Volume 7
2021

Scholarship Behind the Scenes at an Academic Journal: Behind the Scenes at an Academic Journal

Chibnik, Michael. 2020. Scholarship Behind the Scenes at an Academic Journal: Behind the Scenes at an Academic Journal. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Keywords: academia, anthropology, journal, scholarly publishing, work Publishing is essential in academia. Its inner workings and daily business are however rarely written about. A welcome exception is Scholarship, Money, and Prose, in […]

Year in Review 2021

Beloved readers and authors, we are happy to, for the third time, reach out to you with a summary of the year that has passed, and present you with our plans for the future. For those unfamiliar with the Anthropology Book Forum, it was founded by the American Anthropological Association as an experimental digital platform […]

Of Land and Bread (Film)

Produced by B’Tselem and Ehab Tarabieh. 2019. The Video Project. “When everyone on earth dies, the last person should play this while walking into the sunset” writes a Youtuber, in a very dramatic tone, about Handel’s Sarabanda,1 which constitutes the sole soundtrack of the documentary Of Land and Bread, repeated over and over. I watched […]

Ethnographies of Power: A Political Anthropology of Energy

Edited by Tristan Loloum, Simone Abram and Nathalie Ortar, 2021, EASA Series 42. New York, N.Y: Berghahn Books, pp. 212, ISBN  978-1-78920-979 Open Access: https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/LoloumEthnographies Keywords: anthropology of energy, infrastructure, power, political anthropology While anthropologists have long taken an interest in the relationship between energy and society, over the past decade the interconnected events stemming from […]

Mastery of non-mastery in the age of meltdown

M. Taussig, 2020, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 220 pp, ISBN 978-0-226-69867-0 Keywords: Michael Taussig; meltdown; metamorphic sublime; mimesis; mastery of non-mastery In his most recent book, Mastery of Non-Mastery in the Age of Meltdown, Michael Taussig, with his ingenuity and wit, presents a chronicle of contemporaneity. The main argument of the book is hinted at on […]

Kincraft: The Making of Black Evangelical Sociality

T. Todne 2021, Durham and London: Duke University Press. What comes to your mind when you hear the words “American Evangelical churches”? Maybe you immediately get images of megachurches with predominantly white members with conservative opinions on various matters. Maybe the most recent, former American president also turns up in your images, together with his supporters […]

Water: Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity

Jeremy J. Schmidt. 2019. Water. Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity. New York University Press: New York, 320 pp, ISBN: 9781479846429 Water is a thought-provoking book wherein the human geographer Jeremy J. Schmidt sets out on a task to retrieve a lost philosophy that he argues is the very basis for the […]

En bra plats att vara på. En antropologisk studie av mångfaldsarbete och identitetsskapande inom Svenska Kyrkan [A Good Place to Be. An Anthropological Study of Diversity Work and Identity formation in the Church of Sweden]

Helgesson Kjellin, Kristina 2016. En bra plats att vara på. En antropologisk studie av mångfaldsarbete och identitetsskapande inom Svenska Kyrkan [A Good Place to Be. An Anthropological Study of Diversity Work and Identity formation in the Church of Sweden]. Artos & Norma Bokförlag. Kristina Helgesson Kjellin introduces her book A Good Place to Be. An […]

The Streets Are Talking to Me: Affective Fragments in Sisi’s Egypt

Malmström, Maria Frederika. 2019. The Streets Are Talking to Me: Affective Fragments in Sisi’s Egypt. Oakland, California: University of California Press. One of my most powerful memories of being in Egypt during the 2011 uprisings is of hearing street battles outside my apartment building, sticking my head out the window, and feeling and hearing what […]

Edges of Exposure: Toxicology and the problem of capacity in postcolonial Senegal

Noémi Tousignant. 2018. Edges of Exposure: Toxicology and the problem of capacity in postcolonial Senegal. Durham, London: Duke University Press, pp. 224, ISBN: 978-0-8223-7124-3 Keywords: medical anthropology; STS; toxicity; West Africa; temporality. Exposure to toxic pollution and contamination in Africa has loomed large on the global imagination of the continent since the 1990s adoption of […]

Historicizing Theories, Identities, and Nations

Regna Darnell and Frederic W. Gleach, eds. 2017. Historicizing Theories, Identities, and Nations. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 300 pgs., ISBN: 978-1-4962-0268-0 Historicizing Theories, Identities, and Nations mark the 11th volume in the Histories of Anthropology Annual series. Once again, editors Regna Darnell and Frederick W. Gleach have curated a stimulating array of essays that […]

