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Simulated Shelves: Browse April 2016 New Books

We’re delighted to offer a selection of latest releases from our core subjects of Anthropology, History, Medical Anthropology, Museum Studies, and Theory & Methodology in Anthropology, along with our New in Paperback titles.

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Available in Paperback!

WITCHES AND DEMONS
A Comparative Perspective on Witchcraft and Satanism
Jean La Fontaine

Volume 10, Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology

 

Devil worship, black magic, and witchcraft have long captivated anthropologists as well as the general public. In this volume, Jean La Fontaine explores the intersection of expert and lay understandings of evil and the cultural forms that evil assumes. The chapters touch on public scares about devil-worship, misconceptions about human sacrifice and the use of body parts in healing practices, and mistaken accusations of children practicing witchcraft. Together, these cases demonstrate that comparison is a powerful method of cultural understanding, but warns of the dangers and mistaken conclusions that untrained ideas about other ways of life can lead to.

Read Introduction: Understanding the Other

 

 

TRUSTING AND ITS TRIBULATIONS
Interdisciplinary Engagements with Intimacy, Sociality and Trust
Edited by Vigdis Broch-Due and Margit Ystanes

 

Despite its immense significance and ubiquity in our everyday lives, the complex workings of trust are poorly understood and theorized. This volume explores trust and mistrust amidst locally situated scenes of sociality and intimacy. Because intimacy has often been taken for granted as the foundation of trust relations, the ethnographies presented here challenge us to think about dangerous intimacies, marked by mistrust, as well as forms of trust that cohere through non-intimate forms of sociality.

Read Introduction: Introducing Ethnographies of Trusting

 

 

 

HUMOUR, COMEDY AND LAUGHTER
Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life
Edited by Lidia Dina Sciama

Volume 8, Social Identities

 

Anthropological writings on humour are not very numerous or extensive, but they do contain a great deal of insight into the diverse mental and social processes that underlie joking and laughter. On the basis of a wide range of ethnographic and textual materials, the chapters examine the cognitive, social, and moral aspects of humour and its potential to bring about a sense of amity and mutual understanding, even among different and possibly hostile people. Unfortunately, though, cartoons, jokes, and parodies can cause irremediable distress and offence. Nevertheless, contributors’ cross-cultural evidence confirms that the positive aspects of humour far outweigh the danger of deepening divisions and fuelling hostilities.

Read Introduction

 

 

WORLD HERITAGE ON THE GROUND
Ethnographic Perspectives
Edited by Christoph Brumann and David Berliner

Volume 28, EASA Series

 

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 set the contemporary standard for cultural and natural conservation. Today, a place on the World Heritage List is much sought after for tourism promotion, development funding, and national prestige. Presenting case studies from across the globe, particularly from Africa and Asia, anthropologists with situated expertise in specific World Heritage sites explore the consequences of the World Heritage framework and the global spread of the UNESCO heritage regime. This book shows how local and national circumstances interact with the global institutional framework in complex and unexpected ways. Often, the communities around World Heritage sites are constrained by these heritage regimes rather than empowered by them.

Read Introduction: UNESCO World Heritage – Grounded?

 

 

THE REVOLUTION BEFORE THE REVOLUTION
Late Authoritarianism and Student Protest in Portugal
Guya Accornero

Volume 18, Protest, Culture & Society

 

Histories of Portugal’s transition to democracy have long focused on the 1974 military coup that toppled the authoritarian Estado Novo regime and set in motion the divestment of the nation’s colonial holdings. However, the events of this “Carnation Revolution” were in many ways the culmination of a much longer process of resistance and protest originating in universities and other sectors of society. Combining careful research in police, government, and student archives with insights from social movement theory, The Revolution before the Revolution broadens our understanding of Portuguese democratization by tracing the societal convulsions that preceded it over the course of the “long 1960s.”

