By Area: Latin America and the Caribbean
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The Aesthetics of Rule and Resistance
Analyzing Political Street Art in Latin America
Effective visual communication has become an essential strategy for grassroots political activists, who use images to publicly express resistance and make their claims visible in the struggle for political power. However, this “aesthetics of resistance” is also employed by political and economic elites for their own purposes, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish from the “aesthetics of rule.” Through illuminating case studies of street art in Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Caracas, and Mexico City, The Aesthetics of Rule and Resistance explores the visual strategies of persuasion and meaning-making employed by both rulers and resisters to foster self-legitimization, identification, and mobilization.
An American Icon in Puerto Rico
Barbie, Girlhood, and Colonialism at Play
Aguiló-Pérez, E. R.
Since her creation in 1959, Barbie has become an icon of femininity to girls all over the world. In this study, author Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez focuses on a group of multigenerational Puerto Rican women and girls, exploring how playing with Barbie dolls as children has impacted their lives. By documenting the often-complicated relationships girls have with Barbie dolls, Aguiló-Pérez highlights the ways through which women and girls construct their own identities in relation to femininity, body image, race, and nationalism through Barbie play.
Animism in Rainforest and Tundra
Personhood, Animals, Plants and Things in Contemporary Amazonia and Siberia
Brightman, M., Grotti, V. E., & Ulturgasheva, O. (eds)
Amazonia and Siberia, classic regions of shamanism, have long challenged ‘western’ understandings of man’s place in the world. By exploring the social relations between humans and non-human entities credited with human-like personhood (not only animals and plants, but also ‘things’ such as artifacts, trade items, or mineral resources) from a comparative perspective, this volume offers valuable insights into the constitutions of humanity and personhood characteristic of the two areas. The contributors conducted their ethnographic fieldwork among peoples undergoing transformative processes of their lived environments, such as the depletion of natural resources and migration to urban centers. They describe here fundamental relational modes that are being tested in the face of change, presenting groundbreaking research on personhood and agency in shamanic societies and contributing to our global understanding of social and cultural change and continuity.
An Anthropology of War
Views from the Frontline
Waterston, A. (ed)
As we move deeper into the twenty-first century, power, lethal force, and injustice continue to explode violently into war, and the prospects for lasting peace look even bleaker. The horrors of modern warfare - the death, dehumanization, and destruction of social and material infrastructures - have done little to bring an end to armed conflict.
In this volume, leading chroniclers of war provide thoughtful and powerful essays that reflect on their ethnographic work at the frontlines. The contributors recount not only what they have seen and heard in war zones but also what is being read, studied, analyzed and remembered in such diverse locations as Colombia and Guatemala, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. In detailed reports from the field, they reflect on the important issue of “accountability” and offer explanations to discern causes, patterns, and practices of war. Through this unique lens, the contributors provide the insight and analysis needed for a deeper understanding of one of the greatest issues of our times.
Avram Bornstein, Paul E. Farmer, R. Brian Ferguson, Lesley Gill, Beatriz Manz, Carolyn Nordstrom, Stephen Reyna, Jose N. Vasquez
Anti-americanism in Latin America and the Caribbean
McPherson A. (ed)
Whether rising up from fiery leaders such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro or from angry masses of Brazilian workers and Mexican peasants, anti U.S. sentiment in Latin America and the Caribbean today is arguably stronger than ever. It is also a threat to U.S. leadership in the hemisphere and the world. Where has this resentment come from? Has it arisen naturally from imperialism and globalization, from economic and social frustrations? Has it served opportunistic politicians? Does Latin America have its own style of anti Americanism? What about national variations? How does cultural anti Americanism affect politics, and vice versa? What roles have religion, literature, or cartoons played in whipping up sentiment against ‘el yanqui’? Finally, how has the United States reacted to all this?
