordan—and the place of bread within them—but also unpacks how the state endures through forms, sensations, and practices amid the seemingly unglamorous and unspectacular day-to-day.
A radical vision for the future of human rights as a fundamentally reconfigured framework for global justice. Reinventing Human Rights offers a bold argument: that only a radically reformulated approach to human rights will prove adequate to confront and overcome the most consequential global problems. Charting a new path—away from either common critiques of the various incapacities of the international human rights system or advocacy for the status quo—Mark Goodale offers a new vision for human rights as a basis for collective action and moral renewal. Goodale's proposition to reinvent human rights begins with a deep unpacking of human rights institutionalism and political theory in order to give priority to the "practice of human rights." Rather than a priori claims to universality, he calls for a working theory of human rights defined by "translocality," a conceptual and ethical grounding that invites people to form alliances beyond established boundaries of community, nation, race, or religious identity. This book will serve as both a concrete blueprint and source of inspiration for those who want to preserve human rights as a key framework for confronting our manifold contemporary challenges, yet who agree—for many different reasons—that to do so requires radical reappraisal, imaginative reconceptualization, and a willingness to reinvent human rights as a cross-cultural foundation for both empowerment and social action.
From medieval contemplation to the early modern cosmopoetic imagination, to the invention of aesthetic experience, to nineteenth-century decadent literature, and to early-twentieth century essayistic forms of writing and film, Niklaus Largier shows that mystical practices have been reinvented across the centuries, generating a notion of possibility with unexpected critical potential. Arguing for a new understanding of mystical experience, Largier foregrounds the ways in which devotion builds on experimental practices of figuration in order to shape perception, emotions, and thoughts anew. Largier illuminates how devotional practices are invested in the creation of possibilities, and this investment has been a key element in a wide range of experimental engagements in literature and art from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, and most recently in forms of "new materialism." Read as a history of the senses and emotions, the book argues that mystical and devotional practices have long been invested in the modulating and reconfiguring of sensation, affects, and thoughts. Read as a book about practices of figuration, it questions ordinary protocols of interpretation in the humanities, and the priority given to a hermeneutic understanding of texts and cultural artifacts.
Over the last decade, Peru has experienced a spectacular mining boom and astronomical economic growth. Yet, for villagers in Peru's southern Andes, few have felt the material benefits. With this book, Eric Hirsch considers what growth means—and importantly how it feels. Hirsch proposes an analysis of boom-time capitalism that starts not from considerations of poverty, but from the premise that Peru is wealthy. He situates his work in a network of villages near new mining sites, agricultural export markets, and tourist attractions, where Peruvian prosperity appears tantalizingly close, yet just out of reach. This book centers on small-scale development investments working to transform villagers into Indigenous entrepreneurs ready to capitalize on Peru's new national brand and access the constantly deferred promise of national growth. That meant identifying as Indigenous, where few actively did so; identifying as an entrepreneur, in a place where single-minded devotion to a business went against the tendency to diversify income sources; and identifying every dimension of one's daily life as a resource, despite the unwelcome intimacy this required. Theorizing growth as an affective project that requires constant physical and emotional labor, Acts of Growth follows a diverse group of Andean residents through the exhausting work of making an economy grow.
A strike pattern is a signature of violence carved into the land—bomb craters or fragments of explosives left behind, forgotten. In Strike Patterns, poet and anthropologist Leah Zani journeys to a Lao river community where people live alongside such relics of a secret war. With sensitive and arresting prose, Zani reveals the layered realities that settle atop one another in Laos—from its French colonial history to today's authoritarian state—all blown open by the war. This excavation of postwar life's balance between the mundane, the terrifying, and the extraordinary propels Zani to confront her own explosive past. From 1964 to 1973, the United States carried out a covert air war against Laos. Frequently overshadowed by the war with Vietnam, the Secret War was the longest and most intense air war in history. As Zani uncovers this hidden legacy, she finds herself immersed in the lives of her hosts: Chantha, a daughter of war refugees who grapples with her place in a future Laos of imagined prosperity; Channarong, a bomb technician whose Thai origins allow him to stand apart from the battlefields he clears; and Bounmi, a young man who has inherited his bomb expertise from his father but now struggles to imagine a similar future for his unborn son. Wandering through their lives are the restless ghosts of kin and strangers. Today, much of Laos remains contaminated with dangerous leftover explosives. Despite its obscurity, the Secret War has become a shadow model for modern counterinsurgency. Investigating these shadows of war, Zani spends time with silk weavers and rice farmers, bomb clearance crews and black market war scrap traders, ritual healers and survivors of explosions. Combining her fieldnotes with poetry, fiction, and memoir she reflects on the power of building new lives in the ruins.
In contemporary South Africa, power no longer maps neatly onto race. While white South Africans continue to enjoy considerable power at the top levels of industry, they have become a demographic minority, politically subordinate to the black South African population. To be white today means having to adjust to a new racial paradigm. In this book, Jacob Boersema argues that this adaptation requires nothing less than unlearning racism: confronting the shame of a racist past, acknowledging privilege, and, to varying degrees, rethinking notions of nationalism. Drawing on more than 150 interviews with a cross-section of white South Africans—representationally diverse in age, class, and gender—Boersema details how they understand their whiteness and depicts the limits and possibilities of individual, and collective, transformation. He reveals that the process of unlearning racism entails dismantling psychological and institutional structures alike, all of which are inflected by emotion and shaped by ideas of culture and power. Can We Unlearn Racism? pursues a question that should be at the forefront of every society's collective consciousness. Theoretically rich and ethnographically empathetic, this book offers valuable insights into the broader sociological process of unlearning, relevant today to communities all around the world.
When the Berlin Wall fell, Germany united in a wave of euphoria and solidarity. Also caught in the current were Vietnamese border crossers who had left their homeland after its reunification in 1975. Unwilling to live under socialism, one group resettled in West Berlin as refugees. In the name of socialist solidarity, a second group arrived in East Berlin as contract workers. The Border Within paints a vivid portrait of these disparate Vietnamese migrants' encounters with each other in the post-socialist city of Berlin. Journalists, scholars, and Vietnamese border crossers themselves consider these groups that left their homes under vastly different conditions to be one people, linked by an unquestionable ethnic nationhood. Phi Hong Su's rigorous ethnography unpacks this intuition. In absorbing prose, Su reveals how these Cold War compatriots enact palpable social boundaries in everyday life. This book uncovers how 20th-century state formation and international migration—together, border crossings—generate enduring migrant classifications. In doing so, border crossings fracture shared ethnic, national, and religious identities in enduring ways.
In the centuries before Europeans crossed the Atlantic, social and material relations among the indigenous Guaraní people of present-day Paraguay were based on reciprocal gift-giving. But the Spanish and Portuguese newcomers who arrived in the sixteenth century seemed interested in the Guaraní only to advance their own interests, either through material exchange or by getting the Guaraní to serve them. This book tells the story of how Europeans felt empowered to pursue individual gain in the New World, and how the Guaraní people confronted this challenge to their very way of being. Although neither Guaraní nor Europeans were positioned to grasp the larger meaning of the moment, their meeting was part of a global sea change in human relations and the nature of economic exchange. Brian P. Owensby uses the centuries-long encounter between Europeans and the indigenous people of South America to reframe the notion of economic gain as a historical development rather than a matter of human nature. Owensby argues that gain—the pursuit of individual, material self-interest—must be understood as a global development that transformed the lives of Europeans and non-Europeans, wherever these two encountered each other in the great European expansion spanning the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.
Sex work occupies a legally gray space in Johannesburg, South Africa, and police attitudes towards it are inconsistent and largely unregulated. As I. India Thusi argues in Policing Bodies, this results in both room for negotiation that can benefit sex workers and also extreme precarity in which the security police officers provide can be offered and taken away at a moment's notice. Sex work straddles the line between formal and informal. Attitudes about beauty and subjective value are manifest in formal tasks, including police activities, which are often conducted in a seemingly ad hoc manner. However, high-level organizational directives intended to regulate police obligations and duties toward sex workers also influence police action and tilt the exercise of discretion to the formal. In this liminal space, this book considers how sex work is policed and how it should be policed. Challenging discourses about sexuality and gender that inform its regulation, Thusi exposes the limitations of dominant feminist arguments regarding the legal treatment of sex work. This in-depth, historically informed ethnography illustrates the tension between enforcing a country's laws and protecting citizens' human rights.
From the 1920s to the eve of the Pacific War in 1941, more than 50,000 young second-generation Japanese Americans (Nisei) embarked on transpacific journeys to the Japanese Empire, putting an ocean between themselves and pervasive anti-Asian racism in the American West. Born U.S. citizens but treated as unwelcome aliens, this contingent of Japanese Americans—one in four U.S.-born Nisei—came in search of better lives but instead encountered a world shaped by increasingly volatile relations between the U.S. and Japan. Based on transnational and bilingual research in the United States and Japan, Michael R. Jin recuperates the stories of this unique group of American emigrants at the crossroads of U.S. and Japanese empire. From the Jim Crow American West to the Japanese colonial frontiers in Asia, and from internment camps in America to Hiroshima on the eve of the atomic bombing, these individuals redefined ideas about home, identity, citizenship, and belonging as they encountered multiple social realities on both sides of the Pacific. Citizens, Immigrants, and the Stateless examines the deeply intertwined histories of Asian exclusion in the United States, Japanese colonialism in Asia, and volatile geopolitical changes in the Pacific world that converged in the lives of Japanese American migrants.
