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New Books in Anthropology

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Interviews with Anthropologists about their New Books

671 Episodes
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Ismael Garcia-Colon, Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms (University of California Press, 2020) is the first in-depth look at the experiences of Puerto Rican migrant workers in continental U.S. agriculture in the twentieth century. The Farm Labor Program, established by the government of Puerto Rico in 1947, placed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers on U.S. farms and fostered the emergence of many stateside Puerto Rican communities. Ismael Garcia-Colon investigates the origins and development of this program and uncovers the unique challenges faced by its participants. A labor history and an ethnography, Colonial Migrants evokes the violence, fieldwork, food, lodging, surveillance, and coercion that these workers experienced on farms and conveys their hopes and struggles to overcome poverty. Island farmworkers encountered a unique form of prejudice and racism arising from their dual status as both U.S. citizens and as “foreign others,” and their experiences were further shaped by evolving immigration policies. Despite these challenges, many Puerto Rican farmworkers ultimately chose to settle in rural U.S. communities, contributing to the production of food and the Latinization of the U.S. farm labor force. Beth A. English is director of the Liechtenstein Institute’s Project on Gender in the Global Community at Princeton University. She also is a past president of the Southern Labor History Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Food In Cuba: The Pursuit of a Decent Meal (Stanford University Press, 2020), Hanna Garth examines the processes of acquiring food and preparing meals in the midst of food shortages. Garth draws our attention to the social, cultural, and historical factors Cuban’s draw upon to define an appropriate or decent meal and the struggle they undergo to produce a decent meal. Often, studies of food security overlook the process of acquiring food, which Garth demonstrates as a critical locus for understanding food access. Garth focuses on a variety of households, families, and individuals in Santiago, Cuba at different class levels and household compositions in order to show the gendered, racial, economic, social, and moral dimensions of how Cubans navigate their food landscapes and attempt to create culturally appropriate meals.  In so doing, she argues for the centrality of how local people determine their food system to be adequate. The book would be of interest to the areas of anthropology, particularly medical anthropology, food studies, Latin American Studies, Cuban studies, and studies of socialism and post-socialism.   Hanna Garth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at The University of California, San Diego.   Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon (University of Michigan Press, 2019) illuminates how issues of ideal womanhood shaped the Anglophone Cameroonian nationalist movement in the first decade of independence in Cameroon, a west-central African country. Drawing upon history, political science, gender studies, and feminist epistemologies, the book examines how formally educated women sought to protect the cultural values and the self-determination of the Anglophone Cameroonian state as Francophone Cameroon prepared to dismantle the federal republic. The book defines and uses the concept of embodied nationalism to illustrate the political importance of women’s everyday behavior—the clothes they wore, the foods they cooked, whether they gossiped, and their deference to their husbands. The result, in this fascinating approach, reveals that West Cameroon, which included English-speaking areas, was a progressive and autonomous nation. The author’s sources include oral interviews and archival records such as women’s newspaper advice columns, Cameroon’s first cooking book, and the first novel published by an Anglophone Cameroonian woman. Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué is an Assistant Professor of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book was awarded the 2020 Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize from the Western Association of Women Historians. Madina Thiam is a PhD candidate in History at UCLA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Classes of Labour: Work and Life in a Central Indian Steel Town (Routledge, 2020) is a classic in the social sciences. The rigour and richness of the ethnographic data of this book and its analysis is matched only by its literary style. This magnum opus of 732 pages, an outcome of fieldwork covering twenty-one years, complete with diagrams and photographs, reads like an epic novel, difficult to put down. Professor Jonathan Parry looks at a context in which the manual workforce is divided into distinct social classes, which have a clear sense of themselves as separate and interests that are sometimes opposed. The relationship between them may even be one of exploitation; and they are associated with different lifestyles and outlooks, kinship and marriage practices, and suicide patterns. A central concern is with the intersection between class, caste, gender and regional ethnicity, with how class trumps caste in most contexts and with how classes have become increasingly structured as the ‘structuration’ of castes has declined. The wider theoretical ambition is to specify the general conditions under which the so-called ‘working class’ has any realistic prospect of unity. Today I talked with the author, Jonathan Parry, emeritus professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (in collaboration with Ajay TG) and John Harriss, emeritus professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University. 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