The Future of Fallout, and Other Episodes in Radioactive World-Making

Masco, Joseph. 2021. The Future of Fallout, and Other Episodes in Radioactive World-Making. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 440, ISBN 978-1-4780-1114-9. Keywords: danger, fallout, nuclear warfare, security, United States The Future of Fallout, and Other Episodes in Radioactive World-Making is a bold attempt to unravel a set of mechanisms that make contemporary crises seem […]

Engaging evil: A Moral Anthropology

William C. Olsen and Thomas J. Csordas, 2019, Engaging evil: A Moral Anthropology. Berghahn Books, 306 pp, ISBN 978-1-78920213-7 The social sciences have remained stubbornly resistant to the direct study of evil in society. According to Edwin Lemert (1997), there are at least two reasons for this. Firstly, the Abrahamic heritage of the term would […]

Identity Destabilised. Living in an Overheated World

Hylland Eriksen, Thomas and Elisabeth Schober (eds). 2016. Identity Destabilised. Living in an Overheated World. London: Pluto Press. ISBN: 978 1 7868 0004 6 Keywords: anthropological history of ideas, anthropology’s historical identity, anthropological knowledge production, reconciliation of social and natural science, building an anthropology of contemporary identity This volume consisting of fourteen chapters aims at […]

Belonging and Becoming in a Multicultural World: Refugee Youth and the Pursuit of Identity

Moran, Laura. 2020. Belonging and Becoming in a Multicultural World: Refugee Youth and the Pursuit of Identity. Rutgers University Press. Keywords: migration, multiculturalism, identity, youth, Australia. Laura Moran presents an analysis of how young migrant and refugee people in Brisbane, Australia, make and represent their identities as they seek to belong in friend groups and […]

Eating in Theory

Annemarie Mol, 2021, Eating in Theory, Durham: Duke University Press, 195 pp., ISBN 978-1-47801-292-4 Keywords: Theory, human exceptionalism, lessons, situatedness, multiplicity The recent book by the philosopher and anthropologist Annemarie Mol takes the form of an inspirational exercise of sorts. She uses exemplified stories on eating to challenge predominant philosophical ideas of the existence of […]

Fat Planet: Obesity, Culture, and Symbolic Body Capital

Eds. Eillen P. Anderson-Fye and Alexandra Brewis, 2017, Fat Planet: Obesity, Culture, and Symbolic Body Capital, Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 272 pp., ISBN  978-0-82635-800-4 Keywords: Gender studies, body image, obesity, fat stigma, body capital The central puzzle that Fat Planet resolves to address is why people would […]

The Market for Mesoamerica: Reflections on the sale of Pre-Columbian antiquities

Cara G. Tremain and Donna Yates, eds, 2019, The Market for Mesoamerica: Reflections on the sale of Pre-Columbian antiquities, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, xvi + 213 pp., ISBN 9780813056449 Keywords: antiquities, trafficking, Mesoamerica, market, law. Cara Tremain and Donna Yates’s edited volume brings antiquities trafficking in Mesoamerica back to the scholarly limelight. This almost […]

The Valkyries’ Loom: The Archaeology of Cloth Production and Female Power in the North Atlantic

Smith, Michèle Hayeur, 2020, The Valkyries’ Loom: The Archaeology of Cloth Production and Female Power in the North Atlantic, University Press of Florida, 236 pp., ISBN 9780813066622 Throughout The Valkyries’ Loom, Smith discusses how textiles (which were largely produced by women) ‘encode information’ about the societies in which they were created, particularly the Scandinavian societies […]

Against Exoticism: Toward the Transcendence of Relativism and Universalism in Anthropology

Bruce Kapferer and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos, 2016, Against Exoticism: Toward the Transcendence of Relativism and Universalism in Anthropology. Berghahn Books, 147 pp., ISBN 978-1-78533-371-2 Keywords: Exotic, exoticism, representation, ethnographic nostalgia, exoticization Against Exoticism confronts the complications of theorizing and researching the ‘exotic’ in anthropology. Bruce Kapferer and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos conceptualize the ‘exotic’ in the book as […]

Abundance: The Archaeology of Plentitude

Smith, Monica L., 2017, Abundance: The Archaeology of Plentitude, Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 261 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60732-593-2 Keywords: Economic anthropology, economic archaeology, North America, social institutions, social interactions Concepts of large-scale consumption and complex trade routes are not new entries into how anthropologists and economic historians view pre-colonial societies. However, the realm of ‘abundance’ […]

When Science Sheds Light on History

Charlier, Philippe, 2017, When Science Sheds Light on History, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 175 pp., ISBN 978-0813056548 Key Words: Forensics, paleopathology, bioarchaeology, medicine, diagnosis When Science Sheds Light on History by Philippe Charlier is an excellent example of interdisciplinary research in biological anthropology, medicine, and history. The book, while in no way intended for […]

