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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Vol. 36 No. 4 (2021)
This issue of Cultural Anthropology features a Colloquy, as well as five original research articles. The Colloquy introduces the field of “Oikography,” an ethnographic method that proposes we think of housing not from the technical perspective of such institutions as the state and NGOs, but rather as a practice—“house-ing.” This focuses our attention on the fluidity of forms and materials that constitute relations of dwelling, and the dialectics (impermanence and stability, mobility and fixity, boundaries and openings) that define them. Works in this collection explore such diverse contexts as the 2010 Haitian earthquake and cholera outbreak, Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, and public health measures in Tanzania.
The research essays begin with Caroline E. Schuster’s provocative exploration of the frontier of financial capitalism and climate change. Her discussion of the emerging modes of insurance instruments that are tied to indices of climate change—in Paraguay, the levels of rainfall vital to sesame seed farming—raises intriguing questions of not only how the insurance sector has figured out a way to profit from troubled climates but also how the “weedy” conditions found literally on the ground in Paraguay complicate these efforts. In the Netherlands, Sarah Bakker Kellogg exposes the historic and theological roots of everyday and bureaucratic racialized misrecognition of Syriac Orthodox Christians as Muslim. In a sophisticated analysis, she leverages the semiotics of (Orthodox) iconicity to dissect the “sensory politics” of a Dutch “racial-religious imagination” that reproduces racial hierarchy on the “common sense” basis of ethical differentiation. Bringing together the insights of economic and visual anthropology, Emily Hong introduces the “multiply produced film” as both methodology and analytic to explore the “asymmetrical exchange” entailed by creative collaboration in filmmaking and anthropology alike. Working through the experience of making the worker-solidarity film Get By (2014), her autoethnographic insights about “cascading multivocality” raise key questions about authorship, prestige, and solidarity across U.S. American class and racial divides that are of wide relevance to doing anthropology today. Samuel Elliott Novacich’s thoughtful discussion of make-up artists and their clientele in Rio raises complex problems of how racial categories do—and do not—become embodied in everyday practice. His work shows us how narratives about race can be subtly contested in ways that, while never fully articulated, can nonetheless challenge underlying premises of racialization and the “natural” order of things in Brazil. Finally, Namita Vijay Dharia presents an important account of how thinking about corruption opens new ways of speaking about embodied urban ecologies. Her vibrant ethnographic exploration of urban expansion in Gurgaon (just outside New Dehli) demonstrates how a host of themes from caste-based inequalities to Ayurvedic understandings of metabolism shape the lived experience of climate pressures in the region.
The photo on the cover of this issue is by Torben Eskerod.
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This collection gathers five articles previously published in Cultural Anthropology, by Hayder Al-Mohammad, Kenneth George, Naveeda Khan, Arzoo Osanloo, and... More
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