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For more than century before World War II, traders, merchants, financiers, and laborers steadily moved between places on the Indian Ocean, trading goods, supplying credit, and seeking work. This all changed with the war and as India, Burma, Ceylon, and Malaya wrested independence from the British empire. Set against the tumult of the postwar period,Boats in a Storm centers on the legal struggles of migrants to retain their traditional rhythms and patterns of life, illustrating how they experienced citizenship and decolonization. Even as nascent citizenship regimes and divergent political trajectories of decolonization papered over migrations between South and Southeast Asia, migrants continued to recount cross-border histories in encounters with the law. These accounts, often obscured by national and international political developments, unsettle the notion that static national identities and loyalties had emerged, fully formed and unblemished by migrant pasts, in the aftermath of empires. Drawing on archival materials from India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, London, and Singapore, Kalyani Ramnath narrates how former migrants battled legal requirements to revive prewar circulations of credit, capital, and labor, in a postwar context of rising ethno-nationalisms that accused migrants of stealing jobs and hoarding land. Ultimately, Ramnath shows how decolonization was marked not only by shipwrecked empires and nation-states assembled and ordered from the debris of imperial collapse, but also by these forgotten stories of wartime displacements, their unintended consequences, and long afterlives.
The term "tinker" calls to mind nomadic medieval vendors who operate on the fringe of formal society. Excluded from elite circles and characterized by an ability to leverage minimal resources, these tradesmen live and die by their ability to adapt their stores to the popular tastes of the day. In Delhi in the 21st century, an extensive network of informal marketplaces, or bazaars, has evolved over the course of the city's history, across colonial and postcolonial regimes. Their resilience as an economic system is the subject of this book. Today, instead of mending and selling fabrics and pots, these street vendors are primarily associated with electronic products—computers, cell phones, motherboards, and video games. This book offers a deep ethnography of three Delhi bazaars, and a cast of tinkers, traders, magicians, street performers, and hackers who work there. It is an exploration, and recognition, of the role of bazaars and tinkers in the modern global economy, driving globalization from below. In Delhi, and across the world, these street markets work to create a new information society, as the global popular classes aspire to elite consumer goods they cannot afford except in counterfeit.
Over the last several decades, life in Lahore has been undergoing profound transformations, from rapid and uneven urbanization to expanding state institutions and informal economies. What do these transformations look like if viewed from the lens of waste materials and the lives of those who toil with them? In Lahore, like in many parts of Pakistan and South Asia, waste workers—whether municipal employees or informal laborers—are drawn from low- or noncaste (Dalit) groups and dispose the collective refuse of the city's 11 million inhabitants. Bringing workers into contact with potentially polluting materials reinforces their stigmatization and marginalization, and yet, their work allows life to go on across Lahore and beyond. This historical and ethnographic account examines how waste work has been central to organizing and transforming the city of Lahore—its landscape, infrastructures, and life—across historical moments, from the colonial period to the present. Building upon conversations about changing configurations of work and labor under capitalism, and utilizing a theoretical framework of reproduction, Waqas H. Butt traces how forms of life in Punjab, organized around caste-based relations, have become embedded in infrastructures across Pakistan, making them crucial to numerous processes unfolding at distinct scales. Life Beyond Waste maintains that processes reproducing life in a city like Lahore must be critically assessed along the lines of caste, class, and religion, which have been constitutive features of urbanization across South Asia.
Hiring domestic workers is a routine part of the expat development lifestyle. Whether working for the United Nations, governmental aid agencies, or NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children, or World Vision, expatriate aid workers in the developing world employ maids, nannies, security guards, gardeners and chauffeurs. Though nearly every expat aid worker in the developing world has local people working within the intimate sphere of their homes, these relationships are seldom, if ever, discussed in analyses of the development paradigm and its praxis. Aid and the Help addresses this major lacuna through an ethnographic analysis of the intersection of development work and domestic work. Examining the reproductive labor cheaply purchased by aid workers posted overseas opens the opportunity to assess the multiple ways that the ostensibly "giving" industry of development can be an extractive industry as well.