Intersectional Design drives innovation while supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. It's about getting the design right for people across all of society—from the very beginning. Intersectional Design considers overlapping or "intersecting" factors—including gender, ethnicity, age, geographic location, etc.—that interact to shape a person's or a group's experience and social opportunities as a starting point for a more inclusive design approach. The Intersectional Design Cards feature 12 intersectional factors, 4 design levels, and 16 case studies. The case studies tell the story of intersectional design—from inclusive crash test dummies, to voice assistants, to social robots, urban design, medical technologies, smart mobility, water infrastructure, marine science, and more.
Uber's April 2016 launch in Buenos Aires plunged the Argentine capital into a frenzied hysteria that engulfed courts of law, taxi drivers, bureaucrats, the press, the general public, and Argentina's president himself. Economist and anthropologist Juan M. del Nido, who had arrived in the city six months earlier to research the taxi industry, suddenly found himself documenting the unprecedented upheaval in real time. Taxis vs. Uber examines the ensuing conflict from the perspective of the city's globalist, culturally liberal middle class, showing how notions like monopoly, efficiency, innovation, competition, and freedom fueled claims that were often exaggerated, inconsistent, unverifiable, or plainly false, but that shaped the experience of the conflict such that taxi drivers' stakes in it were no longer merely disputed but progressively written off, pathologized, and explained away. This first book-length study of the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the arrival of a major platform economy to a metropolitan capital considers how the clash between Uber and the traditional taxi industry played out in courtrooms, in the press, and on the street. Looking to court cases, the politics of taxi licenses, social media campaigns, telecommunications infrastructure, public protests, and Uber's own promotional materials, del Nido examines the emergence of "post-political reasoning": an increasingly common way in which societies neutralize disagreement, shaping how we understand what we can even legitimately argue about and how.
More than one million Indians travel annually to work in oil projects in the Gulf, one of the few international destinations where men without formal education can find lucrative employment. Between Dreams and Ghosts follows their migration, taking readers to sites in India, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, from villages to oilfields and back again. Engaging all parties involved—the migrants themselves, the recruiting agencies that place them, the government bureaucrats that regulate their emigration, and the corporations that hire them—Andrea Wright examines labor migration as a social process as it reshapes global capitalism. With this book, Wright demonstrates how migration is deeply informed both by workers' dreams for the future and the ghosts of history, including the enduring legacies of colonial capitalism. As workers navigate bureaucratic hurdles to migration and working conditions in the Gulf, they in turn influence and inform state policies and corporate practices. Placing migrants at the center of global capital rather than its periphery, Wright shows how migrants are not passive bodies at the mercy of abstract forces—and reveals through their experiences a new understanding of contemporary resource extraction, governance, and global labor.
A poignant look at empathetic encounters between staunch ideological rivals, all centered around our common need for food. While America's new reality appears to be a deeply divided body politic, many are wondering how we can or should move forward from here. Can political or social divisiveness be healed? Is empathy among people with very little ideological common ground possible? In A Decent Meal, Michael Carolan finds answers to these fundamental questions in a series of unexpected places: around our dinner tables, along the aisles of our supermarkets, and in the fields growing our fruits and vegetables. What is more common, after all, than the simple fact that we all need to eat? This book is the result of Carolan's career-long efforts to create simulations in which food could be used to build empathy, among even the staunchest of rivals. Though most people assume that presenting facts will sway the way the public behaves, time and again this assumption is proven wrong as we all selectively accept the facts that support our beliefs. Drawing on the data he has collected, Carolan argues that we must, instead, find places and practices where incivility—or worse, hate—is suspended and leverage those opportunities into tools for building social cohesion. Each chapter follows the individuals who participated in a given experiment, ranging from strawberry-picking, attempting to subsist on SNAP benefits, or attending a dinner of wild game. By engaging with participants before, during, and after, Carolan is able to document their remarkable shifts in attitude and opinion. Though this book is framed around food, it is really about the spaces opened up by our need for food, in our communities, in our homes, and, ultimately, in our minds.
Nearly 90 percent of residents in Dubai are foreigners with no Emirati nationality. As in many global cities, those who hold Western passports share specific advantages: prestigious careers, high salaries, and comfortable homes and lifestyles. With this book, Amélie Le Renard explores how race, gender and class backgrounds shape experiences of privilege, and investigates the processes that lead to the formation of Westerners as a social group. Westernness is more than a passport; it is also an identity that requires emotional and bodily labor. And as they work, hook up, parent, and hire domestic help, Westerners chase Dubai's promise of socioeconomic elevation for the few. Through an ethnography informed by postcolonial and feminist theory, Le Renard reveals the diverse experiences and trajectories of white and non-white, male and female Westerners to understand the shifting and contingent nature of Westernness—and also its deep connection to whiteness and heteronormativity. Western Privilege offers a singular look at the lived reality of structural racism in cities of the global South.
Winner of the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize, this work spins a heartfelt story of an improbable relationship between an anthropologist and her charismatic Indigenous father. When Aparecida Vilaça first traveled down the remote Negro River in Amazonia, she expected to come back with notebooks and tapes full of observations about the Indigenous Wari' people—but not with a new father. In Paletó and Me, Vilaça shares her life with her adoptive Wari' family, and the profound personal transformations involved in becoming kin. Paletó—unfailingly charming, always prepared with a joke—shines with life in Vilaça's account of their unusual father-daughter relationship. Paletó was many things: he was a survivor, who lived through the arrival of violent invaders and diseases. He was a leader, who taught through laughter and care, spoke softly, yet was always ready to jump into the unknown. He could shift seamlessly between the roles of the observer and the observed, and in his visits to Rio de Janeiro, deconstructs urban social conventions with ease and wit. Begun the day after Paletó's death at the age of 85, Paletó and Me is a celebration of life, weaving together the author's own memories of learning the lifeways of Indigenous Amazonia with her father's testimony to Wari' persistence in the face of colonization. Speaking from the heart as both anthropologist and daughter, Vilaça offers an intimate look at Indigenous lives in Brazil over nearly a century.
Throughout history, speech and storytelling have united communities and mobilized movements. Protestant Textuality and the Tamil Modern examines this phenomenon in Tamil-speaking South India over the last three centuries, charting the development of political oratory and its influence on society. Supplementing his narrative with thorough archival work, Bernard Bate begins with Protestant missionaries' introduction of the sermonic genre and takes the reader through its local vernacularization. What originally began as a format of religious speech became an essential political infrastructure used to galvanize support for new social imaginaries, from Indian independence to Tamil nationalism. Completed by a team of Bate's colleagues, this ethnography marries linguistic anthropology to performance studies and political history, illuminating new geographies of belonging in the modern era.
In Mexican American communities in the central United States, the modern tradition of playing fastpitch softball has been passed from generation to generation. This ethnic sporting practice is kept alive through annual tournaments, the longest-running of which were founded in the 1940s, when softball was a ubiquitous form of recreation, and the so-called "Mexican American generation" born to immigrant parents was coming of age. Carrying on with fastpitch into the second or third generation of players even as wider interest in the sport has waned, these historically Mexican American tournaments now function as reunions that allow people to maintain ties to a shared past, and to remember the decades of segregation when Mexican Americans' citizenship was unfairly questioned. In this multi-sited ethnography, Ben Chappell conveys the importance of fastpitch in the ordinary yearly life of Mexican American communities from Kansas City to Houston. Traveling to tournaments, he interviews players and fans, strikes up conversations in the bleachers, takes in the atmosphere in the heat of competition, and combs through local and personal archives. Recognizing fastpitch as a practice of cultural citizenship, Chappell situates the sport within a history marked by migration, marginalization, solidarity, and struggle, through which Mexican Americans have navigated complex negotiations of cultural, national, and local identities.
Oaxaca Resurgent examines how Indigenous people in one of Mexico's most rebellious states shaped local and national politics during the twentieth century. Drawing on declassified surveillance documents and original ethnographic research, A. S. Dillingham traces the contested history of indigenous development and the trajectory of the Mexican government's Instituto Nacional Indigenista, the most ambitious agency of its kind in the Americas. This book shows how generations of Indigenous actors, operating from within the Mexican government while also challenging its authority, proved instrumental in democratizing the local teachers' trade union and implementing bilingual education. Focusing on the experiences of anthropologists, government bureaucrats, trade unionists, and activists, Dillingham explores the relationship between indigeneity, rural education and development, and the political radicalism of the Global Sixties. By centering Indigenous expressions of anticolonialism, Oaxaca Resurgent offers key insights into the entangled histories of Indigenous resurgence movements and the rise of state-sponsored multiculturalism in the Americas. This revelatory book provides crucial context for understanding post-1968 Mexican history and the rise of the 2006 Oaxacan social movement.
