Vol. 38 No. 4 (2023)
We present five original papers in this issue.
Melding discourses on technicity, decolonial epistemology, and anthropologies of energy, Katie Ulrich analyzes the traffic between sugarcane biological growth, industry growth, and economic growth in the context of the crop’s history of colonial expansion and environmental destruction.
In his essay “The Malicious Game,” Zachary Sheldon argues that a new teahouse game called jaakaaroo helps to enfold the difficulties of the present within the nostalgic practices of teahouse sociality. In playing the game, participants create forms of solidarity that exceed binaries of hope or uncertainty.
In her compassionate and moving ethnography of the work of midwives in rural Indonesia, Catherine Smith shows how trust-building in resource-poor healthcare settings relies on an ethos of empathy and kindness that is continually attuned to the improvisational awareness and risk-taking skills of health professionals. Where trust has often been imagined as the institutional expression of a social contract or a stable fund of corporate guarantees, Smith calls our attention to the ethical liability of trust as something that must be continuously cultivated.
Ann-Christin Zuntz illustrates how refugee brokers activate spaces of business, charity, as well as exploitation based on pre-existing connections of community and immigration in Turkey and the UK, thus countering prevailing ideals around disinterested solidarity that mainstream humanitarianism pivots on. She puts forward the concept of a Syrian “infrastructure of displacement” and of refugee brokers as “human routers” that are a particular structural component in the universe of displaced communities.
By tracking the attempts of animal activists or animalistas in Ciudad Juárez to become the “voice” of injured dogs, Iván Sandoval-Cervantes tells a story of how the non-human is made to speak and transformed into an ethical subject. Thinking through the intersections between corporeality and legality, the story unpacks the ways the pragmatics of injury—the representation and mobilization of abused bodies in the public sphere—articulates politics and relations in “the most dangerous city in the world.”
Cover and table-of-contents image by Iván Sandoval-Cervantes.