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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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Our third issue of 2022 offers a wide range of perspectives examining an array of problems. While we like to think of this as a hallmark of Cultural Anthropology, this issue poses a critically reflexive discussion of diversity itself, suggesting new frameworks and innovative collaborative prospects. This reflexivity is central to the Colloquy, “(Re)Writing Anthropology and Raising Our Voices from the Academic Margins.” The authors in this challenging collection consider the ways that anthropological knowledge is (re)produced in Minority Serving Institutions, HBCUs, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and point towards the possibility and practice of reimagining the hegemonies of the discipline. In “The Struggle for Health,” Matthew Abel revisits the relationship between medicine and the aviamento, a system of debt-peonage that organized access to health resources in the Brazilian Amazon in earlier centuries, to consider medicine’s relationship to political power beyond the frame of biopolitics and to demonstrate ethnographically that access to medicine in the Brazilian Amazon continues to be organized within a political system of patronage and exchange. Charles H. P. Zuckerman’s “When Ethics Can’t Be Found” continues the theme of reflexivity that runs through this issue. In his meticulous ethnography of Laotian funerary practice, the author offers a thoughtful and original critique of the forms of evaluation that underwrite the anthropology of ethics as well as the routine practices of everyday life. In her finely observed essay, Svetlana Borodina reports on the possibilities and limitations of blind activists' efforts to promote “real" disability inclusion in Yekaterinburg, Russia, by offering non disabled people training in what she names “intercorporeal togetherness,” a reflexive disposition toward corporeal commensurability across significant differences. In “Governing by Proximity,” Natasha Raheja presents a powerful analysis of the quotidian dimensions of power. Her creative exploration of the practical and affective construction of space and time offers new understandings of sovereignty and political action. Jerry K. Jacka presents a gripping account of some long-standing anthropological concerns—reciprocity in exchange relations and the transformations wrought by extractive economies—and demonstrates their relevance for the affective character of place and of more-than-human encounters in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. His close attention to the temporal dimensions of spatial relations provides a thoughtful contribution to conversations on affect and sociality. Finally, Camilo Leon-Quijano offers further reflexive consideration on anthropological forms of representation. His disquisition on what constitutes a “good picture” demonstrates the inextricable entanglement of aesthetic, ethical, and deeply political engagement in the methodological practices of photography.

The photo on the cover of this issue is by Camilo Leon-Quijano.

 

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 Assembly... 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 Hayder Al-Mohammad, Kenneth George, Naveeda Khan, Arzoo Osanloo, and... More

Affect, Embodiment, and Sense Perception

Affect, Embodiment, and Sense Perception

Recent trends in social theory have placed great importance on affect for both analytic and political reasons, but the term is somewhat vague and ambiguous.... More