Mothering is as old as human existence. But how has this most essential experience changed over time and cultures? What is the history of maternity—the history of pregnancy, birth, the encounter with an infant? In Mother Is a Verb: An Unconventional History (Sarah Crichton Books, 2020), Sarah Knott creates a genre all her own in order to craft a new kind of historical interpretation. Blending memoir and history and building from anecdote, her book brings the past and the present viscerally alive. As a history, Mother: An Unconventional History draws on the terrain of Britain and North America from the seventeenth century to the close of the twentieth. Knott searches among a range of past societies, from those of Cree and Ojibwe women to tenant farmers in Appalachia; from enslaved people on South Carolina rice plantations to tenement dwellers in New York City and London’s East End. She pores over diaries, letters, court records, medical manuals, items of clothing. And she explores and documents her own experiences. Dr. Julia M. Gossard is assistant professor of history and distinguished assistant professor of honor’s education at Utah State University. A historian of 18th-century France, Julia’s manuscript, Young Subjects: Childhood, State-Building, & Social Reform in the 18th-century French World (forthcoming, McGill-Queen’s UP), examines children as important actors in social reform, state-building, and imperial projects across the early modern French world. Dr. Gossard is active on Twitter. To learn more about her teaching, research, and experience in digital humanities, visit her website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this this interview, Carrie Tippen talks with Candi K. Cann, editor of the new collection, Dying to Eat: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Food, Death and the Afterlife (University Press of Kentucky). Dying to Eat is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that examine the role of food in rituals surrounding death and dying from around the globe. Cann, who identifies herself as a death studies scholar, divides the collection into two ways of using food in death rituals: “Dining With the Dead” and “Eating After: Food and Drink in Bereavement and Remembrance.” The first essays examine rituals where food is offered to the deceased or to ancestors, while the second half focuses on sharing food between the bereaved or preparing food for mourners. This division extends from a understanding that some cultures “care for” the dead while others “remember” the dead. To care for the dead in this way may include offering food and drink, allowing the living and the deceased to maintain “an active and participatory relationship” (4). These essays describe the symbolism of food in Chinese funerary rites and ancestral worship, Korean memorial festivities that negotiate between Catholic and Buddhist traditions, and the role of sugar and alcohol in holidays commemorating the dead in China, Mexico, and the US. Conversely, remembering the dead is “a renegotiation of life without the deceased;” these food rituals may be more focused on repairing the social fabric in the community of the living (4). These chapters describe meals after funeral rites including communal meals in the US South, traditions of mourning in Judaism, expensive displays of national and class identities in Moroccan Muslim families, the community function of funeral meals in Tswana and Zulu peoples in South Africa, and the role of alcohol in a short-lived secret society in 1880s Chicago. The diversity of the collection provides an excellent introduction to the topic. Dr. Candi K. Cann is Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University. Carrie Helms Tippen is Assistant Professor of English at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she teaches courses in American Literature. Her 2018 book, Inventing Authenticity: How Cookbook Writers Redefine Southern Identity (University of Arkansas Press), examines the rhetorical strategies that writers use to prove the authenticity of their recipes in the narrative headnotes of contemporary cookbooks. Her academic work has been published in Gastronomica, Food and Foodways, American Studies, Southern Quarterly, and Food, Culture, and Society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Who are the Black middle-class in Britain? In Black Middle-Class Britannia: Identities, Repertoires, Cultural Consumption (Manchester University Press, 2019) Ali Meghji, a lecturer in social inequalities at the University of Cambridge, considers the identity of Britain’s Black middle-class by understanding culture and cultural consumption. Offering examples from across contemporary art and culture, the book provides both a theoretical framework and rich empirical