Unlike other athletes, the rock climber tends to disregard established norms of style and technique, doing whatever she needs to do to get to the next foothold. This figure provides an apt analogy for the scholar at the center of this unique book. In Rocking Qualitative Social Science, Ashley Rubin provides an entertaining treatise, corrective vision, and rigorously informative guidebook for qualitative research methods that have long been dismissed in deference to traditional scientific methods. Recognizing the steep challenges facing many, especially junior, social science scholars who struggle to adapt their research models to narrowly defined notions of "right," Rubin argues that properly nourished qualitative research can generate important, creative, and even paradigm-shifting insights. This book is designed to help people conduct good qualitative research, talk about their research, and evaluate other scholars' work. Drawing on her own experiences in research and life, Rubin provides tools for qualitative scholars, synthesizes the best advice, and addresses the ubiquitous problem of anxiety in academia. Ultimately, this book argues that rigorous research can be anything but rigid.
A new strain of coronavirus emerged sometime in November 2019, and within weeks a cluster of patients began to be admitted to hospitals in Wuhan with severe pneumonia, most of them linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. China's seemingly effective containment of the first stage of the epidemic, in glaring contrast with the uncontrolled spread in Europe and the United States, was heralded as a testament to the Chinese Communist Party's unparalleled command over the biomedical sciences, population, and economy. Conversely, much academic and public debate about the origins of the virus focuses on the supposedly "backwards" cultural practice of consuming wild animals and the perceived problem of authoritarianism suppressing information about the outbreak until it was too late. The Origins of COVID-19, by Li Zhang, shifts debate away from narrow cultural, political, or biomedical frameworks, emphasizing that we must understand the origins of emerging diseases with pandemic potential (such as SARS and COVID-19) in the more complex and structural entanglements of state-making, science and technology, and global capitalism. She argues that both narratives, that of China's victory and the racist depictions of its culpability, do not address—and even aggravate—these larger forces that degrade the environment and increase the human-wildlife interface through which novel pathogens spill over into humans and may rapidly expand into global pandemics.
There is a tendency to think of Korean American literature—and Asian American literature writ large—as a field of study involving only two spaces, the United States and Korea, with the same being true in Asian studies of Korean Japanese (Zainichi) literature involving only Japan and Korea. This book posits that both fields have to account for three spaces: Korean American literature has to grapple with the legacy of Japanese imperialism in the United States, and Zainichi literature must account for American interventions in Japan. Comparing Korean American authors such as Younghill Kang, Chang-rae Lee, Ronyoung Kim, and Min Jin Lee with Zainichi authors such as Kaneshiro Kazuki, Yi Yang-ji, and Kim Masumi, Minor Transpacific uncovers their hidden dialogue and imperial concordances, revealing the trajectory and impact of both bodies of work. Minor Transpacific bridges the fields of Asian studies and Asian American studies to unveil new connections between Zainichi and Korean American literatures. Working in Japanese and English, David S. Roh builds a theoretical framework for articulating those moments of contact between minority literatures in a third national space and proposes a new way of conceptualizing Asian American literature.
In the mid-1990s, experts predicted that India would face the world's biggest AIDS epidemic by 2000. Though a crisis at this scale never fully materialized, global public health institutions, donors, and the Indian state initiated a massive effort to prevent it. HIV prevention programs channeled billions of dollars toward those groups designated as at-risk—sex workers and men who have sex with men. At Risk captures this unique moment in which these criminalized and marginalized groups reinvented their "at-risk" categorization and became central players in the crisis response. The AIDS crisis created a contradictory, conditional, and temporary opening for sex-worker and LGBTIQ activists to renegotiate citizenship and to make demands on the state. Working across India and Kenya, Gowri Vijayakumar provides a fine-grained account of the political struggles at the heart of the Indian AIDS response. These range from everyday articulations of sexual identity in activist organizations in Bangalore to new approaches to HIV prevention in Nairobi, where prevention strategies first introduced in India are adapted and circulate, as in the global AIDS field more broadly. Vijayakumar illuminates how the politics of gender, sexuality, and nationalism shape global crisis response. In so doing, she considers the precarious potential for social change in and after a crisis.
Around the year 1800, independent Native groups still effectively controlled about half the territory of the Americas. How did they maintain their political autonomy and territorial sovereignty, hundreds of years after the arrival of Europeans? In a study that spans the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and ranges across the vast interior of South America, Heather F. Roller examines this history of power and persistence from the vantage point of autonomous Native peoples in Brazil. The central argument of the book is that Indigenous groups took the initiative in their contacts with Brazilian society. Rather than fleeing or evading contact, Native peoples actively sought to appropriate what was useful and potent from outsiders, incorporating new knowledge, products, and even people, on their own terms and for their own purposes. At the same time, autonomous Native groups aimed to control contact with dangerous outsiders, so as to protect their communities from threats that came in the form of sicknesses, vices, forced labor, and land invasions. Their tactical decisions shaped and limited colonizing enterprises in Brazil, while revealing Native peoples' capacity for cultural persistence through transformation. These contact strategies are preserved in the collective memories of Indigenous groups today, informing struggles for survival and self-determination in the present.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is iconic in the landscape of Indian healthcare. Established in the early years of independence, this enormous public teaching hospital rapidly gained fame for the high-quality treatment it offered at a nominal cost; at present, an average of ten thousand patients pass through the outpatient department each day. With its notorious medical program acceptance rate of less than 0.01%, AIIMS also sits at the apex of Indian medical education. To be trained as a doctor here is to be considered the best. In what way does this enduring reputation of excellence shape the institution's ethos? How does elite medical education sustain India's social hierarchies and the health inequalities entrenched within? In the first-ever ethnography of AIIMS, Anna Ruddock considers prestige as a byproduct of norms attached to ambition, aspiration, caste, and class in modern India, and illustrates how the institution's reputation affects its students' present experiences and future career choices. Ruddock untangles the threads of intellectual exceptionalism, social and power stratification, and health inequality that are woven into the health care taught and provided at AIIMS, asking what is lost when medicine is used not as a social equalizer but as a means to cultivate and maintain prestige.
Exposing ethical dilemmas of neuroscientific research on violence, this book warns against a dystopian future in which behavior is narrowly defined in relation to our biological makeup. Biological explanations for violence have existed for centuries, as has criticism of this kind of deterministic science, haunted by a long history of horrific abuse. Yet, this program has endured because of, and not despite, its notorious legacy. Today's scientists are well beyond the nature versus nurture debate. Instead, they contend that scientific progress has led to a nature and nurture, biological and social, stance that allows it to avoid the pitfalls of the past. In Conviction Oliver Rollins cautions against this optimism, arguing that the way these categories are imagined belies a dangerous continuity between past and present. The late 1980s ushered in a wave of techno-scientific advancements in the genetic and brain sciences. Rollins focuses on an often-ignored strand of research, the neuroscience of violence, which he argues became a key player in the larger conversation about the biological origins of criminal, violent behavior. Using powerful technologies, neuroscientists have rationalized an idea of the violent brain—or a brain that bears the marks of predisposition toward "dangerousness." Drawing on extensive analysis of neurobiological research, interviews with neuroscientists, and participant observation, Rollins finds that this construct of the brain is ill-equipped to deal with the complexities and contradictions of the social world, much less the ethical implications of informing treatment based on such simplified definitions. Rollins warns of the potentially devastating effects of a science that promises to "predict" criminals before the crime is committed, in a world that already understands violence largely through a politic of inequality.
Each year, billions of dollars are spent on global humanitarian health initiatives. These efforts are intended to care for suffering bodies, especially those of distressed children living in poverty. But as global medical aid can often overlook the local economic and political systems that cause bodily suffering, it can also unintentionally prolong the very conditions that hurt children and undermine local aid givers. Investigating medical humanitarian encounters in Egypt, Paradoxes of Care illustrates how child aid recipients and local aid experts grapple with global aid's shortcomings and its paradoxical outcomes. Rania Kassab Sweis examines how some of the world's largest aid organizations care for vulnerable children in Egypt, focusing on medical efforts with street children and out-of-school village girls. Her in-depth ethnographic study reveals how global medical aid fails to "save" these children according to its stated aims, and often maintains—or produces new—social disparities in children's lives. Foregrounding vulnerable children's responses to medical aid, Sweis moves past the unquestioned benevolence of global health to demonstrate how children must manage their own bodies and lives in the absence of adult care. With this book, she challenges readers to engage with the question of what medical caregivers and donors alike gain from such global humanitarian transactions.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, complex capital flows have ravaged everyday communities across the globe. Housing in particular has become increasingly precarious. In response, many movements now contest the long-held promises and established terms of the private ownership of housing. Immigrant activism has played an important, if understudied, role in such struggles over collective consumption. In Dispossession and Dissent, Sophie Gonick examines the intersection of homeownership and immigrant activism through an analysis of Spain's anti-evictions movement, now a hallmark for housing struggles across the globe. Madrid was the crucible for Spain's urban planning and policy, its millennial economic boom (1998–2008), and its more recent mobilizations in response to crisis. During the boom, the city also experienced rapid, unprecedented immigration. Through extensive archival and ethnographic research, Gonick uncovers the city's histories of homeownership and immigration to demonstrate the pivotal role of Andean immigrants within this movement, as the first to contest dispossession from mortgage-related foreclosures and evictions. Consequently, they forged a potent politics of dissent, which drew upon migratory experiences and indigenous traditions of activism to contest foreclosures and evictions.