This book brings leaders in the field of U.S. Latin American relations together with the most promising young scholars to shed historical light on the present implications of hostility to the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean. In essays that carry the reader from Revolutionary Mexico to Peronist Argentina, from Panama in the nineteenth century to the West Indies’ mid century independence movement, and from Colombian drug runners to liberation theologists, the authors unearth little known campaigns of resistance and probe deeper into episodes we thought we knew well. They argue that, for well over a century, identifying the United States as the enemy has rung true to Latin Americans and has translated into compelling political strategies. Combining history with political and cultural analysis, this collection breaks the mold of traditional diplomatic history by seeing anti Americanism through the eyes of those who expressed it. It makes clear that anti Americanism, far from being a post 9/11 buzzword, is rather a real force that casts a long shadow over U.S. Latin American relations.
Subject: History (General)
Barter and Social Regeneration in the Argentinean Andes
Despite the pervasiveness of barter across societies, this mode of transaction has largely escaped the anthropologist’s gaze. Drawing on data from fairs in the Argentinean Andes, this book addresses a local modality of barter known as cambio. Bringing out its embeddedness within religious celebrations, it argues that cambio is practiced as a sacrifice to catholic figures and local ancestors, thereby challenging a widespread view of barter as a non-monetary form of commodity exchange. This ethnography of Andean barter considers processes of value creation, both economic and subjective, to further our understanding of how social groups create themselves through economic exchanges.
Brazilian Steel Town
Machines, Land, Money and Commoning in the Making of the Working Class
Volta Redonda is a Brazilian steel town founded in the 1940s by dictator Getúlio Vargas on an ex-coffee valley as a powerful symbol of Brazilian modernization. The city’s economy, and consequently its citizen’s lives, revolves around the Companha Siderurgica Nacional (CSN), the biggest industrial complex in Latin America. Although the glory days of the CSN have long passed, the company still controls life in Volta Redonda today, creating as much dispossession as wealth for the community. Brazilian Steel Town tells the story of the people tied to this ailing giant – of their fears, hopes, and everyday struggles.
The Brazilian Truth Commission
Local, National and Global Perspectives
Schneider, N. (ed)
Bringing together some of the world’s leading scholars, practitioners, and human-rights activists, this groundbreaking volume provides the first systematic analysis of the 2012–2014 Brazilian National Truth Commission. While attentive to the inquiry’s local and national dimensions, it offers an illuminating transnational perspective that considers the Commission’s Latin American regional context and relates it to global efforts for human rights accountability, contributing to a more general and critical reassessment of truth commissions from a variety of viewpoints.
Subject: Peace and Conflict Studies
The Children of Gregoria
Dogme Ethnography of a Mexican Family
Kristensen, R. & Adeath Villamil, C.
The Children of Gregoria portrays a struggling Mexico, told through the story of the Rosales family. The people entrenched in the violent communities that the Rosales belong to have been discussed, condemned, analyzed, joked about and cheered, but rarely have they been seriously listened to. This book highlights their voices and allows them to tell their own stories in an accessible, literary manner without prejudice, persecution or judgment.
Landscapes of Migration, Violence and the State
Drawing from ethnographic material based on long-term research, this volume considers competing forms of power at micro- and macro-levels in Guyana, where the local is marked by extensive migration, corruption, and differing levels of violence. It shows how the local is occupied and re-occupied by various powerful and powerless people and entities (“big ones” and “small ones”), and how it becomes the site of intense power negotiations in relation to external ideas of empowerment.
Conflict, Domination, and Violence
Episodes in Mexican Social History
Conflict, domination, violence—in this wide-ranging, briskly narrated volume from acclaimed Mexican historian Carlos Illades, these three phenomena register the pulse of a diverse, but inequitable and discriminatory, social order. Drawing on rich and varied historical sources, Illades guides the reader through seven signal episodes in Mexican social history, from rebellions under Porfirio Díaz’s dictatorship to the cycles of violence that have plagued the country’s deep south to the recent emergence of neo-anarchist movements. Taken together, they comprise a mosaic history of power and resistance, with artisans, rural communities, revolutionaries, students, and ordinary people confronting the forces of domination and transforming Mexican society.
