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Preview: University of Chicago Press: New Titles in Anthropology

University of Chicago Press: New Titles in Anthropology: General Anthropology



The latest new books in Anthropology: General Anthropology



Published: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

 



Researching Sex and Sexualities

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

Sexuality is a complex and multifaceted domain, encompassing bodily, cultural, and subjective experiences that resist easy categorization. To claim the sexual as a viable research object therefore raises a number of important methodological questions: What is it possible to know about experiences, practices, and perceptions of sex and sexualities? What approaches might help or hinder our efforts to probe such experiences? This collection explores the creative, personal, and contextual parameters involved in researching sexuality, cutting across disciplinary boundaries and drawing on case studies from a variety of countries and contexts. Representing a wide range of expertise, its contributors address such key areas as pornography, sex work, intersectionality, and LGBT perspectives. The contributors also share their own experiences of researching sexuality within contrasting disciplines, as well as interrogating how the sexual identities of researchers themselves can relate to, and inform, their work. The result is a unique and diverse collection that combines practical insights on field work with novel theoretical reflections.


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What the Foucault?

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

This is the long-awaited fifth edition of Marshall Sahlins’ classic series of bon mots, ruminations, and musings on the ancients, anthropology, and much else in between. It’s been twenty-five years since Sahlins first devised some after-dinner entertainment at a decennial meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists in Great Britain, published soon thereafter by Prickly Paradigm’s first incarnation, Prickly Pear. What the Foucault? contains all the old chestnuts, but has been thoroughly updated, and is laced through with all the wit and wisdom we’ve come to expect.


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Stories of Capitalism

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

The financial crisis and the recession that followed caught many people off guard, including experts in the financial sector whose jobs involve predicting market fluctuations. Financial analysis offices in most international banks are supposed to forecast the rise or fall of stock prices, the success or failure of investment products, and even the growth or decline of entire national economies. And yet their predictions are heavily disputed. How do they make their forecasts—and do those forecasts have any actual value?   Building on recent developments in the social studies of finance, Stories of Capitalism provides the first ethnography of financial analysis. Drawing on two years of fieldwork in a Swiss bank, Stefan Leins argues that financial analysts construct stories of possible economic futures, presenting them as coherent and grounded in expert research and analysis. In so doing, they establish a role for themselves—not necessarily by laying bare empirically verifiable trends but rather by presenting the market as something that makes sense and is worth investing in. Stories of Capitalism is a nuanced look at how banks continue to boost investment—even in unstable markets—and a rare insider’s look into the often opaque financial practices that shape the global economy.


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Worldviews of the Greenlanders

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

Ninety years ago, Knud Rasmussen’s popular account of his scientific expeditions through Greenland and North America introduced readers to the culture and history of arctic Natives. In the intervening century, a robust field of ethnographic research has grown around the Inuit and Yupiit of North America—but, until now, English-language readers have had little access to the broad corpus of work on Greenlandic natives. Worldviews of the Greenlanders draws upon extensive Danish and Greenlandic research on Inuit arctic peoples—as well as Birgitte Sonne’s own decades of scholarship and fieldwork—to present in rich detail the key symbols and traditional beliefs of Greenlandic Natives, as well as the changes brought about by contact with colonial traders and Christian missionaries. It includes critical updates to our knowledge of the Greenlanders’ pre-colonial world and their ideas on space, time, and other worldly beings. This expansive work will be a touchstone of Arctic Native studies for academics who wish to expand their knowledge past the boundaries of North America.


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From Hospitality to Grace

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

The Pitt-Rivers Omnibus brings together the definitive essays and lectures of the influential social anthropologist Julian A. Pitt-Rivers, a corpus of work that has, until now, remained scattered, untranslated, and unedited. Illuminating the themes and topics that he engaged throughout his life—including hospitality, grace, the symbolic economy of reciprocity, kinship, the paradoxes of friendship, ritual logics, the anthropology of dress, and more—this omnibus brings his reflections to new life.             Holding Pitt-Rivers’s diversity of subjects and ethnographic foci in the same gaze, this book reveals a theoretical unity that ran through his work and highlights his iconic wit and brilliance. Striking at the heart of anthropological theory, the pieces here explore the relationship between the mental and the material, between what is thought and what is done. Classic, definitive, and yet still extraordinarily relevant for contemporary anthropology, Pitt-Rivers’s lifetime contribution will provide a new generation of anthropologists with an invaluable resource for reflection on both ethnographic and theoretical issues. 


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Owners of Kinship

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

The Owners of Kinship investigates how kinship in Indigenous Amazonia is derived from the asymmetrical relation between an “owner” and his or her dependents. Through a comprehensive ethnography of the Kanamari, Luiz Costa shows how this relationship is centered around the bond created between the feeder and the fed.    Building on anthropological studies of the acquisition, distribution, and consumption of food and its role in establishing relations of asymmetrical mutuality and kinship, this book breaks theoretical ground for studies in Amazonia and beyond. By investigating how the feeding relation traverses Kanamari society—from the relation between women and the pets they raise, shaman and familiar spirit, mother and child, chiefs and followers, to those between the Brazilian state and the Kanamari—The Owners of Kinship reveals how the mutuality of kinship is determined by the asymmetry of ownership.


