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New Books in Anthropology

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Interviews with Anthropologists about their New Books

643 Episodes
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In modern times, death is understood to have undergone a transformation not unlike religion. Whereas in the past it was out in the open, it now resides mostly in specialized spaces of sequestration—funeral homes, hospitals and other medical facilities. A mainstay in so-called traditional societies in the form of ritual practices, death was usually messy but meaningful, with the questions of what happens to the dead or where they go lying at the heart of traditional culture and religion. In modernity, however, we are said to have effectively sanitized it, embalmed it and packaged it—but it seems that death is back. In the current era marked by economic, political and social uncertainty, we see it on television, on the Internet; we see it almost everywhere. In his new book, (Inter)Facing Death: Life in Global Uncertainty (Routledge, 2020), Sam Han analyzes the nexus of death and digital culture in the contemporary moment in the context of recent developments in social, cultural and political theory. It argues that death today can be thought of as "interfaced," that is mediated and expressed, in various aspects of contemporary life rather than put to the side or overcome, as many narratives of modernity have suggested. Employing concepts from anthropology, sociology, media studies and communications, (Inter)Facing Death examines diverse phenomena where death and digital culture meet, including art, online suicide pacts, the mourning of celebrity deaths, terrorist beheadings and selfies. Providing new lines of thinking about one of the oldest questions facing the human and social sciences, this book will appeal to scholars and students of social and political theory, anthropology, sociology and cultural and media studies with interests in death. Matt Coward-Gibbs is an Associate Lecturer and PhD student in Sociology at the University of York. He is the editor of the forthcoming collection Death, Culture and Leisure: Playing Dead (Emerald, 2020). You can find his university page here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Collecting Food, Collecting People: Subsistence and Society in Central Africa (Yale University Press, 2016), Kathryn M. De Luna documents the evolving meanings borne in the collection of wild foods for an agricultural people in south central Africa around the turn of the first millennium. It is a history of everyday life that bears great insight into how people adapt meaning from different aspects of life to create new forms of social organization. Specifically, her study helps explain how expertise in hunting and gathering became a basis for social status in a decentralized society. In doing so, her study upends long-standing Enlightenment notions about the evolutionary role of agricultural surplus as a driver of social complexity. De Luna is the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor at Georgetown University. Paul Bjerk is an associate professor of African History at Texas Tech University, and the author of Building a Peaceful Nation: Julius Nyerere and the Establishment of Sovereignty in Tanzania, 1960-1964 (Rochester University Press, 2015) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Michele Wakin’s new book Hobo Jungle: A Homeless Community in Paradise (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2020) is an up-close exploration of the evolution that has taken place with unsheltered homelessness. She provided an evocative portrait of a jungle encampment that has endured since the Great Depression in one of the wealthiest cities located on California’s south coast. The realities of homelessness are quite complex. For decades unhoused populations have lived in camps or other makeshift settings, even when shelters are available. Is this a chosen act of resistance? Is it an act of self-preservation? Or do homeless people live on the streets (and in the “Jungle”) because they are too addicted, too mentally ill, or too criminal to live by the rules and regulations of a shelter? Michele Wakin, Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Bridgewater State University. She is the author of Otherwise Homeless: Vehicle Living and the Culture of Homelessness. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He earned his doctoral degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Walden University. He researches place and the process of place making as it is presented in everyday social interactions. You can find more about him on his website, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst or email him at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We are schooled to believe that states formed more or less synchronously with settlement and agriculture. In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale University Press, 2017), James C. Scott asks us to question this belief. The evidence, he says, is simply not on the side of states. Stratified, taxing, walled towns did not inevitably appear in the wake of crop domestication and sedentary settlement. Only around 3100 BCE, some four millennia after the earliest farming and settling down, did they begin making their presence felt. What happened in these four millennia is the subject of this book: a deep history by “a card-carrying political scientist and an anthropologist and environmentalist by courtesy”, which aims to put the earliest states in their place. James Scott joins us for the fourth episode of New Books in Interpretive Political and Social Science to talk about state fragility and state persistence from Mesopotamia to Southeast Asia, the politics of cereal crops, domestication and reproduction, why it was once good to be a barbarian, the art of provocation, the views of critics, and, human and animal species relations and zoonoses in our epidemiological past and pandemic present. To download or stream episodes in this series please subscribe to our host channel: New Books in Political Science. Nick Cheesman is a fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University, and a committee member of the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods group. He co-hosts the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced. John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at john.weston@aalto.fi and @johnwphd. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia (University of Chicago Press, 2019) investigates the Colombian government’s campaign to turn Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. In this ethnography, Alexander L. Fattal explores the ways marketing became a tactic of counterinsurgency as a means of a humanitarian intervention, which has proven stunning and illusory. The work draws on archival research and extensive fieldwork with Colombian Ministry of Defense, former rebels, political exiles, and peace negotiators in Colombia, Sweden, and Cuba. Alex. Fattal is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of California at San Diego. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Automobiles and their associated infrastructures, deeply embedded in Western cities, have become a rapidly growing presence in the mega-cities of the Global South. Streets, once crowded with pedestrians, pushcarts, vendors, and bicyclists, are now choked with motor vehicles, many of them private automobiles. In Installing Automobility: Emerging Politics of Mobility and Streets in Indian Cities (MIT Press, 2020), Govind Gopakumar examines this shift, analyzing the phenomenon of automobility in Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore), a rapidly growing city of about ten million people in southern India. He finds that the advent of automobility in Bengaluru has privileged the mobility needs of the elite while marginalizing those of the rest of the population. Gopakumar connects Bengaluru's burgeoning automobility to the city's history and to the spatial, technological, and social interventions of a variety of urban actors. Automobility becomes a juggernaut, threatening to reorder the city to enhance automotive travel. He discusses the evolution of congestion and urban change in Bengaluru; the “regimes of congestion” that emerge to address the issue; an “infrastructurescape” that shapes the mobile behavior of all residents but is largely governed by the privileged; and the enfranchisement of an “automotive citizenship” (and the disenfranchisement of non-automobile-using publics). Gopakumar also finds that automobility in Bengaluru faces ongoing challenges from such diverse sources as waste flows, popular religiosity, and political leadership. These challenges, however, introduce messiness without upsetting automobility. He therefore calls for efforts to displace automobility that are grounded in reordering the mobility regime, relandscaping the city and its infrastructures, and reclaiming streets for other uses. Sneha Annavarapu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ashley Mears’ new book Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit (Princeton University Press, 2020) provides readers with a closer look at the global party circuit. A lifestyle that offers million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today’s New Gilded Age, the world’s moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley Mears takes readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit—from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez—to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure. Mears spent eighteen months in this world of “models and bottles” to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These “girls” enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Though they are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men’s money. A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity. Ashley Mears, Ph.D. is a Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston University. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He earned his doctoral degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Walden University. He researches place and the process of place making as it is presented in everyday life. You can learn more about his research by going to his website, following him on twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or emailing him at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the study of religion there are various camps that each approach their subjects in unique ways. Each method is shaped by particular interpretive choices, such as to be objectively neutral, experientially invested, or use scientific measures, for example. Whatever strategy one uses there is a relationship between one’s social identity and the categories shaping theoretical and methodological assumptions. This is what Christopher M. Driscoll, Assistant Professor at Lehigh University, and Monica R. Miller, Associate Professor at Lehigh University, argue in their new book Method as Identity: Manufacturing Distance in the Academic Study of Religion (Lexington, 2018). These dynamics can be witnessed when thinking about how the boundaries of methodological practice are defined in the so-called critical study of religion versus something like the study of black religion, where there is often an assumed identity-interested motivation to analysis. Driscoll and Miller produce a generative set of inquiries that require researchers to consider the role of race and social identity and how that informs their interpretive stance. In our conversation we discuss questions of the “whiteness” of certain methods, the function of the designation “black” in “black religion,” the 1958 meeting of the International Association for the History of Religions, pioneer scholar Charles Long and the Chicago school of History of Religions, the relationship between the categories race and religion, hip hop, and the productive role of writing in tension. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Few places are as politically precarious as Bangladesh, even fewer as crowded. Its 57,000 or so square miles are some of the world's most inhabited. Often described as a definitive case of the bankruptcy of postcolonial governance, it is also one of the poorest among the most densely populated nations. In spite of an overriding anxiety of exhaustion, there are a few important caveats to the familiar feelings of despair—a growing economy, and an uneven, yet robust, nationalist sentiment—which, together, generate revealing paradoxes. In her new book Paradoxes of the Popular: Crowd Politics in Bangladesh (Stanford University Press, 2019), Nusrat Sabina Chowdhury offers insight into what she calls "the paradoxes of the popular," or the constitutive contradictions of popular politics. The focus here is on mass protests, long considered the primary medium of meaningful change in this part of the world. Chowdhury writes provocatively about political life in Bangladesh in a rich ethnography that studies some of the most consequential protests of the last decade, spanning both rural and urban Bangladesh. By making the crowd its starting point and analytical locus, this book tacks between multiple sites of public political gatherings and pays attention to the ephemeral and often accidental configurations of the crowd. Ultimately, Chowdhury makes an original case for the crowd as a defining feature and a foundational force of democratic practices in South Asia and beyond. Sneha Annavarapu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How can researchers gather information quickly, for instance in the times of COVID-19? IN their new book, Rapid Ethnographic Assessments: A Practical Approach and Toolkit for Collaborative Community Research (Routledge, 2020), Thurka Sangaramoorthy and Karen Kroeger present readers with key tips for conducting rapid assessments in various situations. The book provides users with key considerations to keep in mind when conducing REAs including sampling strategies and timelines. The book also explores topics including field notes, field teams, and debriefing, alongside the importance and foci of report writing. This book is a well-laid out and clear guide for researchers and practitioners alike. Sarah E. Patterson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What is a mosque? What are women's mosques specifically? What historical values do women's mosques offer, and what is the relationship between mosque spaces and women's religious work? How do women leaders themselves identify with and conceptualize their leadership roles? Why are women's mosques around the world, both historical and contemporary, omitted from both popular and scholarly discourses on women's mosques? Jacqueline Fewkes' excellent and theoretically sophisticated book, Locating Maldivian Women's Mosques in Global Discourses (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), offers answers to these questions and more. Complete with images from Fewkes' research, the book is an ethnography of women's mosques in the Maldives, an almost unheard-of phenomenon. It situates women's prayer places, the Nisha Miskiis, the physical buildings in which women lead prayers for other women, as complex sites of sociohistorical and cultural significance. Ultimately, Fewkes explores the ways in which these spaces relate to, contribute to, and fit in larger conversations about the transnational Muslim community—the global ummah—rather than being limited to the local with no historical significance. Locating Maldivian Women's Mosques in Global Discourses may be assigned in graduate courses in Anthropology, Islamic Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, or any combination of these; it would also make an exciting and inviting read for those generally interested in questions of gendered spaces, women's religious works, and specifically in women's mosques. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. Her primary research areas include Islam, gender, and questions of change and tradition in Islam. She can be reached at haqqani_s@mercer.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Protégé of Elsie Clews Parsons and Franz Boas, founder and head of Barnard College's anthropology department, and a trailblazer in Native American linguistics and anthropology, Gladys Reichard (1893–1955) is one of America’s least appreciated anthropologists. Her accomplishments were obscured in her lifetime by differences in intellectual approach and envy, as well as academic politics and the gender realities of her age. Reichard's approach to Native languages put her at odds with Edward Sapir, leader of the structuralist movement in American linguistics. Similarly, Reichard’s focus on Native psychology as revealed to her by Native artists and storytellers produced a dramatically different style of ethnography from that of Margaret Mead, who relied on western psychological archetypes to “crack” alien cultural codes, often at a distance. Nancy Mattina's Uncommon Anthropologist: Gladys Reichard and Western Native American Culture (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019) is the first full biography of Reichard, and examines her pathbreaking work in the ethnography of ritual and mythology; Wiyot, Coeur d’Alene, and Navajo linguistics; folk art, gender, and language; and her exceptional career of teaching, editing, publishing, and mentoring. In this episode of the podcast Nancy talk to host Alex Golub about Reichard's life, her remarkable ethnography Spider Woman, her career as a teacher (including as an instructor of Zora Neale Hurston), how academic politics can erase people from disciplinary memory, and why Reichard's 'humanitarian' values are needed now more than ever. Nancy Mattina holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics and is retired faculty and founder of the Writing & Learning Commons at Prescott College, Arizona. She is a contributor to Studies in Salish Linguistics in Honor of M. Dale Kinkade. Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is the author of the article "Welcoming the New Amateurs: A future (and past) for non-academic anthropologists" as well as other books and articles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In her spellbindingly brilliant new book, Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (Stanford University Press, 2020), Maria Rashid conducts an intimate and layered ethnography of militarism and death in Pakistan, with a focus on the lives, aspirations, and tragedies of soldiers and their families in rural Punjab. How does the Pakistani military’s regulation and management of affect and emotions like grief authorize and sustain the practice of sacrificing the self in service to the nation? Rashid addresses this question through a riveting and at many times hauntingly majestic analysis of a range of themes including carefully choreographed public spectacles of mourning, military regimes of cultivating martial subjects, fissures between official scripts and unofficial unfoldings of grieving, anxieties over the representation of maimed soldiers, and ambiguities surrounding the appropriation of martyrdom (shahādat) for death on the battlefield. Theoretically incisive, ethnographically charged, and politically urgent, Dying to Serve is a landmark publication in the study of South Asia, Pakistan, and modern militarism that is destined to become a classic. It is also written with lyrical lucidity, making it an excellent text to teach in a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on modern Islam, South Asia, religion and violence, gender and masculinity, affect studies, and theories and methods in anthropology and religion. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In recent years, commodity chain analysis – the scholarly effort to piece together the production and consumption ends of various commodities – has really taken off. For goods ranging from cotton to coffee & tobacco to tea, scholars have brought cultivators and laborers into the same frame as factory workers, retailers, taste-makers, and consumers. At first glance, Mythri Jegathesan’s new book Tea & Solidarity: Tamil Women & Work in Postwar Sri Lanka (University of Washington Press, 2019) appears like yet another contribution to a burgeoning literature on the politics of tea’s supply chain. But the book, in fact, is so much more. Based on the author’s rich fieldwork conducted amongst Hill Country Tamil women living on tea plantations, the book uses feminist and decolonial methods to tell the long story of marginalization and struggle in a war-torn Sri Lanka. Hill Country Tamil women trace their descent from indentured coolies brought to Ceylon from southern India; as such, their stories have long been narrated largely as stories of victimization, of structural violence, landlessness, and dispossession. Challenging these conventional narratives, this book aims to recenter Tamil women’s long struggle for dignity on and off tea plantations by paying attention to the aspirations and labors with which they demand recognition for their work, make homes in the wake of dispossession, and desire better futures than those currently on offer. With clear, heartfelt prose, methodological imaginativeness, and careful attention to intersecting axes of power and distinction, this book not only makes essential contributions to the fields of anthropology and gender studies but also to scholars interested in South Asia, decoloniality, and ethical research methods. Aparna Gopalan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Social Anthropology at Harvard University studying the reproduction of inequality through development projects in rural western India. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What would you do if you questioned your religious faith, but revealing that would cause you to lose your family and the only way of life you had ever known? Dr. Ayala Fader explores this question in Hidden Heretics: Jewish Doubt in a Digital Age––her new book with Princeton University Press (2020). She tells the fascinating, often heart-wrenching stories of married ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and women in twenty-first-century New York who lead “double lives” in order to protect those they love. While they no longer believe that God gave the Torah to Jews at Mount Sinai, these hidden heretics continue to live in their families and religious communities, even as they surreptitiously break Jewish commandments and explore forbidden secular worlds in person and online. The internet, which some ultra-Orthodox rabbis call more threatening than the Holocaust, offers new possibilities for the age-old problem of religious uncertainty. Fader shows how digital media has become a lightning rod for contemporary struggles over authority and truth. Drawing on five years of fieldwork with those living double lives and the rabbis, life coaches, and religious therapists who minister to, advise, and sometimes excommunicate them, Fader delves into universal quandaries of faith and skepticism, the ways digital media can change us, and family frictions that arise when a person radically transforms who they are and what they believe. Dr. Ayala Fader is professor of anthropology at Fordham University investigating contemporary North American Jewish identities and languages in urban centers. She is the author of another book from Princeton University Press: Mitzvah Girls: Bringing Up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published by Routledge in 2019, Drag, Interperformance, and the Trouble with Queerness is a comparative ethnography of drag king and drag queen performances in Cleveland Ohio. It uses the concept of interperformance as a framework for identity formation and coalition building that provides strategies for repairing longstanding rifts in the LGBT community. Katie Horowitz’s Drag, Interperformance, and the Trouble with Queerness is the first book centered on queer life in this growing midwestern hub and the first to focus simultaneously on kinging and queening. It shows that despite the shared heading of drag, these iconically queer institutions diverge in terms of audience, movement vocabulary, stage persona, and treatment of gender, class, race, and sexuality. Horowitz argues that the radical (in)difference between kings and queens provides a window into the perennial rift between lesbians and gay men and challenges the assumption that all identities subsumed under the queer umbrella ought to have anything in common culturally, politically, or otherwise. Drawing on performer interviews about the purpose of drag, contestations