In the late nineteenth century, the Ottoman government sought to fill landscapes they legally defined as "empty." Both land and people were incorporated into territorially bounded grids of administrative law. Bedouin Bureaucrats examines how tent-dwelling, seasonally migrating Bedouin engaged in these processes of Ottoman state transformation on local, imperial, and global scales. As the "tribe" became a category of Ottoman administration, Bedouin in the Syrian interior used this category both to gain political influence and to organize community resistance to maintain control over land. Narrating the lives of Bedouin individuals involved in Ottoman administration, Nora Elizabeth Barakat brings this population to the center of modern state-making, from their involvement in the pilgrimage administration in the eighteenth century and their performance of land registration and taxation as the Ottoman bureaucracy expanded in the nineteenth, to their eventual rejection of Ottoman attempts to reallocate the "empty land" they inhabited in the twentieth. She places the Syrian interior in a global context of imperial expansion into regions formerly deemed marginal, especially in relation to American and Russian empires. Ultimately, the book illuminates Ottoman state formation attempts within Bedouin communities and the unique trajectory of Bedouin in Syria, who maintained their control over land.
Once the capital of the five-hundred-year Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1897) and the Taehan Empire (1897–1910), the city of Seoul posed unique challenges to urban reform and modernization under Japanese colonial rule in the early twentieth century, constrained by the labyrinthian built environment of the old Korean capital. Colonial authorities attempted to employ a strategy of "erasure"—monumental Japanese architecture was, for instance, superimposed upon existing palace structures—to articulate to colonized Korean subjects the transition from the pre-modern to the modern, and the naturalization of colonial rule as inevitable historical change. Drawing from and analyzing a wide range of materials, from architecture and photography to print media and sound recordings, City of Sediments shows how Seoul became a site to articulate a new mode of time—modernity—that defined the place of the colonized in accordance with the progression of history, and how the underbelly of the city, latent places of darkness filled with chatters of the alleyway, challenged this visual language of power. To do so, Se-Mi Oh builds an inventive new model of history where discrete events do not unfold one after the other, but rather one in which histories layer atop each other like sediment, allowing a new map of colonial Seoul to emerge, a map where the material traces of the city are overlapping, with vibrant residues of earlier times defiantly visible among the superimposed signs of modernity and colonial domination.
At the turn of the millennium, Middle Eastern and Muslim Germans had rather unexpectedly become central to the country's Holocaust memory culture—not as welcome participants, but as targets for re-education and reform. Since then, Turkish- and Arab-Germans have been considered as the prime obstacles to German national reconciliation with its Nazi past, a status shared to a lesser degree by Germans from the formerly socialist East Germany. It is for this reason that the German government, German NGOs, and Muslim minority groups have begun to design Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention programs specifically tailored for Muslim immigrants and refugees, so that they, too, can learn the lessons of the Holocaust and embrace Germany's most important postwar democratic political values. Based on ethnographic research conducted over a decade, Subcontractors of Guilt explores when, how, and why Muslim Germans have moved to the center of Holocaust memory discussions. Esra Özyürek argues that German society "subcontracts" guilt of the Holocaust to new minority immigrant arrivals, with the false promise of this process leading to inclusion into the German social contract and equality with other members of postwar German society. By focusing on the recently formed but already sizable sector of Muslim-only anti-Semitism and Holocaust education programs, this book explores the paradoxes of postwar German national identity.
India imposes stringent criminal penalties, including life imprisonment in some states, for cow slaughter, based on a Hindu ethic of revering the cow as sacred. And yet India is among the world's leading producers of beef, leather, and milk, industries sustained by the mass slaughter of bovines. What is behind this seeming contradiction? What do bovines, deemed holy in Hinduism, experience in the Indian milk and beef industries? Yamini Narayanan asks and answers these questions, introducing cows and buffaloes as key subjects in India's cow protectionism, rather than their treatment hitherto as mere objects of political analysis. Emphasizing human–animal hierarchical relations, Narayanan argues that the Hindu framing of the cow as "mother" is one of human domination, wherein bovine motherhood is simultaneously capitalized for dairy production and weaponized by right-wing Hindu nationalists to violently oppress Muslims and Dalits. Using ethnographic and empirical data gathered across India, this book reveals the harms caused to buffaloes, cows, bulls, and calves in dairying, and the exploitation required of the diverse, racialized labor throughout India's dairy production continuum to obscure such violence. Ultimately, Narayanan traces how the unraveling of human domination and exploitation of farmed animals is integral to progressive multispecies democratic politics, speculating on the real possibility of a post-dairy society, based on vegan agricultural policies for livelihoods and food security.
