Volume 5
2019

Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move

HAMLIN, REBECCA. 2021. Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, ISBN: 9781503610606 Rebecca Hamlin’s second book titled, Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move, proceeds with one central argument: the migrant/refugee binary is a legal fiction with obscuring qualities and destructive consequences […]

Destination Anthropocene: Science and Tourism in the Bahamas.

MOORE, AMELIA. 2019. Destination Anthropocene: Science and Tourism in the Bahamas. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 216 pp.; ISBN: 978-0-52029-893-4 Keywords: Anthropocene science, small islands, vulnerability, climate subjectivity, tourism. After attending a ‘Climate Change and Tourism’ workshop, an NGO worker from the Bahamas remarks to her colleague, “Isn’t it a bit ironic that they […]

Extreme Weight Loss: Life Before and After Bariatric Surgery

SARAH TRAINER, ALEXANDRA BREWIS, AMBER WUTICH, 2020. Extreme Weight Loss: Life Before and After Bariatric Surgery. New York: NYU Press, 213pp., ISBN 978-1-47985-726-5  Keywords: social norms, obesity, body-positivity, bariatric surgery, global health The past few decades have witnessed a global rise in the prevalence of obesity. The blame for these trends is often pinned on […]

Paula Uimonen. 2020. Invoking Flora Nwapa: Nigerian Women Writers, Femininity and Spirituality in World Literature. Stockholm, Stockholm University Press.

Review by Thomas Ndaluka Key words: womanism, spirituality, femininity, global literature In Invoking Flora Nwapa: Nigerian Women Writers, Femininity and Spirituality in World Literature, Paula Uimonen does not only invoke the spirit of Flora Nwapa but also carefully unravels the discursive situation of African women—dead and alive—whose literary contribution has either been long forgotten or […]

Wild Blue Media. Thinking through Seawater. 

Keywords: ocean, media, diving, cognitive estrangement, milieu-specific analysis If you have immersed yourself in underwater worlds through scuba diving, you will probably find that Luc Besson’s classic film Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue, 1988) resonates with you, reconnecting you with that exhilarating feeling of otherness. In Le Grand Bleu free-divers dive deep on one […]

Life Among Urban Planners: Practice, Professionalism, and Expertise in the Making of the City

 Jennifer Mack and Michael Herzfeld. 2020. Life Among Urban Planners: Practice, Professionalism, and Expertise in the Making of the City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN: 9780812252286 Urban planning as a future-oriented activity seeking to organize and regulate land and people is often dated back to fifth century Greece. Only far later, early in the […]

Sacred Matter: Animacy and Authority in the Americas

 2021. Sacred Matter: Animacy and Authority in the Americas. Eds. by Steve Kosiba, John Wayne Janusk, and Thomas B.D. Cummins. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Washington D.C., 474 pg, ISBN 9780884024668 This volume explores objects, ontologies, and authority in indigenous and Pre-Columbian America. Originating as a 2016 Dumbarton Oaks conference, the contributions are by […]

The Historical Turn in Southeastern Archaeology

ROBBIE ETHRIDGE AND ERIC E. BOWNE, 2020, The Historical Turn in Southeastern Archaeology, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 258 pp., ISBN 9781683401629. Keywords: historical archaeology, prehistory, post-colonial studies, Native American history, Southeastern U.S. Ethridge and Bowne’s edited volume explores the historicization of Southeastern archaeology to decolonize old-fashioned Western accounts of the North American deep past […]

Plastic Matter

Davis, Heather M. 2022. Plastic Matter. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 176, ISBN 978-1-4780-1775-2 In Uruguay, milk comes in polyethylene sachets. It wasn’t always thus: glass bottles were the standard fare for most dairy producers, including the much-loved national dairy cooperative CONAPROLE, until the 1990s. The switch to plastic was arrived at after a long […]

The Anthropology Book Forum is awarded the GAD New Directions Award

 The Anthropology Book Forum has been awarded the 2022 New Directions Award (group category), presented by the General Anthropology Division, a sub-section of the American Anthropological Association. The New Direction award recognizes work that presents anthropological perspectives to publics beyond the academy across diverse forms of media, with methodological rigor and ethical engagement. The ABF […]

The Agricultural Dilemma: How Not to Feed the World

Stone, Glenn, Davis. The Agricultural Dilemma. 1st edition. New York, NY: Routledge, 2022. Since the mid-19th century (Stone pegs the key year as 1840), a nexus of self-serving scientists, government, and industry have embraced a neo-Malthusian mantra that the only way to prevent starvation in the face of a rising global population is by industrializing […]

Early Human Life on the Southeastern Coastal Plain

Edited by Albert C. Goodyear and Christopher R. Moore. 2018. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 434 pp. ISBN 9781683400622 Albert Goodyear and Christopher Moore’s edited volume compiles the most up-to-date paleoclimatic and archaeological research on the prehistoric Southeastern Coastal Plain of the United States. The fifteen essays review the available archaeological record to shed light […]

Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible

Arturo Escobar, 2020, Durham: Duke University Press. Keywords: ontology, modernity, Latin America, pluriverse, transition Arturo Escobar makes a clear and striking case that we are at a civilisational impasse, where modernity operates to structure our thought and action in a way that causes planetary devastation and precludes and strangles alternative ways of living, dismissing them as […]

The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities

Alagona, Peter S. The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities. University of California Press. ISBN: 9780520386310 What does it mean to be a ‘good’ urban animal? Is there a coexistence code of conduct that one has to learn? Since animals can’t read municipal or homeowners’ associations’ notices, how can the rules of the […]

Embracing Age: How Catholic Nuns Became Models of Aging Well

ANNA I. CORWIN, 2021, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 180 pp., ISBN 978-1-9788-2227-6 Keywords: aging, religion, death, language, well-being Embracing Age is a masterful ethnography of convent life illuminating the linguistic, psychological, and cultural processes that shape the late-life experiences of Franciscan sisters in the American Midwest. It is a 188-page, soft-cover volume in the […]

Borders as Infrastructure: The Technopolitics of Border Control

Hub Dijstelbloem, 2021, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 285pp., ISBN 9780262542883. Being born and brought up in a family of 1947 India-Pakistan Partition survivors, I have always been curious about borders, their existence, manifestations, shapes, and workings. The exodus in the wake of the fracture of India and Pakistan took place across proposed (invisible) colonial borders […]

Stories That Make History: Mexico through Elena Poniatowska’s Crónicas

Stephen, Lynn. Stories That Make History: Mexico through Elena Poniatowska’s Crónicas.  Durham, Duke University Press, 2021. 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4780-1464-5 Born in Paris, France in 1932, Poniatowska came to Mexico with her family during the Second World War. In 1953, after attending school in the United States, she was hired by the Excélsior newspaper in […]

The Best of Hard Times: Palestinian Refugee Masculinities in Lebanon

Gustavo Barbosa, 2022, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 329 pp., ISBN 978-0-8156-5524-4. Keywords: Gender, Palestinians, Lebanon, Youth, Anthropology Both Gustavo Barbosa and I, as non-native speakers of Arabic educated in the Western liberal tradition, have dedicated portions of our scholarly inquiries to gender and agency, as concepts, lived experiences, words, and metonyms that link […]

Atmospheric Noise: The Indefinite Urbanism of Los Angeles

Marina Peterson, 2021, Durham and London: Duke University Press, pp. 256, ISBN: 978-1-4780-1182-8 Atmospheric Noise, by Marina Peterson, is a well-written and clever contribution to the vast literature that takes a sensuous approach to understand the world around us, human and nonhuman (cf. van Ede 2009; Pink 2015, 2021). If Eduardo Kohn (2013) uses signs […]

Le sel, une roche sédimentaire cultivée au Sénégal: Focus sur les mutations socio-spatiales de l’axe Kaolack-Mbirkilane [Salt, a sedimentary rock cultivated in Senegal]

Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Faye, 2021, l’Harmattan, pp. 315, ISBN 978-2-343-24980-3 Keywords: environmental anthropology, climate change, the production of space, social change, salt farming Senegal is the largest salt producer in West Africa, mining nearly half a million tons each year. Small-scale harvesters are responsible for about a third of all production in rural inland and […]

The Archaeology of Southeastern Native American Landscapes of the Colonial Era

Charles Cobb, 2019, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 286 pp. ISBN 978-0-8130-6619-6 Key Words: Landscape, Southeast, Colonialism, Glocal, Native American. Landscape has been a significant field of research in anthropology since the 1990s. Scholars have explored the significance of place and space, the social uses of natural environments, the demographic motility and coalescence across regions, […]

Ethical approaches to human remains: A global challenge in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology

Edited by Kirsty Squires, David Errickson and Nicholas Márquez-Grant, 2019, Springer, 649 pp, ISBN 978-3-030-32925-9  Keywords: Ethics in Biological and Physical Anthropology, Ethics in Forensic Anthropology, Treatment of Human Remains, Repatriation of Human Remains, Multidisciplinary Amongst sciences that study the human body, anthropology has a critical and dark history surrounding the treatment of human remains. […]

Constructions of Time and History in the Pre-Columbian Andes

Edited by Edward Swenson and Andrew Roddick, 2018, University Press of Colorado. Louisville: University Press of Colorado, 288 pp, ISBN: 978-1-607326410. In northern Colombia, Kaggaba (Kogi) priests (mamas) turn back the Sun at the solstices and equinoxes, a cosmic effort that involves extensive training and engagement with ritual and time. At the opposite end of the […]

