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Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology publishes ethnographic writing informed by a wide array of theoretical perspectives, innovative in form and content, and focused on both traditional and emerging topics. It also welcomes essays concerned with ethnographic methods and research design in historical perspective, and with ways cultural analysis can address broader public audiences and interests.

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Five original research articles are presented in this issue. Jean Hunleth develops the concept of imaginal caring, drawing on her work with Zambian children. These children live with household members suffering from tuberculosis and HIV, elaborating imaginative stories and drawings that represent efforts to provide care for others, despite their constrained social positions. Molly Hales presents a kind of digital ethnography. She considers processes and theories of animation in order to explore the ways that mourners experience the recently deceased, discovering, recording, and thereby constituting their presence and ongoing capacity for relationship. Jason Danely offers a close reading of an ethnographic moment, focusing on an urban community’s speculation about a lonely death that precipitates discussions about dwelling, locality, and care in contemporary Japan. His work shows that public concern about such unmediated loss raises questions about how to ethically dwell with one another, and how the prospect of unmet obligations haunts households and neighborhoods. The modernity of witchcraft is reexamined in Samuel Mark Anderson’s exploration of post–civil war Sierra Leone. Anderson describes a context in which visually spectacular demonstrations of potency, authority, and efficacy can be traced through a series of efforts to enact governance, efforts that draw on epistemologies and practices of the occult as well as neoliberal global orders. Finally, Robert Samet discusses the punitive turn in Venezuela, showing that appeals to the public as victims who have been subjected to a series of wrongs are the grounds on which democracy is being reformulated in populist terms. Such efforts to dehumanize and punish the disenfranchised poses serious challenges to recognition and reform in political action.

The photo on the cover of this issue is by Marco Antonio Bello, and appears courtesy of the Esperanza Venezuela Foundation.

Curated Collections

Sovereignty

Sovereignty

After the words “America” and “United States,” President Donald Trump mentioned sovereignty more than any other topic in his speech to the United Nations General... More

Precarity

Precarity

Precarity is an emerging abandonment that pushes us away from a livable life. In a growing body of scholarship centered on social marginalization, the concept of precarity has... More

Reclaiming Hope

Reclaiming Hope

Has hope become a word that betrays you? In an escalating “war on words” (van Eekelen et al. 2004, 1), has hope bulldozed over our dreams? During the 2008 U.S.... More

Everyday Islam

Everyday Islam

This collection gathers five articles previously published in Cultural Anthropology, by Naveeda Khan, Hayder Al-Mohammad, Carolyn Rouse and Janet Hoskins,... More