Unruly Speech explores how Uyghurs in China and in the diaspora transgress sociopolitical limits with "unruly" communication practices in a quest for change. Drawing on research in China, the United States, and Germany, Saskia Witteborn situates her study against the backdrop of displacement and shows how naming practices and witness accounts become potent ways of resistance in everyday interactions and in global activism. Featuring the voices of Uyghurs from three continents, Unruly Speech analyzes the discursive and material force of place names, social media, surveillance, and the link between witnessing and the discourse on human rights. The book provides a granular view of disruptive communication: its global political moorings and socio-technical control. The rich ethnographic study will appeal to audiences interested in migration and displacement, language and social interaction, advocacy, digital surveillance, and a transnational China.
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.
On Salafism offers a compelling new understanding of this phenomenon, both its development and contemporary manifestations. Salafism became associated with fundamentalism when the 9/11 Commission used it to explain the terror attacks and has since been connected with the violence of the so-called Islamic State. With this book, Azmi Bishara critically deconstructs claims of continuity between early Islam and modern militancy and makes a counterargument: Salafism is a wholly modern construct informed by specific sociopolitical contexts. Bishara offers a sophisticated account of various movements—such as Wahabbism and Hanbalism—frequently collapsed into simplistic understandings of Salafism. He distinguishes reformist from regressive Salafism, and examines patterns of modernization in the development of contemporary Islamic political movements and associations. In deconstructing the assumptions of linear continuity between traditional and contemporary movements, Bishara details various divergences in both doctrine and context of modern Salafisms, plural. On Salafism is a crucial read for those interested in Islamism, jihadism, and Middle East politics and history.
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.
From the 1970s on, Los Angeles was transformed into a center for entertainment, consumption, and commerce for the affluent. Mirroring the urban development trend across the nation, new construction led to the displacement of low-income and working-class racial minorities, as city officials targeted these neighborhoods for demolition in order to spur economic growth and bring in affluent residents. Responding to the displacement, there emerged a coalition of unions, community organizers, and faith-based groups advocating for policy change. In Building Downtown Los Angeles Leland Saito traces these two parallel trends through specific construction projects and the backlash they provoked. He uses these events to theorize the past and present processes of racial formation and the racialization of place, drawing new insights on the relationships between race, place, and policy. Saito brings to bear the importance of historical events on contemporary processes of gentrification and integrates the fluidity of racial categories into his analysis. He explores these forces in action, as buyers and entrepreneurs meet in the real estate marketplace, carrying with them a fraught history of exclusion and vast disparities in wealth among racial groups.
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.
Despite its image as an epicenter of progressive social policy, New York City continues to have one of the nation's most segregated school systems. Tracing the quest for integration in education from the mid-1950s to the present, The Battle Nearer to Home follows the tireless efforts by educational activists to dismantle the deep racial and socioeconomic inequalities that segregation reinforces. The fight for integration has shifted significantly over time, not least in terms of the way "integration" is conceived, from transfers of students and redrawing school attendance zones, to more recent demands of community control of segregated schools. In all cases, the Board eventually pulled the plug in the face of resistance from more powerful stakeholders, and, starting in the 1970s, integration receded as a possible solution to educational inequality. In excavating the history of New York City school integration politics, in the halls of power and on the ground, Christopher Bonastia unearths the enduring white resistance to integration and the severe costs paid by Black and Latino students. This last decade has seen activists renew the fight for integration, but the war is still far from won.
