Ten Treasures (and a Bonus): A Selection of Anthropological Gems You Might Have Missed from the Past Few Years

I began interviewing authors of fabulous new anthropology books for this space back in 2016. While completing 11 interviews, I also amassed a backlog of more terrific books whose authors I planned to interview. One thing led to another, and my embarrassingly accumulating backlog fell hostage to a pandemic. I’ve

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To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job: A Conversation with Daniel Jordan Smith

Daniel Jordan Smith has been conducting research in, and writing about, West Africa since 1995.     His first book, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria, was a compelling work narrating the daily experience of interrelations between morality and economy, seen from the bottom up. It won

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Irish Writers, Anthropologically Speaking: An Interview with Helena Wulff

Anthropologist Helena Wulff has been conducting research on youth culture and multiple art worlds (especially in Western Europe) for over thirty years. Wulff’s recent book, Rhythms of Writing: An Anthropology of Irish Literature (Bloomsbury, 2017), brings an anthropologist’s questions to the world of contemporary literature. In a review of her new book for

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Doing Development the Right Way: A Conversation with Charles Piot

Anthropologist Charlie Piot has been conducting research on the political economy and history of rural West Africa for over thirty years. His first book, Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa (1999), has gained wide attention for re-theorizing a classic, out-of-the-way place as existing within the modern and the global.  

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Is History Over? How Can Power be Soft? Ask Ulf Hannerz

  The end of history The clash of civilizations The coming anarchy Soft power We’ve all heard these trendy mottos, and most of us have probably cringed. Anthropologists know the world as an infinitely more complex place than such simplistic catch-phrases and predictions can possibly describe. Yet simplistic catch-phrases and

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A Review of “Euphoria” by Lily King

The novel, Euphoria, by Lily King, published in 2014, became a national best-seller and won several major literary awards.  Based loosely on a brief period in the life of Margaret Mead as she hesitated between Reo Fortune (to whom she was married) and Gregory Bateson (who the couple met while conducting

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Writing Ethnographies that Everyone Can Read

Kristen Ghodsee’s new book, From Notes to Narrative: Writing Ethnographies that Everyone Can Read, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press (in 2016). The discipline of anthropology desperately needs good writers.  Our writings are often so dense, jargon-packed, and off-putting that I sometimes fear we deserve our reputation

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