Mobility and Migration in Ancient Mesoamerican Cities

Charlotte M. Arnauld, Christopher Beekman, Grégory Pereira, eds., 2021, Mobility and Migration in Ancient Mesoamerican Cities, Louisville: University Press of Colorado, 392 pp., ISBN 978-1-64642-072-8 KEYWORDS: Mesoamerica, population movement, archaeology, Maya, urbanization Mobility and Migration in Ancient Mesoamerican Cities should be considered a seminal work for the topic of mobility and migration studies in Mesoamerica. […]

Reconstructing Bodies: Biomedicine, health, and nation-building in South Korea since 1945

DiMoia, J. (2013). Reconstructing Bodies: Biomedicine, health, and nation-building in South Korea since 1945. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. John P. DiMoia critically assesses how medicine in Korea has historically navigated the complexities of imperialism and social change. Employing the term fragments to represent the various elements from which medical discourse in South Korea has […]

The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange: Bioarchaeological Experiences of Atypical Burials

Tracy K. Betsinger, Amy B. Scott, and Anastasia Tsaliki, eds. 2020, The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange: Bioarchaeological Experiences of Atypical Burials, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 448 pp, ISBN 978-1-68340-103-2  KEYWORDS: Atypical Burial, Bioarchaeology, Death, Sociopolitical, Biocultural What makes a burial atypical and how are they identifiable? That is the central question of […]

Fixations, Charismatic technologies and the perennial enthusiasm of techno-solutionism

Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism, by Christo Sims, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017, 232 pp., (paperback), ISBN: 9780691163994 The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop Per Child, by Morgan Ames, 328 pp., Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2019, (paperback), ISBN: 9780262537445 Keywords: techno-idealism, disruption, technology, developmentalism, education […]

Maritime Communities of the Ancient Andes

Gabriel Prieto and Daniel H. Sandweiss, eds. 2019. Maritime Communities of the Ancient Andes. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 462 pp., ISBN 13: 9780813066141 Keywords: Archaeology, Peru, Andes, Coast, Maritime Michael Moseley emphasized the importance of maritime resources to the development of social complexity in the Andean region in his theory articulated in his Maritime […]

Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now

Ialenti, Vincent. 2020. Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. KEYWORDS: Earth, deep time, future, climate emergency We live in planetary deeply troubling times, let us not pretend anything else. Dire predictions of and for the future of the Earth and us humans abound. In a recent […]

Maya Salt Works

McKillop, Heather Irene, Arlen F. Chase, and Diane Z. Chase. 2019. Maya Salt Works. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. In Maya Salt Works, Heather McKillop assembles more than a decade of archaeological research at Classic period salt works along the southern coast of Belize. She builds on her 2002 volume, Salt: White Gold of the […]

Cartographies of Youth Resistance: Hip-Hop, Punk, and Urban Autonomy in Mexico

Magaña, Maurice Rafael. 2020. Cartographies of Youth Resistance: Hip-Hop, Punk, and Urban Autonomy in Mexico. Oakland, California: University of California Press. “Cartographies of Youth Resistance” is a rare book, one that takes the reader immediately into the thick of the ethnographic action, in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. We discover Generation 2006 during its political awakening […]

The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of Monocrops

Hetherington, Kregg. 2020. The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of Monocrops. Durham: Duke University Press. Keywords: Soy cultivation, Paraguay, monoculture, activism, agribiopolitics “The soy is everywhere – you just can’t see it” (p 70). This is one of the many sentences I have underlined in my copy of this cleverly crafted book. […]

Finding Fairness: From Pleistocene Foragers to Contemporary Capitalists

Jennings, Justin. 2021. Finding Fairness: From Pleistocene Foragers to Contemporary Capitalists. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Keywords: Anthropological archaeology; biological and cultural evolution; social institutions; equality and inequality What is fairness? How did our perception of what is fair develop? How does a sense of what is fair (and what is not) define not only […]

Decolonizing Ethnography: Undocumented Immigrants and New Directions in Social Science

Alonso Bejarano, Carolina, Lucia López Juárez, Mirian A. Mijangos García, and Daniel M. Goldstein. 2019. Decolonizing Ethnography: Undocumented Immigrants and New Directions in Social Science. Durham: Duke University Press. Let us start with a perspective that takes careful note of the words “dominant anthropology—like all academic disciplines—remains part of a larger colonial project” to underline […]

The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir

Varma, Saiba. 2020. The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir. Durham: Duke University Press. Keywords: trauma, psychiatry, military occupation, humanitarian care, shock The Occupied Clinic could hardly be any timelier. Kashmir has been under siege by the Indian national government for thirty years, and its residents disenfranchised. In 2019, in part to suppress the […]