data to demonstrate the importance of understanding race to the study of both class and culture. As a result, the book is essential reading across the arts and social sciences, as well as for cultural practitioners and policymakers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Guest is God: Pilgrimage, Tourism, and Making Paradise in India (Oxford University Press, 2019) Drew Thomases investigates the Indian pilgrimage town of Pushkar. While the town consists of 20,000 residents, it boasts two million visitors annually. Sacred to the creator god, Brahma, Pushkar is understood as heaven on earth – a heaven heavily marked by tourism and globalization. You can learn about the lives of the residents of Pushkar through Thomases fascinating ethnographic fieldwork. Drew Thomases is Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department at San Diego State University. His work focuses on the anthropology of religion in North India--more specifically, Hindu pilgrimage and practice--though he is broadly interested in tourism, globalization, environmentalism, and theoretical approaches to the study of religion. For information about your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see https://www.rajbalkaran.com/scholarship Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Pepper Glass’s new book Misplacing Ogden, Utah: Race, Class, Immigration, and the Construction of Urban Reputation (University of Utah Press, 2020) evaluates the widely held assumption that divisions between urban areas are reflections of varying amounts of crime, deprivation, and other social, cultural, and economic problems. Glass uses Ogden, Utah as a case study to argue that urban reputations are “moral frontiers” that uphold and create divides between the reputations of members of a community. As a working-class city, Ogden, Utah has long held a history of racial and immigrant diversity. Among many Utahns this community gained a reputation as a "sin city" in the middle of an entrenched religious culture. Glass blends ethnographic research with historical accounts, census reports, and other secondary sources to provide insight into Ogden’s reputation, past and present. This book captures the perception of residents of the entire city as opposed to only a sector of the community. Glass’s unique approach suggests that we can do a better job at confronting urban problems by rethinking the assumptions we have about place and promoting interventions that breakdown boundaries. Pepper Glass, Ph.D. is associate professor of sociology at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. He has published his research on racial inequality, social movements, and youth culture in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Mobilization, and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 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
Bringing attention to the importance of li (an articulated system of social domination and political legitimization, consisting of rituals, ceremonies, and rites) as the foundation of the Qing political system, Macabe Keliher’s book The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China (University of California Press, 2019) challenges traditional understandings of state-formation and helps us rethink how we tell the story of the founding of the Qing. Focusing on how rituals and other practices of legitimization emerged, formed, and were then codified, the book is a deep dive into the early years of the dynasty. Using Chinese and Manchu-language archival materials, including edicts, memorials, legal codes, and court records, Keliher emphasizes how concerned with li the Qing really was, and in turn how very different from the Ming the Qing ended up being. Covering all aspects of ritual, from court ceremony to sumptuary greetings, clothing regulations, and how members of the imperial family were dealt with, this is a lucidly written and wonderfully detailed book that will be of interest to those who work on the Qing—as well as anyone interested in ritual, state formation, early modern empires, and systems of domination more broadly. Macabe Keliher is a historian of early modern and modern China. He is assistant professor of history at Southern Methodist University. Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a PhD candidate in the History and East Asian Languages program at Harvard University. She in interested in book history, early modern translation, and anything involving a kesike. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Over the last couple of decades, a number of books written both by the academics and journalists  have appeared on many dysfunctions of the Pakistani state, a few of them even predicting why and how and when it is going to collapse. Against this grain, Ayesha Siddiqi’s new book, In the Wake of Disaster Islamists, the State and a Social Contract in Pakistan (Cambridge University Press, 2019) is a forceful meditation on a number of key issues around the social contract, citizenship, and state provisions such as disaster relief and social protection. The book helps understand why, despite its many limitations, Pakistani state remains central to the lives of those it seeks to govern. Through an intensive ethnography conducted in the three of the worst hit districts – in the wake of the flooding disasters of 2010-2011 – in the Southern-most region of Pakistan’s