Electricity is a quirky commodity: more often than not, it cannot be stored, easily transported, or imported from overseas. Before lighting up our homes, it changes hands through specialized electricity markets that rely on engineering expertise to trade competitively while respecting the physical requirements of the electric grid. The Current Economy is an ethnography of electricity markets in the United States that shows the heterogenous and technologically inflected nature of economic expertise today. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among market data analysts, electric grid engineers, and citizen activists, this book provides a deep dive into the convoluted economy of electricity and its reverberations throughout daily life. Canay Özden-Schilling argues that many of the economic formations in everyday life come from work cultures rarely suspected of doing economic work: cultures of science, technology, and engineering that often do not have a claim to economic theory or practice, yet nonetheless dictate forms of economic activity. Contributing to economic anthropology, science and technology studies, energy studies, and the anthropology of expertise, this book is a map of the everyday infrastructures of economy and energy into which we are plugged as denizens of a technological world.
A new history of Middle East oil and the deep roots of American violence in Iraq. Iraq has been the site of some of the United States' longest and most sustained military campaigns since the Vietnam War. Yet the origins of US involvement in the country remain deeply obscured—cloaked behind platitudes about advancing democracy or vague notions of American national interests. With this book, Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt exposes the origins and deep history of US intervention in Iraq. The Paranoid Style in American Diplomacy weaves together histories of Arab nationalists, US diplomats, and Western oil execs to tell the parallel stories of the Iraq Petroleum Company and the resilience of Iraqi society. Drawing on new evidence—the private records of the IPC, interviews with key figures in Arab oil politics, and recently declassified US government documents—Wolfe-Hunnicutt covers the arc of the twentieth century, from the pre-WWI origins of the IPC consortium and decline of British Empire, to the beginnings of covert US action in the region, and ultimately the nationalization of the Iraqi oil industry and perils of postcolonial politics. American policy makers of the Cold War era inherited the imperial anxieties of their British forebears and inflated concerns about access to and potential scarcity of oil, giving rise to a "paranoid style" in US foreign policy. Wolfe-Hunnicutt deconstructs these policy practices to reveal how they fueled decades of American interventions in the region and shines a light on those places that America's covert empire builders might prefer we not look.
In the last two decades, amid the global spread of smartphones, state killings of civilians have increasingly been captured on the cameras of both bystanders and police. Screen Shots studies this phenomenon from the vantage point of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Here, cameras have proliferated as political tools in the hands of a broad range of actors and institutions, including Palestinian activists, Israeli soldiers, Jewish settlers, and human rights workers. All trained their lens on Israeli state violence, propelled by a shared dream: that advances in digital photography—closer, sharper, faster—would advance their respective political agendas. Most would be let down. Drawing on ethnographic work, Rebecca L. Stein chronicles Palestinian video-activists seeking justice, Israeli soldiers laboring to perfect the military's image, and Zionist conspiracy theorists accusing Palestinians of "playing dead." Writing against techno-optimism, Stein investigates what camera dreams and disillusionment across these political divides reveal about the Israeli and Palestinian colonial present, and the shifting terms of power and struggle in the smartphone age.
The industrial-port belt of Los Angeles is home to eleven of the top twenty oil refineries in California, the largest ports in the country, and those "racist monuments" we call freeways. In this uncelebrated corner of "La La Land" through which most of America's goods transit, pollution is literally killing the residents. In response, a grassroots movement for environmental justice has grown, predominated by Asian and undocumented Latin@ immigrant women who are transforming our political landscape—yet we know very little about these change makers. In Refusing Death, Nadia Y. Kim tells their stories, finding that the women are influential because of their ability to remap politics, community, and citizenship in the face of the country's nativist racism and system of class injustice, defined not just by disproportionate environmental pollution but also by neglected schools, surveillance and deportation, and political marginalization. The women are highly conscious of how these harms are an assault on their bodies and emotions, and of their resulting reliance on a state they prefer to avoid and ignore. In spite of such challenges and contradictions, however, they have developed creative, unconventional, and loving ways to support and protect one another. They challenge the state's betrayal, demand respect, and, ultimately, refuse death.
The Taliban made piety a business of the state, and thereby intervened in the daily lives and social interactions of Afghan women. Pious Peripheries examines women's resistance through groundbreaking fieldwork at a women's shelter in Kabul, home to runaway wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters of the Taliban. Whether running to seek marriage or divorce, enduring or escaping abuse, or even accused of singing sexually explicit songs in public, "promiscuous" women challenge the status quo—and once marked as promiscuous, women have few resources. This book provides a window into the everyday struggles of Afghan women as they develop new ways to challenge historical patriarchal practices. Sonia Ahsan-Tirmizi explores how women negotiate gendered power mechanisms, notably those of Islam and Pashtunwali. Sometimes defined as an honor code, Pashtunwali is a discursive and material practice that women embody through praying, fasting, oral and written poetry, and participation in rituals of hospitality and refuge. In taking ownership of Pashtunwali and Islamic knowledge, in both textual and oral forms, women create a new supportive community, finding friendship and solidarity in the margins of Afghan society. So doing, these women redefine the meanings of equality, honor, piety, and promiscuity in Afghanistan.
Today, the concept of "the refugee" as distinct from other migrants looms large. Immigration laws have developed to reinforce a dichotomy between those viewed as voluntary, often economically motivated, migrants who can be legitimately excluded by potential host states, and those viewed as forced, often politically motivated, refugees who should be let in. In Crossing, Rebecca Hamlin argues against advocacy positions that cling to this distinction. Everything we know about people who decide to move suggests that border crossing is far more complicated than any binary, or even a continuum, can encompass. Drawing on cases of various "border crises" across Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East, Hamlin outlines major inconsistencies and faulty assumptions on which the binary relies. The migrant/refugee binary is not just an innocuous shorthand—indeed, its power stems from the way in which it is painted as apolitical. In truth, the binary is a dangerous legal fiction, politically constructed with the ultimate goal of making harsh border control measures more ethically palatable to the public. This book is a challenge to all those invested in the rights and study of migrants to move toward more equitable advocacy for all border crossers.
How to Make A Wetland tells the story of two Turkish coastal areas, both shaped by ecological change and political uncertainty. On the Black Sea coast and the shores of the Aegean, farmers, scientists, fishermen, and families grapple with livelihoods in transition, as their environment is bound up in national and international conservation projects. Bridges and drainage canals, apartment buildings and highways—as well as the birds, water buffalo, and various animals of the regions—all inform a moral ecology in the making. Drawing on six years of fieldwork in wetlands and deltas, Caterina Scaramelli offers an anthropological understanding of sweeping environmental and infrastructural change, and the moral claims made on livability and materiality in Turkey, and beyond. Beginning from a moral ecological position, she takes into account the notion that politics is not simply projected onto animals, plants, soil, water, sediments, rocks, and other non-human beings and materials. Rather, people make politics through them. With this book, she highlights the aspirations, moral relations, and care practices in constant play in contestations and alliances over environmental change.
Society and democracy are ever threatened by the fall of fact. Rigorous analysis of facts, the hard boundary between truth and opinion, and fidelity to reputable sources of factual information are all in alarming decline. A 2018 report published by the RAND Corporation labeled this problem "truth decay" and Andrew J. Hoffman lays the challenge of fixing it at the door of the academy. But, as he points out, academia is prevented from carrying this out due to its own existential crisis—a crisis of relevance. Scholarship rarely moves very far beyond the walls of the academy and is certainly not accessing the primarily civic spaces it needs to reach in order to mitigate truth corruption. In this brief but compelling book, Hoffman draws upon existing literature and personal experience to bring attention to the problem of academic insularity—where it comes from and where, if left to grow unchecked, it will go—and argues for the emergence of a more publicly and politically engaged scholar. This book is a call to make that path toward public engagement more acceptable and legitimate for those who do it; to enlarge the tent to be inclusive of multiple ways that one enacts the role of academic scholar in today's world.
Rich, personal stories shed light on midwives at the frontier of women's reproductive rights. Midwives in the United States live and work in a complex regulatory environment that is a direct result of state and medical intervention into women's reproductive capacity. In Birthing a Movement, Renée Ann Cramer draws on over a decade of ethnographic and archival research to examine the interactions of law, politics, and activism surrounding midwifery care. Framed by gripping narratives from midwives across the country, she parses out the often-paradoxical priorities with which they must engage—seeking formal professionalization, advocating for reproductive justice, and resisting state-centered approaches. Currently, professional midwives are legal and regulated in their practice in 32 states and illegal in eight, where their practice could bring felony convictions and penalties that include imprisonment. In the remaining ten states, Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are unregulated, but nominally legal. By studying states where CPMs have differing legal statuses, Cramer makes the case that midwives and their clients engage in various forms of mobilization—at times simultaneous, and at times inconsistent—to facilitate access to care, autonomy in childbirth, and the articulation of women's authority in reproduction. This book brings together literatures not frequently in conversation with one another, on regulation, mobilization, health policy, and gender, offering a multifaceted view of the experiences and politics of American midwifery, and promising rich insights to a wide array of scholars, activists, healthcare professionals alike.