over space, and the eventual shuttering of the bar they called home, Horowitz offers a new way of thinking about identity as a product of relations and argues that relationality is our best hope for building queer communities across lines of difference. Dr. Katie Horowitz is Assistant Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies at Davidson College. Her teaching and research areas are situated in rhetoric, gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, and American studies. Broadly, she is interested in the tensions between discursive and embodied experiences of racial, sexual, and gender identities as they emerge from "low," marginal, and underground cultures. More specifically, this has led her to study and write about pornography, abortion, drag, sex work, and queer, feminist, and transgender performance art. Dr. Isabel Machado is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Memphis. Her forthcoming book uses Carnival as a vehicle to understand social and cultural changes in Mobile, Alabama (USA) in the second half of the 20th century. Her new research project is an investigation of different generations of artists and performers who challenge gender normativity in Monterrey, Nuevo León (Mexico). She also works as an Assistant Producer for the Sexing History podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle over the Antisodomy Law in India (Duke UP, 2016), Jyoti Puri tracks the efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in India to show how the regulation of sexuality is fundamentally tied to the creation and enduring existence of the state. Since 2001 activists have attempted to rewrite Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which in addition to outlawing homosexual behavior is often used to prosecute a range of activities and groups that are considered perverse. Having interviewed activists and NGO workers throughout five metropolitan centers, investigated crime statistics and case law, visited various state institutions, and met with the police, Puri found that Section 377 is but one element of how homosexuality is regulated in India. Through a cleverly conceptualized multi-sited ethnography and rigorous historical analysis, Puri masterfully shows how the hypervisibility of Section 377 has consequences for the ways in which sexuality, and the regulation of sexuality, is imagined and reproduced in rationalities of governance.This statute works alongside the large and complex system of laws, practices, policies, and discourses intended to mitigate sexuality's threat to the social order while upholding the state as inevitable, legitimate, and indispensable. By highlighting the various means through which the regulation of sexuality constitutes India's heterogeneous and fragmented "sexual state," Puri provides a conceptual framework to understand the links between sexuality and the state more broadly. That it does so in the context of a postcolonial state like India makes the conceptual framework even more vibrant and provocative. This book is an invaluable contribution to the existing literature that delves into the paradoxes and possibilities of law, biopolitics, and state power and authority in everyday life. Sneha Annavarapu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Have you ever thought about how much energy goes into avoiding sexual violence? The work that goes into feeling safe goes largely unnoticed by the women doing it and by the wider world, and yet women and girls are the first to be blamed the inevitable times when it fails. We need to change the story on rape prevention and ‘well-meaning’ safety advice, because this makes it harder for women and girls to speak out, and hides the amount of work they are already doing trying to decipher ‘the right amount of panic’. With real-life accounts of women’s experiences, and based on the author’s original research on the impact of sexual harassment in public, this book challenges victim-blaming and highlights the need to show women as capable, powerful and skillful in their everyday resistance to harassment and sexual violence. In this interview, Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray and I discuss the fear of crime paradox, factors that contribute to fear of crime, the concept of safety work, and how we can move forward in combating sexual harassment and violence against women. I recommend this book for anyone interested in gender, victimology, women’s practices of safety work and experiences with sexual harassment and sexual violence. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about such important work. Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray, author of The Right Amount of Panic: How Women Trade Freedom for Safety (Polity Press, 2018). Dr. Vera-Gray is a researcher based at Durham University working on violence against women and girls. She has over a decade of frontline experience in sexual violence and has written widely on the topics of sexual violence, sexual harassment, women’s safety work, and sexual violence prevention. You can find her on Twitter at @VeraGrayF. Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In The Phenomenology of a Performative Knowledge System: Dancing with Native American Epistemology (Palgrave Macmillian, 2019), Shay Welch investigates the phenomenological ways that dance choreographing and dance performance exemplify both Truth and meaning-making within Native American epistemology, from an analytic philosophical perspective. Given that within Native American communities dance is regarded both as an integral cultural conduit and “a doorway to a powerful wisdom,” Welch argues that dance and dancing can both create and communicate knowledge. She explains that dance―as a form of oral, narrative storytelling―has the power to communicate knowledge of beliefs and histories, and that dance is a form of embodied narrative storytelling. Welch provides analytic clarity on how this happens, what conditions are required for it to succeed, and how dance can satisfy the relational and ethical facets of Native epistemology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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