Sindh province, Siddiqi demonstrates that the state and citizenship, even when expressed in vernacular idiom which doesn’t lend itself neatly to predominantly Eurocentric and structuralist sensibilities have meaning and resonance for the people. People look up to Sarkar (the “state”) both when they make claims for day to day provisions and also in the times of extraordinary distress. Though not always in time and effectively, as instantiated by the universal cash grants given to everyone who might have suffered in three districts of Badin, Thatha and Tharparkar, as a consequence of the floods, Sarkar also responds. Advancing a critical anthropology of the state, the book makes three major contentions: First, as already suggested, contrary to what the ‘master narratives’ claim, state remains very much present in the lives of the people even in the peripheral regions of Pakistan. Even when state remains unable to satisfy people’s demands, the fact that people have high expectations of it testifies to its centrality in their moral and political imaginaries. Second, since the local imaginaries of the state aren’t that of a monolithic entity represented by a coherence of institutional structures and purposes, major political parties and local influentials come to acquire some of the key “state-effects”, hence relations of clientship, to the extent that they remain relevant to the socio-political lives of many, aren’t necessarily an anathema to citizenship, instead they might actually be one of the constituent elements of a postcolonial social contract. Third, the specter of Islamist organizations coming in to occupy the space created by the presumed ‘absence’ of the state has no real grounding. This is so not because the state remains very much ‘present’ but also because the Islamists are afforded visibility only in so far as they are coopted by the state to partake in the relief activities. The book will be an indispensable reading for anyone interested in grasping the socio-political complexities inherent to the postcolonial states, societies, and their mutualities beyond the dominant tropes. Ali Mohsin is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva. His research focuses on the politics of poverty, inequality and social protection in Pakistan. He can be reached at ali.mohsin@graduateinstitute.ch Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oded Y. Steinberg (DPhil Oxford) is a fellow at the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Next year (2020-21), Steinberg will begin his joint tenure-track position at the Department of International Relations and the European Forum at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Steinberg’s research, as an intellectual historian of international relations, is primarily focused on the exchange of ideas across social and national borders in modern Britain and central Europe. Within this framework, his publications have explored various aspects of British and central European intellectual, cultural and diplomatic history. His book Race, Nation, History: Anglo-German Thought in the Victorian Era (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019) focuses on two intertwined themes. First, he analyses the emergence of a particular notion of a “Teutonic” identity among a group of scholars in England and Germany, and how they utilized this notion in their identification of their own national communities. Second, he shows how the consideration of this “Teutonic” identity corresponded with these scholars’ idiosyncratic perception of historical periodization. In exploring these themes, the book develops a novel argument that highlights the intersections between modern ideas of periodization, on the one hand, and modern perceptions of “race,” on the other. Therefore, it sheds light on a unique yet overlooked aspect of the modern racial and national identity discourse as it was developed by various Anglo-German Victorian scholars.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Attachment theory is a popular lens through which psychologists have examined human development and interpersonal dynamics. In Attachment in Religion and Spirituality: A Wider View (Guilford Press, 2020), Pehr Granqvist uses that lens to examine the psychology of religion and spirituality. He focuses on the connections between early caregiving experiences, attachment patterns, and individual differences in religious cognition, experience, and behavior. The function of a deity as an attachment figure is analyzed, as are ways in which attachment facilitates the intergenerational transmission of religion. The book suggests that the attachment perspective can aid in understanding mystical experiences, which are extraordinarily difficult to examine. The “wider view” of the title encompasses connections between religion and mental health, and cultural differences between more and less religious societies. Despite the density of the material, Granqvist's conversational writing style, concrete examples, and references to popular culture render complex concepts accessible. Pehr Granqvist teaches in the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a Jerusalem-based psychologist, Middle East television commentator, and host of the Van Leer Series on Ideas with Renee Garfinkel  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Today I talked to Charlotte Bruckermann about her new