In 2001, Ethiopian Television aired a documentary about a small, rural village called Awra Amba, where women ploughed, men worked in the kitchen, and so-called harmful traditional practices did not exist. The documentary radically challenged prevailing images of Ethiopia as a gender-conservative and aid-dependent place, and Awra Amba became a symbol of gender equality and sustainable development in Ethiopia and beyond. Village Gone Viral uses the example of Awra Amba to consider the widespread circulation and use of modeling practices in an increasingly transnational and digital policy world. With a particular focus on traveling models—policy models that become "viral" through various vectors, ranging from NGOs and multilateral organizations to the Internet—Marit Tolo Østebø critically examines the hidden dimensions of models and model making. While a policy model may be presented as a "best practice," one that can be scaled up and successfully applied to other places, the local impacts of the model paradigm are far more ambivalent—potentially increasing social inequalities, reinforcing social stratification, and concealing injustice. With this book, Østebø ultimately calls for a reflexive critical anthropology of the production, circulation, and use of models as instruments for social change.
The Middle East plays a major role in the history of genetic science. Early in the twentieth century, technological breakthroughs in human genetics coincided with the birth of modern Middle Eastern nation-states, who proclaimed that the region's ancient history—as a cradle of civilizations and crossroads of humankind—was preserved in the bones and blood of their citizens. Using letters and publications from the 1920s to the present, Elise K. Burton follows the field expeditions and hospital surveys that scrutinized the bodies of tribal nomads and religious minorities. These studies, geneticists claim, not only detect the living descendants of biblical civilizations but also reveal the deeper past of human evolution. Genetic Crossroads is an unprecedented history of human genetics in the Middle East, from its roots in colonial anthropology and medicine to recent genome sequencing projects. It illuminates how scientists from Turkey to Yemen, Egypt to Iran, transformed genetic data into territorial claims and national origin myths. Burton shows why such nationalist appropriations of genetics are not local or temporary aberrations, but rather the enduring foundations of international scientific interest in Middle Eastern populations to this day.
Technology is rapidly changing the way we think about money. Digital payment has been slow to take off in the United States but is displacing cash in countries as diverse as China, Kenya, and Sweden. In Reimagining Money, Sibel Kusimba describes the rise of M-Pesa, and offers a rich portrait of how this technology changes the economic and social landscape, allowing users to create webs of relationships as they exchange, pool, borrow, lend, and share digital money in user-built networks. These networks, Kusimba argues, will shape the future of financial technologies and their impact on poverty, inclusion, and empowerment. She describes how urban and transnational migrants maintain a presence in rural areas through money gifts; how families use crowdfunding software to assemble donations for emergency medical care; and how new financial groups invest in real estate and fund weddings. The author presents fascinating accounts that challenge accepted wisdom by examining the notion of money as wealth-in-people—an idea long-cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa and now brought to bear on the digital age with homegrown financial technologies such as digital money transfer, digital microloans, and crowdfunding. The book concludes by proposing a new theory of money that can be applied to designing better financial technologies in the future.
This book offers a provocative retelling of Palestinian political history through an examination of the international commissions that have investigated political violence and human rights violations. More than twenty commissions have been convened over the last century, yet no significant change has resulted from these inquiries. The findings of the very first, the 1919 King-Crane Commission, were suppressed. The Mitchell Committee, convened in the heat of the Second Intifada, urged Palestinians to listen more sympathetically to the feelings of their occupiers. And factfinders returning from a shell-shocked Gaza Strip in 2008 registered their horror at the scale of the destruction, but Gazans have continued to live under a crippling blockade. Drawing on debates in the press, previously unexamined UN reports, historical archives, and ethnographic research, Lori Allen explores six key investigative commissions over the last century. She highlights how Palestinians' persistent demands for independence have been routinely translated into the numb language of reports and resolutions. These commissions, Allen argues, operating as technologies of liberal global governance, yield no justice—only the oppressive status quo. A History of False Hope issues a biting critique of the captivating allure and cold impotence of international law.
Following the recent global housing boom, tract housing development became a billion-dollar industry in Mexico. At the national level, neoliberal housing policy has overtaken debates around land reform. For Indigenous peoples, access to affordable housing remains crucial to alleviating poverty. But as palapas, traditional thatch and wood houses, are replaced by tract houses in the Yucatán Peninsula, Indigenous peoples' relationship to land, urbanism, and finance is similarly transformed, revealing a legacy of debt and dispossession. Indigenous Dispossession examines how Maya families grapple with the ramifications of neoliberal housing policies. M. Bianet Castellanos relates Maya migrants' experiences with housing and mortgage finance in Cancún, one of Mexico's fastest-growing cities. Their struggle to own homes reveals colonial and settler colonial structures that underpin the city's economy, built environment, and racial order. But even as Maya people contend with predatory lending practices and foreclosure, they cultivate strategies of resistance—from "waiting out" the state, to demanding Indigenous rights in urban centers. As Castellanos argues, it is through these maneuvers that Maya migrants forge a new vision of Indigenous urbanism.
Despite widespread consensus that China's digital revolution was sure to bring about massive democratic reforms, such changes have not come to pass. While scholars and policy makers alternate between predicting change and disparaging a stubbornly authoritarian regime, in this book Shaohua Guo demonstrates how this dichotomy misses the far more complex reality. The Evolution of the Chinese Internet traces the emergence and maturation of one of the most creative digital cultures in the world through four major technological platforms: the bulletin board system, the blog, the microblog, and WeChat. Guo transcends typical binaries of freedom and control, to argue that Chinese Internet culture displays a uniquely sophisticated interplay between multiple extremes, and that its vibrancy is dependent on these complex negotiations. In contrast to the flourishing of research findings on what is made invisible online, this book examines the driving mechanisms that grant visibility to particular kinds of user-generated content. Offering a systematic account of how and why an ingenious Internet culture has been able to thrive, Guo highlights the pivotal roles that media institutions, technological platforms, and creative practices of Chinese netizens have played in shaping culture on- and offline.
The assertion that even institutions often viewed as abhorrent should be dispassionately understood motivates Arkotong Longkumer's pathbreaking ethnography of the Sangh Parivar, a family of organizations comprising the Hindu right. The Greater India Experiment counters the urge to explain away their ideas and actions as inconsequential by demonstrating their efforts to influence local politics and culture in Northeast India. Longkumer constructs a comprehensive understanding of Hindutva, an idea central to the establishment of a Hindu nation-state, by focusing on the Sangh Parivar's engagement with indigenous peoples in a region that has long resisted the "idea of India." Contextualizing their activities as a Hindutva "experiment" within the broader Indian political and cultural landscape, he ultimately paints a unique picture of the country today.
What if we could imagine hierarchy not as a social ill, but as a source of social hope? Taking us into a "caste of thieves" in northern India, Nobody's People depicts hierarchy as a normative idiom through which people imagine better lives and pursue social ambitions. Failing to find a place inside hierarchic relations, the book's heroes are "nobody's people": perceived as worthless, disposable and so open to being murdered with no regret or remorse. Following their journey between death and hope, we learn to perceive vertical, non-equal relations as a social good, not only in rural Rajasthan, but also in much of the world—including settings stridently committed to equality. Challenging egalo-normative commitments, Anastasia Piliavsky asks scholars across the disciplines to recognize hierarchy as a major intellectual resource.
Following the 1979 revolution, the Iranian government set out to Islamize society. Muslim piety had to be visible, in personal appearance and in action. Iranians were told to pray, fast, and attend mosques to be true Muslims. The revolution turned questions of what it means to be a true Muslim into a matter of public debate, taken up widely outside the exclusive realm of male clerics and intellectuals. Say What Your Longing Heart Desires offers an elegant ethnography of these debates among a group of educated, middle-class women whose voices are often muted in studies of Islam. Niloofar Haeri follows them in their daily lives as they engage with the classical poetry of Rumi, Hafez, and Saadi, illuminating a long-standing mutual inspiration between prayer and poetry. She recounts how different forms of prayer may transform into dialogues with God, and, in turn, Haeri illuminates the ways in which believers draw on prayer and ritual acts as the emotional and intellectual material through which they think, deliberate, and debate.
When European powers carved political borders across the Middle East following World War I, a curious event in the international drug trade occurred: Palestine became the most important hashish waystation in the region and a thriving market for consumption. British and French colonial authorities utterly failed to control the illicit trade, raising questions about the legitimacy of their mandatory regimes. The creation of the Israeli state, too, had little effect to curb illicit trade. By the 1960s, drug trade had become a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and drug use widespread. Intoxicating Zion is the first book to tell the story of hashish in Mandatory Palestine and Israel. Trafficking, use, and regulation; race, gender, and class; colonialism and nation-building all weave together in Haggai Ram's social history of the drug from the 1920s to the aftermath of the 1967 War. The hashish trade encompassed smugglers, international gangs, residents, law enforcers, and political actors, and Ram traces these flows through the interconnected realms of cross-border politics, economics, and culture. Hashish use was and is a marker of belonging and difference, and its history offers readers a unique glimpse into how the modern Middle East was made.