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On Kings

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

In anthropology as much as in popular imagination, kings are figures of fascination and intrigue, heroes or tyrants in ways presidents and prime ministers can never be. This collection of essays by two of the world’s most distinguished anthropologists—David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins—explores what kingship actually is, historically and anthropologically. As they show, kings are symbols for more than just sovereignty: indeed, the study of kingship offers a unique window into fundamental dilemmas concerning the very nature of power, meaning, and the human condition.             Reflecting on issues such as temporality, alterity, piracy, and utopia—not to mention the divine, the strange, the numinous, and the bestial—Graeber and Sahlins explore the role of kings as they have existed around the world, from the BaKongo to the Aztec to the Shilluk and beyond. Richly delivered with the wit and sharp analysis characteristic of Graeber and Sahlins, this book opens up new avenues for the anthropological study of this fascinating and ubiquitous political figure. 


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Passing

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Tijuana is the largest of Mexico’s northern border cities, and although it has struggled during the United States’ dramatic escalation of border enforcement, it nonetheless remains deeply connected with California by one of the largest, busiest international ports of entry in the world. In Passing, Rihan Yeh probes the border’s role in shaping Mexican senses of self and collectivity. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, Yeh examines a range of ethnographic evidence: public demonstrations, internet forums, popular music, dinner table discussions, police encounters, workplace banter, intensely personal interviews, and more.  Through these everyday exchanges, she shows how the promise of passage and the threat of prohibition shape Tijuana’s communal sense of “we” and throw into relief long-standing divisions of class and citizenship in Mexico.   Out of the nitty-gritty of quotidian talk and interaction in Tijuana, Yeh captures the dynamics of desire and denial that permeate public spheres in our age of transnational crossings and fortified borders. Original and accessible, Passing is a timely work in light of current fierce debates over immigration, Latin American citizenship, and the US-Mexico border.


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Songs for Dead Parents

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

In a society that has seen epochal change over a few generations, what remains to hold people together and offer them a sense of continuity and meaning? In Songs for Dead Parents, Erik Mueggler shows how in contemporary China death and the practices surrounding it have become central to maintaining a connection with the world of ancestors, ghosts, and spirits that socialism explicitly disavowed.   Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork in a mountain community in Yunnan Province, Songs for Dead Parents shows how people view the dead as both material and immaterial, as effigies replace corpses, tombstones replace effigies, and texts eventually replace tombstones in a long process of disentangling the dead from the shared world of matter and memory. It is through these processes that people envision the cosmological underpinnings of the world and assess the social relations that make up their community. Thus, state interventions aimed at reforming death practices have been deeply consequential, and Mueggler traces the transformations they have wrought and their lasting effects.


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Magic's Reason

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

In Magic’s Reason, Graham M. Jones tells the entwined stories of anthropology and entertainment magic. The two pursuits are not as separate as they may seem at first. As Jones shows, they not only matured around the same time, but they also shared mutually reinforcing stances toward modernity and rationality. It is no historical accident, for example, that colonial ethnographers drew analogies between Western magicians and native ritual performers, who, in their view, hoodwinked gullible people into believing their sleight of hand was divine. Using French magicians’ engagements with North African ritual performers as a case study, Jones shows how magic became enshrined in anthropological reasoning. Acknowledging the residue of magic’s colonial origins doesn’t require us to dispense with it. Rather, through this radical reassessment of classic anthropological ideas, Magic’s Reason develops a new perspective on the promise and peril of cross-cultural comparison. 


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Oduduwa's Chain

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Yoruba culture has been a part of the Americas for centuries, brought from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade and maintained in various forms ever since. In Oduduwa’s Chain, Andrew Apter explores a wide range of fascinating historical and ethnographic examples and offers a provocative rethinking of African heritage in Black Atlantic Studies.   Focusing on Yoruba history and culture in Nigeria, Apter applies a generative model of cultural revision that allows him to identify formative Yoruba influences without resorting to the idea that culture and tradition are fixed. For example, Apter shows how the association of African gods with Catholic saints can be seen as a strategy of empowerment, explores historical locations of Yoruba gender ideologies and their variations in the Atlantic world, and much more. He concludes with a rousing call for a return to Africa in studies of the Black Atlantic, resurrecting a critical notion of culture that allows us to transcend Western inventions of African while taking them into account.


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Dream Trippers

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Over the past few decades, Daoism has become a recognizable part of Western “alternative” spiritual life. Now, that Westernized version of Daoism is going full circle, traveling back from America and Europe to influence Daoism in China.  Dream Trippers draws on more than a decade of ethnographic work with Daoist monks and Western seekers to trace the spread of Westernized Daoism in contemporary China. David A. Palmer and Elijah Siegler take us into the daily life of the monastic community atop the mountain of Huashan and explore its relationship to the socialist state. They follow the international circuit of Daoist "energy tourism," which connects a number of sites throughout China, and examine the controversies around Western scholars who become practitioners and promoters of Daoism. Throughout are lively portrayals of encounters among the book’s various characters—Chinese hermits and monks, Western seekers, and scholar-practitioners—as they interact with each other in obtuse, often humorous, and yet sometimes enlightening and transformative ways. Dream Trippers untangles the anxieties, confusions, and ambiguities that arise as Chinese and American practitioners balance cosmological attunement and radical spiritual individualism in their search for authenticity in a globalized world.