 

 

 

RATIONED LIFE
Science, Everyday Life, and Working-Class Politics in the Bohemian Lands, 1914-1918
Rudolf Kučera

 

Far from the battlefront, hundreds of thousands of workers toiled in Bohemian factories over the course of World War I, and their lives were inescapably shaped by the conflict. In particular, they faced new and dramatic forms of material hardship that strained social ties and placed in sharp relief the most mundane aspects of daily life, such as when, what, and with whom to eat. This study reconstructs the experience of the Bohemian working class during the Great War through explorations of four basic spheres—food, labor, gender, and protest—that comprise a fascinating case study in early twentieth-century social history.

Read Introduction

 

 

 

WHOSE MEMORY? WHICH FUTURE?
Remembering Ethnic Cleansing and Lost Cultural Diversity in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe
Edited by Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

Volume 18, Contemporary European History

 

Scholars have devoted considerable energy to understanding the history of ethnic cleansing in Europe, reconstructing specific events, state policies, and the lived experiences of victims. Yet much less attention has been given to how these incidents persist in collective memory today. This volume brings together interdisciplinary case studies conducted in Central and Eastern European cities, exploring how present-day inhabitants “remember” past instances of ethnic cleansing, and how they understand the cultural heritage of groups that vanished in their wake. Together these contributions offer insights into more universal questions of collective memory and the formation of national identity.

Read Introduction

 

 

PARENTHOOD BETWEEN GENERATIONS
Transforming Reproductive Cultures
Edited by Siân Pooley and Kaveri Qureshi

Volume 32, Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality

 

Recent literature has identified modern ‘parenting’ as an expert-led practice – one which begins with pre-pregnancy decisions, entails distinct types of intimate relationships, places intense burdens on mothers, and increasingly on fathers too. Exploring within diverse historical and global contexts how men and women make – and break – relations between generations when becoming parents, this volume brings together innovative qualitative research by anthropologists, historians and sociologists. The chapters focus tightly on inter-generational transmission and demonstrate its importance for understanding how people become parents and rear children.

Read Introduction

 

 

HAVING AND BELONGING
Homes and Museums in Israel
Judy Jaffe-Schagen

Volume 5, Material Mediations: People and Things in a World of Movement

 

The home and the museum are typically understood as divergent, even oppositional, social realms: whereas one evokes privacy and familial intimacy, the other is conceived of as a public institution oriented around various forms of civic identity. This meticulous, insightful book draws striking connections between both spheres, which play similar roles by housing objects and generating social narratives. Through fascinating explorations of the museums and domestic spaces of eight representative Israeli communities—Chabad, Moroccan, Iraqi, Ethiopian, Russian, Religious-Zionist, Christian Arab, and Muslim Arab—it gives a powerful account of museums’ role in state formation, proposing a new approach to collecting and categorizing particularly well-suited to societies in conflict.

Read Introduction

 

 

OUR COMMON DENOMINATOR
Human Universals Revisited
Christoph Antweiler
Translated from the German by Diane Kerns

 

Since the politicization of anthropology in the 1970s, most anthropologists have been reluctant to approach the topic of universals – that is, phenomena that occur regularly in all known human societies. In this volume, Christoph Antweiler reasserts the importance of these cross-cultural commonalities for anthropological research and for life and co-existence beyond the academy. The question presented here is how anthropology can help us approach humanity in its entirety, understanding the world less as a globe, with an emphasis on differences, but as a planet, from a vantage point open to commonalities.

Read Introduction

 

 

 

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New in Paperback: 

 

THE SOCIAL LIFE OF ACHIEVEMENT
Edited by Nicholas J. Long and Henrietta Moore

Volume 2, WYSE Series in Social Anthropology

 

“The range of ethnographic settings is dazzling… there is something here for everyone and a veritable cornucopia for the lover of ethnographic diversity.” · American Ethnologist

What happens when people “achieve”? Why do reactions to “achievement” vary so profoundly? And how might an anthropological study of achievement and its consequences allow us to develop a more nuanced model of the motivated agency that operates in the social world? These questions lie at the heart of this volume. Drawing on research from Southeast Asia, Europe, the United States, and Latin America, this collection develops an innovative framework for explaining achievement’s multiple effects—one which brings together cutting-edge theoretical insights into politics, psychology, ethics, materiality, aurality, embodiment, affect and narrative. In doing so, the volume advances a new agenda for the study of achievement within anthropology, emphasizing the significance of achievement as a moment of cultural invention, and the complexity of “the achiever” as a subject position.