Every event in human history has been a more-than-human event. When hunter-gatherers burn the land, they cooperate with herbs that seed quickly and grasses that sprout after fires, attracting game. Inside us, intestinal bacteria make it possible for us to digest our food. Other things, living and nonliving, make it possible to be human. Yet powerful habits of thought over the last centuries have made this statement less than obvious. With the arrival of the idea of the Anthropocene, we move away from such thinking to reconsider how human and nonhuman histories are inextricably intertwined. Convening over one hundred researchers to trace a whole range of such intertwinements, Feral Atlas offers an original and playful approach to studying the Anthropocene. Focused on the world's feral reactions to human intervention, the editors explore the structures and qualities that lie at the heart of the feral and make the phenomenon possible. This publication features original contributions by high-profile artists, humanists and scientists such as Amitav Ghosh, Elizabeth Fenn, Simon Lewis, Mark Maslin, and many others.
The Subject of Human Rights is the first book to systematically address the "human" part of "human rights." Drawing on the finest thinking in political theory, cultural studies, history, law, anthropology, and literary studies, this volume examines how human rights—as discourse, law, and practice—shape how we understand humanity and human beings. It asks how the humanness that the human rights idea seeks to protect and promote is experienced. The essays in this volume consider how human rights norms and practices affect the way we relate to ourselves, to other people, and to the nonhuman world. They investigate what kinds of institutions and actors are subjected to human rights and are charged with respecting their demands and realizing their aspirations. And they explore how human rights shape and even create the very subjects they seek to protect. Through critical reflection on these issues, The Subject of Human Rights suggests ways in which we might reimagine the relationship between human rights and subjectivity with a view to benefiting human rights and subjects alike.
With the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraqis abroad, hoping to return one day to a better Iraq, became uncertain exiles. Return to Ruin tells the human story of this exile in the context of decades of U.S. imperial interests in Iraq—from the U.S. backing of the 1963 Ba'th coup and support of Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, to the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 invasion and occupation. Zainab Saleh shares the experiences of Iraqis she met over fourteen years of fieldwork in Iraqi London—offering stories from an aging communist nostalgic for the streets she marched since childhood, a devout Shi'i dreaming of holy cities and family graves, and newly uprooted immigrants with fresh memories of loss, as well as her own. Focusing on debates among Iraqi exiles about what it means to be an Iraqi after years of displacement, Saleh weaves a narrative that draws attention to a once-dominant, vibrant Iraqi cultural landscape and social and political shifts among the diaspora after decades of authoritarianism, war, and occupation in Iraq. Through it all, this book illuminates how Iraqis continue to fashion a sense of belonging and imagine a future, built on the shards of these shattered memories.
The 21st century has seen growing numbers of seniors turning to migration in response to newfound challenges to traditional forms of retirement and old-age support, such as increased longevity, demographically aging populations, and global neoliberal trends reducing state welfare. Chinese-born migrants to the U.S. serve as an exemplary case of this trend, with 30 percent of all migrants since 1990 being at least 60 years old. This book tells their story, arguing that they demonstrate the significance of age as a mediating factor that is fundamentally important for considering how migration is experienced. The subjects of this study are situated at the crossroads of Chinese immigrant and Chinese-American experiences, embodying many of the ambiguities and paradoxes that complicate common understandings of each group. These are older individuals who have waited their whole lives to migrate to the U.S. to rejoin family but often experience unanticipated family conflict when they arrive. They are retirees living at the social and economic margins of American society who nonetheless find significant opportunities to achieve meaningful retired lifestyles. They are members of a diaspora spanning vast regional and ideological differences, yet their wellbeing hinges on everyday interactions with others in this diverse community. Their stories highlight the many possibilities for mutual engagement that connect Chinese and American ways of being and belonging in the world.
Within the broad contours of Islamic traditions, Muslims are enjoined to fast during the month of Ramadan, they are invited to a disciplined practice of prayer, and they are offered the Quran as the divine revelation in the most beautiful verbal form. But what happens if Muslims choose not to fast, or give up prayer, or if the Quran's beauty seems inaccessible? When Muslims do not take up the path of piety, what happens to their relationships with more devout Muslims who are neighbors, friends, and kin? Between Muslims provides an ethnographic account of Iraqi Kurdish Muslims who turn away from devotional piety yet remain intimately engaged with Islamic traditions and with other Muslims. Andrew Bush offers a new way to understand religious difference in Islam, rejecting simple stereotypes about ethnic or sectarian identities. Integrating textual analysis of poetry, sermons, and Islamic history into accounts of everyday life in Iraqi Kurdistan, Between Muslims illuminates the interplay of attraction and aversion to Islam among ordinary Muslims.
The backlash against globalization and the rise of cultural anxiety has led to considerable re-thinking among social scientists. This book provides multiple theoretical, historical, and methodological orientations to examine these issues. While addressing the rise of populism worldwide, the volume provides explanations that cover periods of both cultural turbulence and stability. Issues addressed include populism and cultural anxiety, class, religion, arts and cultural diversity, global environment norms, international trade, and soft power. The interdisciplinary scholarship from well-known scholars questions the oft-made assumption in political economy that holds culture "constant," which in practice means marginalizing it in the explanation. The volume conceptualizes culture as a repertoire of values and alternatives. Locating human interests in underlying cultural values does not make political economy's strategic or instrumental calculations of interests redundant: the instrumental logic follows a social context and a distribution of cultural values, while locating forms of decision-making that may not be rational.
Monster is an adult pit bull, muscular and grey, who is impounded in a large animal shelter in Los Angeles. Like many other dogs at the shelter, Monster is associated with marginalized humans and assumed to embody certain behaviors because of his breed. And like approximately one million shelter animals each year, Monster will be killed. The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals takes us inside one of the country's highest-intake animal shelters. Katja M. Guenther witnesses the dramatic variance in the narratives assigned different animals, including Monster, which dictate their chances for survival. She argues that these inequalities are powerfully linked to human ideas about race, class, gender, ability, and species. Guenther deftly explores internal hierarchies, breed discrimination, and importantly, instances of resistance and agency.
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year The first book that examines India's mega-publicity campaigns to theorize the global transformation of the nation-state into an attractive investment destination. The early twenty-first century was an optimistic moment of global futures-making. The chief narrative was the emergence of the BRICS nations—leading stars in the great spectacle of capitalist growth stories, branded afresh as resource-rich hubs of untapped talent and potential, and newly opened up for foreign investments. The old third-world nations were rapidly embracing the script of unbridled capitalism in the hope of arriving on the world stage. If the tantalizing promise of economic growth invited entrepreneurs to invest in the nation's exciting futures, it offered utopian visions of "good times," and even restoration of lost national glory, to the nation's citizens. Brand New Nation reaches into the past and, inevitably, the future of this phenomenon as well as the fundamental shifts it has wrought in our understanding of the nation-state. It reveals the on-the-ground experience of the relentless transformation of the nation-state into an "attractive investment destination" for global capital. As Ravinder Kaur provocatively argues, the brand new nation is not a mere nineteenth century re-run. It has come alive as a unified enclosure of capitalist growth and nationalist desire in the twenty-first century. Today, to be deemed an attractive nation-brand in the global economy is to be affirmed as a proper nation. The infusion of capital not only rejuvenates the nation; it also produces investment-fueled nationalism, a populist energy that can be turned into a powerful instrument of coercion. Grounded in the history of modern India, the book reveals the close kinship among identity economy and identity politics, publicity and populism, and violence and economic growth rapidly rearranging the liberal political order the world over.
Social justice and human rights movements are entering a new phase. Social media, artificial intelligence, and digital forensics are reshaping advocacy and compliance. Technicians, lawmakers, and advocates, sometimes in collaboration with the private sector, have increasingly gravitated toward the possibilities and dangers inherent in the nonhuman. #HumanRights examines how new technologies interact with older models of rights claiming and communication, influencing and reshaping the modern-day pursuit of justice. Ronald Niezen argues that the impacts of information technologies on human rights are not found through an exclusive focus on sophisticated, expert-driven forms of data management but in considering how these technologies are interacting with other, "traditional" forms of media to produce new avenues of expression, public sympathy, redress of grievances, and sources of the self. Niezen considers various ways that the pursuit of justice is happening via new technologies, including crowdsourcing, social media–facilitated mobilizations (and enclosures), WhatsApp activist networks, and the selective attention of Google's search engine algorithm. He uncovers how emerging technologies of data management and social media influence the ways that human rights claimants and their allies pursue justice, and the "new victimology" that prioritizes and represents strategic lives and types of violence over others. #HumanRights paints a striking and important panoramic picture of the contest between authoritarianism and the new tools by which people attempt to leverage human rights and bring the powerful to account.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson was the charismatic leader of the Chabad Hasidic movement and its designated Messiah. Yet when he died in 1994, the messianic fervor he inspired did not subside. Through traditional means and digital technologies, a group of radical Hasidim, the Meshichistim, still keep the Rebbe palpably close—engaging in ongoing dialogue, participating in specific rituals, and developing an ever-expanding visual culture of portraits and videos. With Us More Than Ever focuses on this group to explore how religious practice can sustain the belief that a messianic figure is both present and accessible. Yoram Bilu documents a unique religious experience that is distinctly modern. The rallying point of the Meshichistim—that the Rebbe is "with us more than ever"—is sustained through an elaborate system that creates the sense of his constant and pervasive presence in the lives of his followers. The virtual Rebbe that emerges is multiple, visible, accessible, and highly decentralized, the epicenter of a truly messianic movement in the twenty-first century. Combining ethnographic fieldwork and cognitive science with nuanced analysis, Bilu documents the birth and development of a new religious faith, describing the emergence of new spiritual horizons, a process common to various religious movements old and new.
