Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

Category Archives: Field Encounters

Tradition Taboo: Disagreements between Common Practice and Public Discourse

Hans Steinmüller’s Communities of Complicity: Everyday Ethics in Rural China is now available in paperback. The ethnography explores the moral uncertainties experienced by the people of the village of Zhongba in Central China as they navigate and balance the expectations of capitalism and their traditional culture. The author offers a reflection on his fieldwork in […]

Helping without Harming and Minding the Balance

Author Emma Kowal explores the “good” that well-meaning White Australians are doing for Indigenous Australians. This path to help is charted in Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia, a recently published book that asks the question: How can one help without harming? Following, Kowal explains the origins and reception of her work […]

Visions of The Other: Swiss & Malagasy See, But Do They Understand?

Where do Switzerland and Madagascar meet, and what do the people of each place think of those in the other? Eva Keller, in her recently published Beyond the Lens of Conservation: Malagasy and Swiss Imaginations of One Another, in seeking to connect these two places winds up highlighting the disconnect between them. Following, the author […]

‘Healing Roots’: Author Traces Life of Wild Plant from Farm to Pharm

The healing powers of a plant in sub-Saharan Africa, long used for indigenous medicine, are now being harnessed as a pharmaceutical to be more widely produced and sold. Author Julie Laplante follows this path of production of Artemesia Afra from a wild-growing bush to a processed, controlled substance in her soon-to-be-published monograph, Healing Roots: Anthropology […]

Prose and Economic Development in an African Village

Paul Clough spent many years studying the economic situation of the Marmara village, in Hausaland, northern Nigeria. His work there began in 1977-1979, then was followed by stints in 1985, 1996, and 1998. In Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa: Indigenous Accumulation in Hausaland, his book based on that fieldwork, the author explores […]

The Historic Influence of Intellectuals

In Gavin Smith’s Intellectuals and (Counter-) Politics: Essays in Historical Realism, which was published earlier this month, the author takes a look at the role of the intellectual (specifically the social scientist) in three important areas — studying capitalism, making histories, and producing places. According to the author, “Reflexivity for the social scientist, Bourdieu argued, […]

A Look through the Lens at ‘Domesticating Youth’

    Sophie Roche’s volume Domesticating Youth: Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan, published last month, is the fruit of her ethnographic labor in the post-Soviet republic of Tajikistan. During her fieldwork in the first decade of the 21st century, the country was in a state of transition following its civil war in […]

Berghahn Author Asks: ‘Quo Vadis FEMEN?’

FEMEN is a Ukrainian feminist protest group that has become infamous for its topless protests against patriarchy. The group, founded in 2008, has since grown to be a worldwide phenomenon, and not simply because its protests are often seen as “sextreme.” Marian Rubchak, editor of Mapping Difference: The Many Faces of Women in Contemporary Ukraine, […]

Down, Not Out: Ethiopian Youth on the Street

Paula Heinonen’s decade of research and reflection led to the publication of Youth Gangs and Street Children: Culture, Nurture, and Masculinity in Ethiopia, which was published as a paperback in June 2013. Based on careful observations and interviews, the volume provides insight into common misconceptions of why  Ethiopian boys and girls take to the street. […]

Celebration at a Funeral: Addressing an African Phenomenon

Funerals in Africa: Explorations of a Social Phenomenon, originally published in September 2011, was released this month in paperback form. Below, co-editor Michael Jindra shares the root of his interest in this cultural phenomenon, and discusses the collection and what became its purpose: to shed light on funerary traditions and to inspire other scholars. One […]