Burning at Europe’s Borders: An Ethnography on the African Migrant Experience in Morocco

Alexander-Nathani, Isabella. 2021. Burning at Europe’s Borders: An Ethnography on the African Migrant Experience in Morocco. First edition. New York: Oxford University Press. Keywords: Human Rights, Refugee Crisis, Race, Africa, European Union Burning at Europe’s Borders addresses what is now universally known as the African migrant crisis from a perspective that is not often given […]

An Inconstant Landscape: The Maya Kingdom of El Zotz, Guatemala

Garrison, Thomas G., and Stephen D. Houston. 2020. An Inconstant Landscape: The Maya Kingdom of El Zotz, Guatemala. University Press of Colorado. KEYWORDS: Classic Maya, archaeology, El Zotz, Maya Kingship, epigraphy This is an excellent book. It is a highly focused book, the text concerned solely with the Pre-Columbian archaeology of Guatemala’s Buenavista Valley. This […]

Americaville (Film)

Directed by Adam James Smith, 2020, Americaville. The Video Project. This captivating documentary is about the lived experiences of wealthy Chinese urbanites trying to escape increasingly uninhabitable Beijing due to air pollution and overcrowding. For those who are interested in China’s rapid urbanization, this documentary is an intriguing and intimate exploration of how this group […]

Disaster upon Disaster: Exploring the Gap between Knowledge, Policy, and Practice

Hoffman, Susanna M., and Roberto E. Barrios, eds. 2020. Disaster upon Disaster: Exploring the Gap between Knowledge, Policy, and Practice. First edition. New York: Berghahn Books. “Disaster upon Disaster,” a collection of essays edited by Susanna Hoffman and Roberto Barrios, examines disjunctures and gaps between anthropological knowledge and the policies and practices of states and […]

Competing Responsibilities: The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Life

Trnka, Susanna, and Catherine Trundle, eds. 2017. Competing Responsibilities: The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Life. Durham: Duke University Press. Keywords: responsibility, care, health, neoliberalism. Neoliberalism, the economic (and societal) form of governance, is widely described through one of its core mechanisms: responsibilization, the ‘divestiture of obligations from the state onto individuals,’ cultivating a self-empowered […]

Life without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay

Renfrew, Daniel. 2018. Life without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Life Without Lead examines how lead poisoning became the first environmental problem to reach mass awareness in Uruguay, a self-styled continental haven of stable, middle class, “it can’t happen here” industriousness. Factories in Montevideo began smelting lead […]

Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing

Pandian, Anand, and Stuart McLean, eds. 2017. Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing. Durham: Duke University Press. Lesley Sharp opens her book on the moralities of animal life and death in laboratory science with John Berger’s famous question that entitles his essay: “Why look at animals?” Berger’s answer to this question is: because of […]

Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human-Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science

Sharp, Lesley Alexandra. 2019. Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human-Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Lesley Sharp opens her book on the moralities of animal life and death in laboratory science with John Berger’s famous question that entitles his essay: “Why look at animals?” Berger’s answer to this question […]

The Bullish Farmer (Film)

Marsolais, Ken (Director). 2017. The Bullish Farmer (Film). Marsolais Productions. “The Bullish Farmer” is a film about ‘John Boy,’ a farmer in New York State. It focuses on John and his career choices. The audience is told that after finishing school, he worked in Wall Street as a financial investor for 12 years. Facing a crisis of […]

Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey

Açıksöz, Salih Can. 2020. Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey is a beautifully written ethnography of the everyday lives and political activism of disabled veterans of the armed conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish guerillas. The […]

Aeolian politics and the duograph

Boyer, Dominic. 2019. Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene. Durham ; London: Duke University Press. Howe, Cymene. 2019. Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene. Durham ; London: Duke University Press. Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer have crafted two eloquent accounts of the turbulent, aeolian politics that unfolded during their 16-month-long field research in Mexico’s Isthmus […]

Work and Livelihoods: History, Ethnography and Models in Times of Crisis

Narotzky, Susana, and Victoria A. Goddard, eds. 2018. Work and Livelihoods: History, Ethnography and Models in Times of Crisis. First issued paperback. Routledge Studies in Anthropology 35. New York London: Routledge. The chapters in Work and Livelihood: History, Ethnography and Models in Times of Crisis give anthropological (analytical) and ethnographic depth to understanding the effects […]

Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future (Film)

Directed by Kevin White, Wilder Than Wild: Fire, Forests and the Future. 2018. Filmmakers Collaborative Key Words: wildfire, forest, disaster, California, cultural burning Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests and the Future is a more than timely documentary. As global warming continues, wildfires are increasing in frequency and scope. Fire seasons in all continents are not only […]