Cultural and Political Exchange among Spain, Italy and Argentina, 1914-1945
Fuentes Codera, M. & Dogliani, P. (eds)
Despite being separated by thousands of miles and shaped by distinctive national histories, the countries of Spain, Italy, and Argentina were intertwined in a variety of ways during the first half of the twentieth century. This collection brings scholars from each nation into conversation with one another to trace these complex historical connections over the period of the two World Wars. Deploying “Latinity” as a novel analytical framework, it gives a broad and dynamic perspective on cases of reciprocal exchange that include the influence of Italian Socialism on Hispanophone leftists; the roots of Argentine liberalism in Machiavelli and Spanish Nationalist thinkers; and the web of connections among Italian Fascism, Argentine Nacionalismo, and Spanish Francoism.
An Anthropology of Oil
Behrends, A., Reyna, S. P. & Schlee, G. (eds)
Crude Domination is an innovative and important book about a critical topic – oil. While there have been numerous works about petroleum from ‘experience-far’ perspectives, there have been relatively few that have turned the ‘experience-near’ ethnographic gaze of anthropology on the topic. Crude Domination does just this among more peoples and more places than any other volume. Its chapters investigate nuances of culture, politics and economics in Africa, Latin America, and Eurasia as they pertain to petroleum. They wrestle with the key questions vexing scholars and practitioners alike: problems of the economic blight of the resource curse, underdevelopment, democracy, violence and war. Additionally they address topics that may initially appear insignificant – such as child witches and lionmen, fighting for oil when there is no oil, reindeer nomadism, community TV – but which turn out on closer scrutiny to be vital for explaining conflict and transformation in petro-states. Based upon these rich, new worlds of information, the text formulates a novel, domination approach to the social analysis of oil.
The Devil is Disorder
Bodies, Spirits and Misfortune in a Trinidadian Village
What role might the Devil have in health and illness? The Devil is Disorder explores constructions of the body, health, illness and wider misfortune in a Trinidadian village where evangelical Christianity is growing in popularity. Based on long-term ethnography and locating the village in historical and global context, the book takes a nuanced cosmological approach to situate evangelical Christian understandings as shaping and being shaped by their context and, in the process, shaping individuals themselves. As people move from local to global subjects, health here stretches beyond being a matter of individual bodies and is connected to worldwide flows and networks, spirit entities, and expansive moral orders.
Fighting and Living with Asbestos-Related Disasters in Brazil
Toxic production, disrupted lives and contaminated bodies. Care for unacknowledged suffering, incurable cancers, and immeasurable losses. This book bears witness to the invisible disasters provoked by the asbestos market worldwide and gives a voice to the communities of survivors who struggle daily in the name of social and environmental justice. Grounded in a profound, touching ethnography, this book offers an original contribution to understanding global health disasters and grassroots health-based activism.
Edges, Fringes, Frontiers
Integral Ecology, Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability in Guyana
Henfrey, T. B.
Based on an ethnographic account of subsistence use of Amazonian forests by Wapishana people in Guyana, Edges, Frontiers, Fringes examines the social, cultural and behavioral bases for sustainability and resilience in indigenous resource use. Developing an original framework for holistic analysis, it demonstrates that flexible interplay among multiple modes of environmental understanding and decision-making allows the Wapishana to navigate socio-ecological complexity successfully in ways that reconcile short-term material needs with long-term maintenance and enhancement of the resource base.
Environment and Citizenship in Latin America
Natures, Subjects and Struggles
Latta, A. & Wittman, H. (eds)
Scholarship related to environmental questions in Latin America has only recently begun to coalesce around citizenship as both an empirical site of inquiry and an analytical frame of reference. This has led to a series of new insights and perspectives, but few efforts have been made to bring these various approaches into a sustained conversation across different social, temporal and geographic contexts. This volume is the result of a collaborative endeavour to advance debates on environmental citizenship, while simultaneously and systematically addressing broader theoretical and methodological questions related to the particularities of studying environment and citizenship in Latin America. Providing a window onto leading scholarship in the field, the book also sets an ambitious agenda to spark further research.