This groundbreaking book investigates the emergence and evolution of the organ trade across North Africa and Europe. Seán Columb illuminates the voices and perspectives of organ sellers and brokers to demonstrate how crime and immigration controls produce circumstances where the business of selling organs has become a feature of economic survival. Drawing on the experiences of African migrants, Trading Life brings together five years of fieldwork charting the development of the organ trade from an informal economic activity into a structured criminal network operating within and between Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, and Europe. Ground-level analysis provides new insight into the operation of organ trading networks and the impact of current legal and policy measures in response to the organ trade. Columb reveals how investing financial and administrative resources into law enforcement and border securitization at the expense of social services has led to the convergence of illicit smuggling and organ trading networks and the development of organized crime. Trading Life delivers a powerful and grounded analysis of how economic pressures and the demands of survival force people into exploitative arrangements, like selling a kidney, that they would otherwise avoid. This fascinating and accessible book is a must-read for anyone interested in migration, organized crime, and exploitation.
How cats became the undisputed mascot of the internet. The advertising slogan of the social news site Reddit is "Come for the cats. Stay for the empathy." Journalists and their readers seem to need no explanation for the line, "The internet is made of cats." Everyone understands the joke, but few know how it started. A Unified Theory of Cats on the Internet is the first book to explore the history of how the cat became the internet's best friend. Internet cats can differ in dramatic ways, from the goth cats of Twitter to the glamourpusses of Instagram to the giddy, nonsensical silliness of Nyan Cat. But they all share common traits and values. Bringing together fun anecdotes, thoughtful analyses, and hidden histories of the communities that built the internet, Elyse White shows how japonisme, punk culture, cute culture, and the battle among different communities for the soul of the internet informed the sensibility of online felines. Internet cats offer a playful—and useful—way to understand how culture shapes and is shaped by technology. Western culture has used cats for centuries as symbols of darkness, pathos, and alienation, and the communities that helped build the internet explicitly constructed themselves as outsiders, with snark and alienation at the core of their identity. Thus cats became the sine qua non of cultural literacy for the Extremely Online, not to mention an everyday medium of expression for the rest of us. Whatever direction the internet takes next, the "series of tubes" is likely to remain cat-shaped.
A bracing corrective to the myths that have shaped economic, military, and diplomatic policy, dispelling our oil-soaked fantasies of dependence. There is a conventional wisdom about oil—that the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf is what guarantees access to this strategic resource; that the "special" relationship with Saudi Arabia is necessary to stabilize an otherwise volatile market; and that these assumptions in turn provide Washington enormous leverage over Europe and Asia. Except, the conventional wisdom is wrong. Robert Vitalis debunks the myths to reveal "oilcraft," a line of magical thinking closer to witchcraft than statecraft. Oil is a commodity like any other: bought, sold, and subject to market forces. Thus, the first goal of this book is to expose the suspect fears of oil scarcity and conflict. The second goal is to investigate the significant geopolitical impact of these false beliefs. In particular, Vitalis shows how we can reconsider the question of the U.S.–Saudi special relationship, which confuses and traps many into unnecessarily accepting what they imagine is a devil's bargain. The House of Saud does many things for U.S. investors, firms, and government agencies, but guaranteeing the flow of oil, making it cheap, or stabilizing the price isn't one of them. Freeing ourselves from the spell of oilcraft won't be easy—but the benefits make it essential.
Digital Pirates examines the unauthorized creation, distribution, and consumption of movies and music in Brazil. Alexander Sebastian Dent offers a new definition of piracy as indispensable to current capitalism alongside increasing global enforcement of intellectual property (IP). Complex and capricious laws might prohibit it, but piracy remains a core activity of the twenty-first century. Combining the tools of linguistic and cultural anthropology with models from media studies and political economy, Digital Pirates reveals how the dynamics of IP and piracy serve as strategies for managing the gaps between texts—in this case, digital content. Dent's analysis includes his fieldwork in and around São Paulo with pirates, musicians, filmmakers, police, salesmen, technicians, policymakers, politicians, activists, and consumers. Rather than argue for rigid positions, he suggests that Brazilians are pulled in multiple directions according to the injunctions of international governance, localized pleasure, magical consumption, and economic efficiency. Through its novel theorization of "digital textuality," this book offers crucial insights into the qualities of today's mediascape as well as the particularized political and cultural norms that govern it. The book also shows how twenty-first century capitalism generates piracy and its enforcement simultaneously, while producing fraught consumer experiences in Latin America and beyond.
Can there be good social policy? This book describes what happens to Indigenous policy when it targets the supposedly 'wild people' of regional and remote Australia. Tess Lea explores naturalized policy: policy unplugged, gone live, ramifying in everyday life, to show that it is policies that are wild, not the people being targeted. Lea turns the notion of unruliness on its head to reveal a policy-driven world dominated by short term political interests and their erratic, irrational effects, and by the less obvious protection of long-term interests in resource extraction and the liberal settler lifestyles this sustains. Wild Policy argues policies are not about undoing the big causes of enduring inequality, and do not ameliorate harms terribly well either—without yielding all hope. Drawing on efforts across housing and infrastructure, resistant media-making, health, governance and land tenure battles in regional and remote Australia, Wild Policy looks at how the logics of intervention are formulated and what this reveals in answer to the question: why is it all so hard? Lea offers readers a layered, multi-relational approach called policy ecology to probe the related question, 'what is to be done?' Lea's case material will resonate with analysts across the world who deal with infrastructures, policy, technologies, mining, militarization, enduring colonial legacies, and the Anthropocene.
The inside story of political protest in Saudi Arabia—on the ground, in the suburbs, and in the face of increasing state repression. Graveyard of Clerics takes up two global phenomena intimately linked in Saudi Arabia: urban sprawl and religious activism. Saudi suburbia emerged after World War II as citizens fled crowded inner cities. Developed to encourage a society of docile, isolated citizens, suburbs instead opened new spaces for political action. Religious activists in particular turned homes, schools, mosques, and summer camps into resources for mobilization. With the support of suburban grassroots networks, activists won local elections and found opportunities to protest government actions—until they faced a new wave of repression under the current Saudi leadership. Pascal Menoret spent four years in Saudi Arabia in the places where today's Islamic activism first emerged. With this book, he tells the stories of the people actively countering the Saudi state and highlights how people can organize and protest even amid increasingly intense police repression. This book changes the way we look at religious activism in Saudi Arabia. It also offers a cautionary tale: the ongoing repression by Saudi elites—achieved often with the complicity of the international community—is shutting down grassroots political movements with significant consequences for the country and the world.
Dark Finance offers one of the first ethnographic accounts of financial expansion and its political impacts in Eastern Europe. Following workers, managers, and investors in the Macedonian construction sector, Fabio Mattioli shows how financialization can empower authoritarian regimes—not by making money accessible to everyone, but by allowing a small group of oligarchs to monopolize access to international credit and promote a cascade of exploitative domestic debt relations. The landscape of failed deals and unrealizable dreams that is captured in this book portrays finance not as a singular, technical process. Instead, Mattioli argues that finance is a set of political and economic relations that entangles citizens, Eurocrats, and workers in tense paradoxes. Mattioli traces the origins of illiquidity in the reorganization of the European project and the postsocialist perversion of socialist financial practices—a dangerous mix that hid the Macedonian regime's weakness behind a façade of urban renewal and, for a decade, made it seem omnipresent and invincible. Dark Finance chronicles how, one bad deal at a time, Macedonia's authoritarian regime rode a wave of financial expansion that deepened its reach into Macedonian society, only to discover that its domination, like all speculative bubbles, was teetering on the verge of collapse.
Argentina lies at the heart of the American hemisphere's history of global migration booms of the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century: by 1910, one of every three Argentine residents was an immigrant—twice the demographic impact that the United States experienced in the boom period. In this context, some one hundred and forty thousand Ottoman Syrians came to Argentina prior to World War I, and over the following decades Middle Eastern communities, institutions, and businesses dotted the landscape of Argentina from bustling Buenos Aires to Argentina's most remote frontiers. Argentina in the Global Middle East connects modern Latin American and Middle Eastern history through their shared links to global migration systems. By following the mobile lives of individuals with roots in the Levantine Middle East, Lily Pearl Balloffet sheds light on the intersections of ethnicity, migrant–homeland ties, and international relations. Ranging from the nineteenth century boom in transoceanic migration to twenty-first century dynamics of large-scale migration and displacement in the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, this book considers key themes such as cultural production, philanthropy, anti-imperial activism, and financial networks over the course of several generations of this diasporic community. Balloffet's study situates this transregional history of Argentina and the Middle East within a larger story of South-South alliances, solidarities, and exchanges.