book Claiming Homes: Confronting Domicide in Rural China (Berghahn Books, 2019). Chinese citizens make themselves at home despite economic transformation, political rupture, and domestic dislocation in the contemporary countryside. By mobilizing labor and kinship to make claims over homes, people, and things, rural residents withstand devaluation and confront dispossession. As a particular configuration of red capitalism and socialist sovereignty takes root, this process challenges the relationship between the politics of place and the location of class in China and beyond. Suvi Rautio is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki. As an anthropologist, her interests delve into themes, such as Chinese state-society relations, space and memory, to deconstruct the social orderings of marginalized populations living in China and reveal the layers of social difference that characterize the nation today. suvi.rautio@helsinki.fi Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hadimba is a primary village goddess in the Kullu Valley of the West Indian Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, a rural area known as the Land of Gods. As the book shows, Hadimba is a goddess whose vitality reveals itself in her devotees' rapidly changing encounters with local and far from local players, powers, and ideas. These include invading royal forces, colonial forms of knowledge, and more recently the onslaught of modernity, capitalism, tourism, and ecological change. Hadimba has provided her worshipers with discursive, ritual, and ideological arenas within which they reflect on, debate, give meaning to, and sometimes resist these changing realities, and she herself has been transformed in the process. Drawing on diverse ethnographic and textual materials gathered in the region from 2009 to 2017, The Many Faces of a Himalayan Goddess: Hadimba, Her Devotees, and Religion in Rapid Change (Oxford University Press, 2019) is rich with myths and tales, accounts of dramatic rituals and festivals, and descriptions of everyday life in the celebrated but remote Kullu Valley. The book employs an interdisciplinary approach to tell the story of Hadimba from the ground up, or rather, from the center out, portraying the goddess in varying contexts that radiate outward from her temple to local, regional, national, and indeed global spheres. The result is an important contribution to the study of Indian village goddesses, lived Hinduism, Himalayan Hinduism, and the rapidly growing field of religion and ecology. Ehud Halperin lectures in the East Asian Studies Department at Tel Aviv University For information on your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Christian theologians in the Pacific Islands see culture as the grounds on which one understands God. In God is Samoan: Dialogues Between Culture and Theology in the Pacific (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2020), Matt Tomlinson engages in an anthropological conversation with the work of “contextual theologians,” exploring how the combination of Pacific Islands’ culture and Christianity shapes theological dialogues. The book presents a symphony of voices—engaged, critical, prophetic—from the contemporary Pacific’s leading religious thinkers and suggests how their work articulates with broad social transformations in the region. In this episode of the podcast Matt talks to host Alex Golub about contextual theology's use of concepts of 'dialogue' and 'culture' to develop an authentically Christian anthropology. They also discuss how this theology contributes to anthropological understandings of language. Finally, Matt discusses the complexities of his multisited fieldwork, including engaging with Christian communities when he was not a committed believer, and what role white anthropologists have to play in listening to and amplifying the voices of Pacific Islanders. Matt Tomlinson is an associate professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, where he studies religion and language in the Pacific. He is the author of Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance and the co-editor of the volumes New Mana: Transformations of a Classic Concept in Pacific Languages and Cultures and Christian Politics in Oceania. 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
Researchers frequently experience sexualized interactions, sexual objectification, and harassment as they conduct fieldwork. These experiences are often left out of ethnographers’ “tales from the field” and remain unaddressed within qualitative literature. In Harassed: Gender, Bodies, and Ethnographic Research (University of California Press, 2019), Rebecca Hanson and Patricia Richards argue that the androcentric, racist, and colonialist epistemological foundations of ethnographic methodology contribute to the silence surrounding sexual harassment and other forms of violence. Hanson and Richards challenge readers to recognize how these attitudes put researchers at risk, further the solitude experienced by researchers, lead others to question the validity of their work, and, in turn, negatively impact the construction of ethnographic knowledge. To improve methodological training, data collection, and knowledge produced by all researchers, Harassed advocates for an embodied approach to ethnography that reflexively engages with the ways in which researchers’ bodies shape the knowledge they produce. By challenging these assumptions, the authors offer an opportunity for researchers, advisors, and educators to consider the multiple ways in which good ethnographic research can be conducted. Beyond challenging current methodological training and mentorship, Harassed opens discussions about sexual harassment and violence in the social sciences in general. The authors brought up a couple of articles in the interview that they wanted to provide links to, in case listeners want to look these articles up: --Berry, Maya J., Claudia Cháves Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada. 2017. “Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field.” Cultural Anthropology 32(4): 537-565. --Bonnes, Stephanie. 