Fetishes and Monuments
Afro-Brazilian Art and Culture in the 20th Century
One hundred years ago in Brazil the rituals of Candomblé were feared as sorcery and persecuted as crime. Its cult objects were fearsome fetishes. Nowadays, they are Afro-Brazilian cultural works of art, objects of museum display and public monuments. Focusing on the particular histories of objects, images, spaces and persons who embodied it, this book portrays the historical journey from weapons of sorcery looted by the police, to hidden living stones, to public works of art attacked by religious fanatics that see them as images of the Devil, former sorcerers who have become artists, writers, and philosophers. Addressing this history as a journey of objectification and appropriation, the author offers a fresh, unconventional, and illuminating look at questions of syncretism, hybridity and cultural resistance in Brazil and in the Black Atlantic in general.
Fifty Years of Peasant Wars in Latin America
Binford, L., Gill, L., & Striffler, S. (eds)
Informed by Eric Wolf’s Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century, published in 1969, this book examines selected peasant struggles in seven Latin American countries during the last fifty years and suggests the continuing relevance of Wolf’s approach. The seven case studies are preceded by an Introduction in which the editors assess the continuing relevance of Wolf’s political economy. The book concludes with Gavin Smith’s reflection on reading Eric Wolf as a public intellectual today.
Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in the YucatÁn
Ayora-Diaz, S. I.
The state of Yucatán has its own distinct culinary tradition, and local people are constantly thinking and talking about food. They use it as a vehicle for social relations but also to distinguish themselves from “Mexicans.” This book examines the politics surrounding regional cuisine, as the author argues that Yucatecan gastronomy has been created and promoted in an effort to affirm the identity of a regional people and to oppose the hegemonic force of central Mexican cultural icons and forms. In particular, Yucatecan gastronomy counters the homogenizing drive of a national cuisine based on dominant central Mexican appetencies and defies the image of Mexican national cuisine as rooted in indigenous traditions. Drawing on post-structural and postcolonial theory, the author proposes that Yucatecan gastronomy - having successfully gained a reputation as distinct and distant from ‘Mexican’ cuisine - is a bifurcation from regional culinary practices. However, the author warns, this leads to a double, paradoxical situation that divides the nation: while a national cuisine attempts to silence regional cultural diversity, the fissures in the project of a homogeneous regional identity are revealed.
Subjects: Food & Nutrition Anthropology (General)
A Goddess in Motion
Visual Creativity in the Cult of María Lionza
The current practice of the cult of María Lionza is one of the most important and yet unexplored religious practices in Venezuela. Based on long-term fieldwork, this book explores the role of images and visual culture within the cult. By adopting a relational approach, A Goddess in Motion shows how the innumerable images of this goddess—represented as an Indian, white or mestizo woman—move constantly from objects to bodies, from bodies to dreams, and from the religion domain to the art world. In short, this book is a fascinating study that sheds light on the role of visual creativity in contemporary religious manifestations.
Good Enough Mothers
Practicing Nurture and Motherhood in Chiapas, Mexico
Motherhood in Mexico is profoundly shaped by the legacy of colonialism. This ethnography situates motherhood in a critical global health analysis of maternal health inequalities and interventions in the southeast state of Chiapas. Using a transitional life course framework, it demonstrates how the transition to motherhood is never complete. Once a good mother is defined, she becomes undefined, the goal posts moved, and the rules confronted.
House of the Waterlily
A Novel of the Ancient Maya World
Set in the Maya civilization’s Late Classic Period House of the Waterlily is a historical novel centered on Lady Winik, a young Maya royal. Through tribulations that mirror the political calamities of the Late Classic world, Winik’s personal story immerses the reader not only in her daily life, but also in the difficult decisions Maya men and women must have faced as they tried to navigate a rapidly changing world. Kelli Carmean’s novel brings to life a people and an era remote from our own, yet recognizably human all the same.