The global electronics industry is one of the most innovation-driven and technology-intensive sectors in the contemporary world economy. From semiconductors to end products, complex transnational production and value-generating activities have integrated diverse macro-regions and national economies worldwide into the "interconnected worlds" of global electronics. This book argues that the current era of interconnected worlds started in the early 1990s when electronics production moved from systems dominated by lead firms in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan towards increasingly globalized and cross-macro-regional electronics manufacturing centered in East Asia. By the 2010s, this co-evolution of production network complexity transformed global electronics, through which lead firms from South Korea, Taiwan, and China integrated East Asia into the interconnected worlds of electronics production across the globe. Drawing on literature on the electronics industry, new empirical material comprising custom datasets, and extensive personal interviews, this book examines through a "network" approach the co-evolution of globalized electronics production centered in East Asia across different national economies and sub-national regions. With comprehensive analysis up to 2021, Yeung analyzes the geographical configurations ("where"), organizational strategies ("how"), and causal drivers ("why") of global production networks, setting a definitive benchmark into the dynamic transformations in global electronics and other globalized industries. The book will serve as a crucial resource for academic and policy research, offering a conceptual, empirically driven grounding in the theory of these networks that has become highly influential across the social sciences.
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.
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.
A National Endowment for Democracy Notable Book of 2022 Protest has been a key method of political claim-making in Jordan from the late Ottoman period to the present day. More than moments of rupture within normal-time politics, protests have been central to challenging state power, as well as reproducing it—and the spatial dynamics of protests play a central role in the construction of both state and society. With this book, Jillian Schwedler considers how space and geography influence protests and repression, and, in challenging conventional narratives of Hashemite state-making, offers the first in-depth study of rebellion in Jordan. Based on twenty-five years of field research, Protesting Jordan examines protests as they are situated in the built environment, bringing together considerations of networks, spatial imaginaries, space and place-making, and political geographies at local, national, regional, and global scales. Schwedler considers the impact of time and temporality in the lifecycles of individual movements. Through a mixed interpretive methodology, this book illuminates the geographies of power and dissent and the spatial practices of protest and repression, highlighting the political stakes of competing narratives about Jordan's past, present, and future.
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.
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.
A rich, narrative exploration of the ways love defies, survives, thrives, and dies as lovers contend with US immigration policy. For mixed-citizenship couples, getting married is the easy part. The US Supreme Court has confirmed the universal civil right to marry, guaranteeing every couple's ability to wed. But the Supreme Court has denied that this right to marriage includes married couples' right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on US soil, creating a challenge for mixed-citizenship couples whose individual-level rights do not translate to family-level protections. While US citizens can extend legal inclusion to their spouses through family reunification, they must prove their worthiness and the worthiness of their love before their relationship will be officially recognized by the state. In Unauthorized Love, Jane López offers a comprehensive, critical look at US family reunification law and its consequences as experienced by 56 mixed-citizenship American couples. These couples' stories––of integration and alienation, of opportunity and inequality, of hope and despair––make tangible the consequences of current US immigration laws that tend to favor Whiteness, wealth, and heteronormativity, as well as the individual rather than the family unit, in awarding membership and official belonging. In examining the experiences of couples struggling to negotiate intimacy under the constraints of immigration policy, López argues for a rethinking of citizenship as a family affair.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the past decade alone, more than ten million corpses have been exhumed and reburied across the Chinese landscape. The campaign has transformed China's graveyards into sites of acute personal, social, political, and economic contestation. In this digital volume, three historians of China, Jeffrey Snyder-Reinke, Christian Henriot, and Thomas S. Mullaney, chart out the history of China's rapidly shifting deathscape. Each essay grapples with a different dimension of grave relocation and burial reform in China over the past three centuries: from the phenomenon of "baby towers" in the Lower Yangzi region of late imperial China, to the histories of death in the city of Shanghai, and finally to the history of grave relocation during the contemporary period, examined by Mullaney, when both its scale and tempo increased dramatically. Rounding off these historical analyses, a colophon by platform developers David McClure and Glen Worthey speaks to new reading methodologies emerging from a format in which text and map move in concert to advance historical argumentation.