Stuck with Tourism: Space, Power and Labor in Contemporary Yucatán

Madilde Córdoba Azcárate, 2020, Oakland: University of California Press, 278 pp. ISBN 978-0-520-34449-5 Matilde Córdoba Azcárate’s Stuck with Tourism powerfully details the predatory nature of tourism industry development. Through a careful examination of four interrelated case histories from Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the author relates how “tourism works according to a typical extractive logic, by which […]

Towards an Anthropology of Data

Edited by Rachel Douglas-Jones, Antonia Alford, & Nick Seaver, 2021, Chichester: Wiley/RAI, pp. 180, ISBN 978-1-119-81676-8. Keywords: data practices, datafication, ethnography, methodology, theory  The past years have seen a surge in anthropological studies of data. For someone who is relatively new to the topic, Rachel Douglas-Jones, Antonia Walford and Nick Seaver’s edited collection, Towards an anthropology […]

There’s a Disco Ball Between Us: A Theory of Black Gay Life

JAFARI S. ALLEN, 2021, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 448 pp., ISBN: 978-1-4780-2189-6 Keywords: Black gay life, Black history, queer history, Blackfullness, blackness In his recent book, There’s a Disco Ball Between Us, Jafari S. Allen presents a history of what he names “Black gay habits of mind.” Despite moving between various places around […]

Taxis vs. Uber: Courts, Markets, and Technology in Buenos Aires

JUAN M. DEL NIDO, 2022, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 238 pp., ISBN 9781503629677 Keywords: Uber, taxicab industry, Buenos Aires, rhetoric, consumption Juan M. del Nido’s Taxis vs. Uber takes as its subject the conflict between the taxi industry, Uber, the judicial system, and the middle classes that supported Uber’s arrival in Buenos Aires in 2016. […]

Dark Finance: Illiquidity and Authoritarianism at the Margins of Europe

Mattioli, Fabio. 2020, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Keywords: financialization; European periphery; authoritarianism; illiquidity; economy of predation. Dark Finance explores processes of financial expansion in North Macedonia, materialized by Skopje 2014, the ten-year urban growth plan centered on the capital city and Nikola Gruevski’s authoritarian government (the country’s prime minister from 2006 to 2016 – exiled […]

The Archaeology of Magic: Gender and Domestic Protection in Seventeenth-Century New England

Riley Augé, 2020, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 304 pp., ISBN 978-0-81306-611-0. Keywords: magic, apotropaic practices, religion, gender, Puritans Ritual and magic have long been subjects of anthropological fascination, though while extensively explored in historical studies (especially regarding the consequences of witchcraft), archaeological inquiry with such a specific focus is rare. C. Riley Augé’s present […]

Pollution Is Colonialism

M. Liboiron, 2021, Durham and London: Duke University Press. So, I ask of you, Reader, how do we write and read together with humility, keeping the specificity of relations in mind? How do we recognize that our writing and reading come out of different places, connections, obligations, and even different worldviews, and still write and read […]

Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia

Karen Strassler, 2020, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Keywords: images; Indonesia; public politics; democracy; image politics; authenticity. Karen Strassler’s book Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia engages with the role played by images in the political public sphere and the dynamics unfolding around these in contemporary Indonesia. Its focus lies on the first […]

Maya Gods of War

KAREN BASSIE-SWEET, 2021, Louisville: University Press of Colorado, 340 pp., ISBN: 978-1646421312. Religious syncretism, in a Latin American context, usually refers to the Colonial period and the imposition of Old World deities on native belief systems. Yet the idea of comingled religions is not limited to colonial settings. The concept can be applied, with great effect, […]

Adverse Events: Race, Inequality, and the Testing of New Pharmaceuticals

JILL A. FISHER, 2020, New York: New York University Press, 317 pp., ISBN  978-1-4798-6216-0 Adverse Events is the product of over a decade of research, incorporating challenging ethnographic field work with theoretical considerations. At its core, it is a book about social inequality in a disconcerting place. The book is divided into nine chapters, an […]

Living with Concepts: Anthropology in the Grip of Reality

Edited by Andrew Brandel & Marco Motta. 2021. New York: Fordham University Press, 338 pp., ISBN: 978-0-82329-427-5 Anthropology has one of its contours in dealing with how humans use and embody concepts in their social reality. Joel Robbins (2020) argues that even though anthropologists are mindful of where their concepts are coming from, anthropology did […]

Stop Filming Us (Film)

JORIS POSTEMA (Director), 2021, 95 minutes. Link: https://www.videoproject.org/stop-filming-us.html Joris Postma’s “Stop Filming Us,” highlights two key media: film making and photography in Goma, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. As a film maker he wants to show the positive side of Goma, “despite the chaos,” going back to Goma after 10 years […]

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 […]