The Imbalance of Power
Leadership, Masculinity and Wealth in the Amazon
Amerindian societies have an iconic status in classical political thought. For Montaigne, Hobbes, Locke, Hume and Rousseau, the native American ‘state of nature’ operates as a foil for the European polity. Challenging this tradition, The Imbalance of Power demonstrates ethnographically that the Carib speaking indigenous societies of the Guiana region of Amazonia do not fit conventional characterizations of ‘simple’ political units with ‘egalitarian’ political ideologies and ‘harmonious’ relationships with nature. Marc Brightman builds a persuasive and original theory of Amerindian politics: far from balanced and egalitarian, Carib societies are rife with tension and difference; but this imbalance conditions social dynamism and a distinctive mode of cohesion. The Imbalance of Power is based on the author’s fieldwork in partnership with Vanessa Grotti, who is working on a companion volume entitled Living with the Enemy: First Contacts and the Making of Christian Bodies in Amazonia.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
In Search of Legitimacy
How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition
Griffith, L. M.
Every year, countless young adults from affluent, Western nations travel to Brazil to train in capoeira, the dance/martial art form that is one of the most visible strands of the Afro-Brazilian cultural tradition. In Search of Legitimacy explores why “first world” men and women leave behind their jobs, families, and friends to pursue a strenuous training regimen in a historically disparaged and marginalized practice. Using the concept of apprenticeship pilgrimage—studying with a local master at a historical point of origin—the author examines how non-Brazilian capoeiristas learn their art and claim legitimacy while navigating the complexities of wealth disparity, racial discrimination, and cultural appropriation.
Subjects: Performance Studies Anthropology (General)
Indigeneity and the Sacred
Indigenous Revival and the Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Americas
Sarmiento, F. & Hitchner, S. (eds)
This book presents current research in the political ecology of indigenous revival and its role in nature conservation in critical areas in the Americas. An important contribution to evolving studies on conservation of sacred natural sites (SNS), the book elucidates the complexity of development scenarios within cultural landscapes related to the appropriation of religion, environmental change in indigenous territories, and new conservation management approaches. Indigeneity and the Sacred explores how these struggles for land, rights, and political power are embedded within physical landscapes, and how indigenous identity is reconstituted as globalizing forces simultaneously threaten and promote the notion of indigeneity.
Indigenous Peoples, Civil Society, and the Neo-liberal State in Latin America
Fischer, E. F. (ed)
In recent years the concept and study of “civil society” has received a lot of attention from political scientists, economists, and sociologists, but less so from anthropologists. A ground-breaking ethnographic approach to civil society as it is formed in indigenous communities in Latin America, this volume explores the multiple potentialities of civil society’s growth and critically assesses the potential for sustained change. Much recent literature has focused on the remarkable gains made by civil society and the chapters in this volume reinforce this trend while also showing the complexity of civil society - that civil society can itself sometimes be uncivil. In doing so, these insightful contributions speak not only to Latin American area studies but also to the changing shape of global systems of political economy in general.
Intellectuals and (Counter-) Politics
Essays in Historical Realism
Contemporary forms of capitalism and the state require close analytic attention to reveal the conditions of possibility for effective counter-politics. On the other hand the practice of collective politics needs to be studied through historical ethnography if we are to understand what might make people’s actions effective. This book suggests a research agenda designed to maximize the political leverage of ordinary people faced with ever more remote states and technologies that make capitalism increasingly rapacious. Gavin Smith opens and closes this series of interlinked essays by proposing a concise framework for untangling what he calls “the society of capital” and subsequently a potentially controversial way of seeing its contemporary features. This book tackles the political conundrums of our times and asks what roles intellectuals might play therein.