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To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Refrains about financial hardship are ubiquitous in contemporary Nigeria, frequently expressed through the idiom “to be a man is not a one-day job.” But while men talk constantly about money, underlying their economic worries are broader concerns about the shifting meanings of masculinity, amid changing expectations and practices of intimacy.   Drawing on twenty-five years of experience in southeastern Nigeria, Daniel Jordan Smith takes readers through the principal phases and arenas of men’s lives: the transition to adulthood; searching for work and making a living; courtship, marriage, and fatherhood; fraternal and political relationships; and finally, the attainment of elder status and death. He relates men’s struggles both to fulfill their own aspirations and to meet society’s expectations. He also considers men who behave badly, mistreat their wives and children, or resort to crime and violence. All of these men face similar challenges as they navigate the complex geometry of money and intimacy. Unraveling these connections, Smith argues, provides us with a deeper understanding of both masculinity and society in Nigeria. 


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Private Oceans

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

As the era of thriving small-scale fishing communities continues to wane, Fiona McCormack opens a window into contemporary fisheries quota systems and explores how neoliberalism has become entangled with our approach to environmental management. Grounded in fieldwork and participant observation in New Zealand, Iceland, Ireland, and Hawaii, Private Oceans offers a comparative analysis of the processes of privatization in ecosystem services and traces how value has been repositioned in the market away from productive activities, ultimately causing broad collapse of fishing communities worldwide.  


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Quantum Anthropology

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Quantum Anthropology offers a fresh look at humans, cultures, and societies that builds on advances in the fields of quantum mechanics, quantum philosophy, and quantum consciousness. Radek Trnka and Radmila Lorencová have developed an inspiring theoretical framework that transcends the boundaries of individual disciplines, and in this book they draw on philosophy, psychology, sociology, and consciousness studies to redefine contemporary sociocultural anthropological theory. Quantum anthropology, they argue, is a promising new perspective for the study of humanity that takes into account the quantum nature of our reality. This meta-ontology offers novel pathways for exploring the basic categories of our species’ being.


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Ways of Baloma

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Bronislaw Malinowski’s path-breaking research in the Trobriand Islands shaped much of modern anthropology’s disciplinary paradigm. Yet many conundrums remain. For example, Malinowski asserted that baloma spirits of the dead were responsible for procreation but had limited influence on their living descendants in magic and other matters, claims largely unchallenged by subsequent field investigators, until now. Based on extended fieldwork at Omarakana village—home of the Tabalu “Paramount Chief”—Mark S. Mosko argues instead that these and virtually all contexts of indigenous sociality are conceived as sacrificial reciprocities between the mirror worlds that baloma and humans inhabit.    Informed by a synthesis of Strathern’s model of “dividual personhood” and Lévy-Bruhl’s theory of “participation,” Mosko upends a century of discussion and debate extending from Malinowski to anthropology’s other leading thinkers. His account of the intimate interdependencies of humans and spirits in the cosmic generation and coordination of “life” (momova) and “death” (kaliga) strikes at the nexus of anthropology’s received wisdom, and Ways of Baloma will inevitably lead practitioners and students to reflect anew on the discipline’s multifold theories of personhood, ritual agency, and sociality.


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Dark Matter of the Mind

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Is it in our nature to be altruistic, or evil, to make art, use tools, or create language? Is it in our nature to think in any particular way? For Daniel L. Everett, the answer is a resounding no: it isn’t in our nature to do any of these things because human nature does not exist—at least not as we usually think of it. Flying in the face of major trends in Evolutionary Psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument in this book that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts.             Everett sketches a blank-slate picture of human cognition that focuses not on what is in the mind but, rather, what the mind is in—namely, culture. He draws on years of field research among the Amazonian people of the Pirahã in order to carefully scrutinize various theories of cognitive instinct, including Noam Chomsky’s foundational concept of universal grammar, Freud’s notions of unconscious forces, Adolf Bastian’s psychic unity of mankind, and works on massive modularity by evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Jerry Fodor, and Steven Pinker. Illuminating unique characteristics of the Pirahã language, he demonstrates just how differently various cultures can make us think and how vital culture is to our cognitive flexibility. Outlining the ways culture and individual psychology operate symbiotically, he posits a Buddhist-like conception of the cultural self as a set of experiences united by various apperceptions, episodic memories, ranked values, knowledge structures, and social roles—and not, in any shape or form, biological instinct. The result is fascinating portrait of the “dark matter of the mind,” one that shows that our greatest evolutionary adaptation is adaptability itself.  


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