Read Introduction: Achievement and Its Social Life

 

 

HINDI IS OUR GROUND, ENGLISH IS OUR SKY
Education, Language, and Social Class in Contemporary India
Chaise LaDousa
Foreword by Krishna Kumar

 

“…an important addition to the sociology of education, as well as to linguistic anthropologists’ understanding of language politics and institutionality in postcolonial settings. It importantly bridges the gap between our understandings of language ideology and institutional organization as they come to register in and as the changing political economy of north India. It will be of interest to scholars of multilingualism, education, language ideology, and youth culture.” · Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

This book demonstrates that the school division allows for different visions of what it means to belong to the nation and what is central and peripheral in the nation. It also shows how the language-medium division reverberates unevenly and unequally through the nation, and that schools illustrate the tensions brought on by economic liberalization and middle-class status.

Read Introduction

 

 

IRISH/NESS IS ALL AROUND US
Language Revivalism and the Culture of Ethnic Identity in Northern Ireland
Olaf Zenker

Volume 6, Integration and Conflict Studies

 

“This book will be of interest to linguistic anthropologists, cultural anthropologists, as well as sociologists, political scientists, and historians of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It will also be valuable to those interested in cultural identity formation within politically charged contexts, including postcolonial contexts. It complements and extends the existing research on political identities in Northern Ireland.” · American Ethnologist

The author’s theoretical approach to ethnicity and ethnic revivals presents an expanded explanatory framework for the social (re)production of ethnicity, theorizing the mutual interrelations between representations and cultural practices regarding their combined capacity to engender ethnic revivals. Relevant not only to readers with an interest in the intricacies of the Northern Irish situation, this book also appeals to a broader readership in anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, history and political science concerned with the mechanisms behind ethnonational conflict and the politics of culture and identity in general.

Read Chapter 1. A Walk of Life: Entering Catholic West Belfast

 

 

THE DREAM IN ISLAM
From Qur’anic Tradition to Jihadist Inspiration
Iain R. Edgar

 

“The book stands out as noteworthy in one respect especially, because the author goes beyond the continual struggle between orientalists and anti-orientalists. One consequence of defining Islamic studies within this vicious circle is that a majority of the current generation of Islamic historians believes that the study of Arabic legal, theological or historical texts from the eighth to the nineteenth centuries is good enough to define ‘native’ Islamic civilisation. Edgar deconstructs that old approach, and brings to the task considerable expertise in social science methodology. Subsequent case studies on dream narratives will benefit immensely from his imagination-based research methods.” · Political Studies Review

The war in the Middle East is marked by a lack of cultural knowledge on the part of the western forces, and this book deals with another, widely ignored element of Islam—the role of dreams in everyday life. The practice of using night dreams to make important life decisions can be traced to Middle Eastern dream traditions and practices that preceded the emergence of Islam. In this study, the author explores some key aspects of Islamic dream theory and interpretation as well as the role and significance of night dreams for contemporary Muslims. In his analysis of the Islamic debates surrounding the role of “true” dreams in historical and contemporary Islamic prophecy, the author specifically addresses the significance of Al-Qaeda and Taliban dream practices and ideology.

Read Introduction

 

 

ORDINARY LIVES AND GRAND SCHEMES
An Anthropology of Everyday Religion
Edited by Samuli Schielke and Liza Debevec

Volume 18, EASA Series

 

“The great merit of this book consists in taking the practices of the people “on the ground” into account. It thereby addresses a gap: the moments when grand schemes and daily practices come together, often in contradiction or in complex and open ways… a compelling and inspirational volume.” · Allegra Laboratory

Everyday practice of religion is complex in its nature, ambivalent and at times contradictory. The task of an anthropology of religious practice is therefore precisely to see how people navigate and make sense of that complexity, and what the significance of religious beliefs and practices in a given setting can be. Rather than putting everyday practice and normative doctrine on different analytical planes, the authors argue that the articulation of religious doctrine is also an everyday practice and must be understood as such.

Read Introduction