Court of Injustice reveals how immigration lawyers work to achieve just results for their clients in a system that has long denigrated the rights of those they serve. J.C. Salyer specifically investigates immigration enforcement in New York City, following individual migrants, their lawyers, and the NGOs that serve them into the immigration courtrooms that decide their cases. This book is an account of the effects of the implementation of U.S. immigration law and policy. Salyer engages directly with the specific laws and procedures that mandate harsh and inhumane outcomes for migrants and their families. Combining anthropological and legal analysis, Salyer demonstrates the economic, historical, political, and social elements that go into constructing inequity under law for millions of non-citizens who live and work in the United States. Drawing on both ethnographic research conducted in New York City and on the author's knowledge and experience as a practicing immigration lawyer at a non-profit organization, this book provides unique insight into the workings and effects of U.S. immigration law. Court of Injustice provides an up-close view of the experiences of immigration lawyers at non-profit organizations, in law school clinics, and in private practice to reveal limitations and possibilities available to non-citizens under U.S. immigration law. In this way, this book provides a new perspective on the study of migration by focusing specifically on the laws, courts, and people involved in U.S. immigration law.
From Ramallah to New York, Tel Aviv to Porto Alegre, people around the world celebrate a formidable, transnational Palestinian LGBTQ social movement. Solidarity with Palestinians has become a salient domain of global queer politics. Yet LGBTQ Palestinians, even as they fight patriarchy and imperialism, are themselves subjected to an "empire of critique" from Israeli and Palestinian institutions, Western academics, journalists and filmmakers, and even fellow activists. Such global criticism has limited growth and led to an emphasis within the movement on anti-imperialism over the struggle against homophobia. With this book, Sa'ed Atshan asks how transnational progressive social movements can balance struggles for liberation along more than one axis. He explores critical junctures in the history of Palestinian LGBTQ activism, revealing the queer Palestinian spirit of agency, defiance, and creativity, in the face of daunting pressures and forces working to constrict it. Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique explores the necessity of connecting the struggles for Palestinian freedom with the struggle against homophobia.
Migranthood chronicles deportation from the perspectives of Indigenous youth who migrate unaccompanied from Guatemala to Mexico and the United States. In communities of origin in Guatemala, zones of transit in Mexico, detention centers for children in the U.S., government facilities receiving returned children in Guatemala, and communities of return, young people share how they negotiate everyday violence and discrimination, how they and their families prioritize limited resources and make difficult decisions, and how they develop and sustain relationships over time and space. Anthropologist Lauren Heidbrink shows that Indigenous youth cast as objects of policy, not participants, are not passive recipients of securitization policies and development interventions. Instead, Indigenous youth draw from a rich social, cultural, and political repertoire of assets and tactics to navigate precarity and marginality in Guatemala, including transnational kin, social networks, and financial institutions. By attending to young people's perspectives, we learn the critical roles they play as contributors to household economies, local social practices, and global processes. The insights and experiences of young people uncover the transnational effects of securitized responses to migration management and development on individuals and families, across space, citizenship status, and generation. They likewise provide evidence to inform child protection and human rights locally and internationally.
The Pakistan Army is a uniquely powerful and influential institution, with vast landholdings and resources. It has deep roots in the colonial armed forces and relies heavily on certain regions to supply its soldiers, especially parts of rural Punjab, where men have served in the army for generations. These men, their wives and mothers, and the military culture surrounding them are the focus of Maria Rashid's Dying to Serve, which innovatively and sensitively addresses the question: how does the military thrive when so much of its work results in injury, debility, and death? Taking ritual commemorations of fallen soldiers as one critical site of study, Rashid argues that these "spectacles of mourning" are careful manipulations of affect, gendered and structured by the military to reinforce its omnipotence in the lives of its subjects. Grounding her study in the famed martial district of Chakwal, Rashid finds affect similarly deployed in recruitment and training practices, as well as management of death and compensation to families. She contends that understanding these affective technologies is crucial to challenging the appeal of the military institution globally.
Contemporary Japan is home to one of the world's largest and most diversified markets for sex. Widely understood to be socially necessary, the sex industry operates and recruits openly, staffed by a diverse group of women who are attracted by its high pay and the promise of autonomy—but whose work remains stigmatized and unmentionable. Based on fieldwork with adult Japanese women in Tokyo's sex industry, Healing Labor explores the relationship between how sex workers think about what sex is and what it does and the political-economic roles and possibilities that they imagine for themselves. Gabriele Koch reveals how Japanese sex workers regard sex as a deeply feminized care—a healing labor—that is both necessary and significant for the well-being and productivity of men. In this nuanced ethnography that approaches sex as a social practice with political and economic effects, Koch compellingly illustrates the linkages between women's work, sex, and the gendered economy.
In India, the eight states that border Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Tibetan areas of China are often referred to as just "the Northeast." In the Name of the Nation offers a critical and historical account of the country's troubled relations with this borderland region. Its modern history is shaped by the dynamics of a "frontier" in its multiple references: migration and settlement, resource extraction, and regional geopolitics. Partly as a result of this, the political trajectory of the region has been different from the rest of the country. Ethnic militias and armed groups have flourished for decades, but they coexist comfortably with functioning electoral institutions. The region has some of India's highest voter turnout rates, but special security laws produce significant democracy deficits that are now almost as old as the Republic. That these policies have been enforced to foment national unity while multiple alternative conceptions of the "nation" animate politics in the region forces us to reflect on the very foundations of the nation form. Sanjib Baruah offers a nuanced account of this impossibly complicated story, asking how democracy can be sustained, and deepened, in these conditions.
Food in Cuba follows Cuban families as they struggle to maintain a decent quality of life in Cuba's faltering, post-Soviet welfare state by specifically looking at the social and emotional dimensions of shifts in access to food. Based on extensive fieldwork with families in Santiago de Cuba, the island's second largest city, Hanna Garth examines Cuban families' attempts to acquire and assemble "a decent meal," unraveling the layers of household dynamics, community interactions, and individual reflections on everyday life in today's Cuba. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and the subsequent loss of its most significant trade partner, Cuba entered a period of economic hardship. Although trade agreements have significantly improved the quantity and quality of rationed food in Cuba, many Cubans report that they continue to live with food shortages and economic hardship. Garth tells the stories of families that face the daily challenge of acquiring not only enough food, but food that meets local and personal cultural standards. She ultimately argues that these ongoing struggles produce what the Cuban families describe as "a change in character," and that for some, this shifting concept of self and sense of social relation leads to a transformation in society. Food in Cuba shows how the practices of acquisition and the politics of adequacy are intricately linked to the local moral stances on what it means to be a good person, family member, community member, and ultimately, a good Cuban.
No contemporary figure is more demonized than the Islamist foreign fighter who wages jihad around the world. Spreading violence, disregarding national borders, and rejecting secular norms, so-called jihadists seem opposed to universalism itself. In a radical departure from conventional wisdom on the topic, The Universal Enemy argues that transnational jihadists are engaged in their own form of universalism: these fighters struggle to realize an Islamist vision directed at all of humanity, transcending racial and cultural difference. Anthropologist and attorney Darryl Li reconceptualizes jihad as armed transnational solidarity under conditions of American empire, revisiting a pivotal moment after the Cold War when ethnic cleansing in the Balkans dominated global headlines. Muslim volunteers came from distant lands to fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina alongside their co-religionists, offering themselves as an alternative to the US-led international community. Li highlights the parallels and overlaps between transnational jihads and other universalisms such as the War on Terror, United Nations peacekeeping, and socialist Non-Alignment. Developed from more than a decade of research with former fighters in a half-dozen countries, The Universal Enemy explores the relationship between jihad and American empire to shed critical light on both.
Waste Siege offers an analysis unusual in the study of Palestine: it depicts the environmental, infrastructural, and aesthetic context in which Palestinians are obliged to forge their lives. To speak of waste siege is to describe a series of conditions, from smelling wastes to negotiating military infrastructures, from biopolitical forms of colonial rule to experiences of governmental abandonment, from obvious targets of resistance to confusion over responsibility for the burdensome objects of daily life. Within this rubble, debris, and infrastructural fallout, West Bank Palestinians create a life under settler colonial rule. Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins focuses on waste as an experience of everyday life that is continuous with, but not a result only of, occupation. Tracing Palestinians' own experiences of wastes over the past decade, she considers how multiple authorities governing the West Bank—including municipalities, the Palestinian Authority, international aid organizations, NGOs, and Israel—rule by waste siege, whether intentionally or not. Her work challenges both common formulations of waste as "matter out of place" and as the ontological opposite of the environment, by suggesting instead that waste siege be understood as an ecology of "matter with no place to go." Waste siege thus not only describes a stateless Palestine, but also becomes a metaphor for our besieged planet.