2017. “The Bureaucratic Harassment of U.S. Servicewomen.” Gender & Society 31(6): 804-829. Sneha Annavarapu is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Analyzing a wide variety of late-nineteenth-century sources, Sex, Skulls, and Citizens: Gender and Racial Science in Argentina (1860-1910) (Vanderbilt University Press, 2020) argues that Argentine scientific projects of the era were not just racial encounters, but were also conditioned by sexual relationships in all their messy, physical reality. The writers studied here (an eclectic group of scientists, anthropologists, and novelists, including Estanislao Zeballos, Lucio and Eduarda Mansilla, Ramón Lista, and Florence Dixie reflect on Indigenous sexual practices, analyze the advisability and effects of interracial sex, and use the language of desire to narrate encounters with Indigenous peoples as they try to scientifically pinpoint Argentina's racial identity and future potential. Kerr's reach extends into history of science, literary studies, and history of anthropology, illuminating a scholarly time and place in which the lines betwixt were much blurrier, if they existed at all. Ashley Kerr is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Idaho. Candela Marini is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Spanish at MSOE University. You can tweet her and suggest books at @MariniCandela Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, has been ranked as one of the most violent cities in the world. In Deadline: Populism and the Press in Venezuela (University of Chicago Press, 2019), Robert Samet undertakes ethnography with crime journalists on their reporting practices to offer a compelling argument about the relationship between populist politics and the news. Samet participates with and observes a group of crime reporters as they traverse the city, investigating crimes, recording interviews with victims, and writing up their stories. Reporters commonly collected and publicized denuncias, victims’ accusations or denouncements of wrongdoing that can also include calls for justice. Samet details the substance and variation of such denuncias to demonstrate how the ubiquity and prevalence of these pronouncements articulate a popular will. This book contributes to studies of media and journalism, Latin American politics and society, and political anthropology in order to expand our understanding of the role of journalism in amplifying the will of the people. Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Today we are joined by Allan Downey, Associate Professor of History and Indigenous Studies at McMaster University, and author of The Creator’s Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood (University of British Columbia Press, 2018). In our conversation, we discussed the origins of lacrosse, the cultural genocide of North America’s indigenous nations, and the games use as a site of empowerment and resistance. In The Creator’s Game, Downey examines the role that lacrosse played and continues to play in the construction of settler-colonial and indigenous identity in Canada. He illustrates the way that the Canadian settler-colonial state appropriated the indigenous tradition of lacrosse to help promote white, masculine identities in the 19th century and how First Nation’s people used the game at the same time to reassert their own notions of indigenous identity, including ideas of pan-indigeneity and nested sovereignty. Downey’s work relies upon a wide range of sources including archival documents, extensive secondary source materials, and oral histories. He also makes use of indigenous epistemologies, taking seriously creation stories, medicine rituals, and the orenta power of physical objects. Throughout he mobilizes new methodologies as a way of explaining the special role of lacrosse among indigenous communities, including writing his own subjectivity as an indigenous person and lacrosse player into his history with chapter framing conversations with the trickster/transformer Usdas. Keith Rathbone is a lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches twentieth-century French social and cultural history. His manuscript, entitled A Nation in Play: Physical Culture, the State, and Society during France’s Dark Years, 1932-1948, examines physical education and sports in order to better understand civic life under the dual authoritarian systems of the German Occupation and the Vichy Regime. If you have a title to suggest for this podcast, please contact him at keith.rathbone@mq.edu.au. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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