Jaguars of the Dawn
Spirit Mediumship in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer
The Brazilian Spiritualist Christian Order Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn) is the place where the worlds of the living and the spirits merge and the boundaries between lives are regularly crossed. Drawing upon over a decade of extensive fieldwork in temples of the Amanhecer in Brazil and Europe, the author explores how mediums understand their experiences and how they learn to establish relationships with their spirit guides. She sheds light on the ways in which mediumistic development in the Vale do Amanhecer is used for therapeutic purposes and informs notions of body and self, of illness and wellbeing.
Laborers and Enslaved Workers
Experiences in Common in the Making of Rio de Janeiro's Working Class, 1850-1920
Badaró Mattos, M.
From the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1888 abolition of slavery in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro was home to the largest urban population of enslaved workers anywhere in the Americas. It was also the site of an incipient working-class consciousness that expressed itself across seemingly distinct social categories. In this volume, Marcelo Badaró Mattos demonstrates that these two historical phenomena cannot be understood in isolation. Drawing on a wide range of historical sources, Badaró Mattos reveals the diverse labor arrangements and associative life of Rio’s working class, from which emerged the many strategies that workers both free and unfree pursued in their struggles against oppression.
Latin America and Refugee Protection
Regimes, Logics, and Challenges
Jubilut, L. L., Vera Espinoza, M., & Mezzanotti, G. (eds)
Looking at refugee protection in Latin America, this landmark edited collection assesses what the region has achieved in recent years. It analyses Latin America’s main documents in refugee protection, evaluates the particular aspects of different regimes, and reviews their emergence, development and effect, to develop understanding of refugee protection in the region. Drawing from multidisciplinary texts from both leading academics and practitioners, this comprehensive, innovative and highly topical book adopts an analytical framework to understand and improve Latin America’s protection of refugees.
Latin America Facing China
South-South Relations beyond the Washington Consensus
Fernández Jilberto, A. E. & Hogenboom, B. (eds)
The last quarter of the twentieth century was a period of economic crises, increasing indebtedness as well as financial instability for Latin America and most other developing countries; in contrast, China showed amazingly high growth rates during this time and has since become the third largest economy in the world. Based on several case studies, this volume assesses how China’s rise – one of the most important recent changes in the global economy – is affecting Latin America’s national politics, political economy and regional and international relations. Several Latin American countries benefit from China’s economic growth, and China’s new role in international politics has been helpful to many leftist governments’ efforts in Latin America to end the Washington Consensus. The contributors to this thought provoking volume examine these and the other causes, effects and prospects of Latin America’s experiences with China’s global expansion from a South - South perspective.
Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Berliner, D. & Sarró, R. (eds)
As we enter the 21st century, it becomes increasingly difficult to envisage a world detached from religion or an anthropology blind to its study. Yet, how people become religious is still poorly studied. This volume gathers some of the most distinguished scholars in the field to offer a new perspective for the study of religion, one that examines the works of transmission and innovation through the prism of learning. They argue that religious culture is socially and dynamically constructed by agents who are not mere passive recipients but engaged in active learning processes. Finding a middle way between the social and the cognitive, they see learning religions not as a mechanism of “downloading” but also as a social process with its relational dimension.
The Living Ancestors
Shamanism, Cosmos and Cultural Change among the Yanomami of the Upper Orinoco
This phenomenologically oriented ethnography focuses on experiential aspects of Yanomami shamanism, including shamanistic activities in the context of cultural change. The author interweaves ethnographic material with theoretical components of a holographic principle, or the idea that the “part is equal to the whole,” which is embedded in the nature of the Yanomami macrocosm, human dwelling, multiple-soul components, and shamans’ relationships with embodied spirit-helpers. This book fills an important gap in the regional study of Yanomami people, and, on a broader scale, enriches understanding of this ancient phenomenon by focusing on the consciousness involved in shamanism through firsthand experiential involvement.
A Living Past
Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America
Soluri, J., Leal, C., & Pádua, J. A. (eds)
Though still a relatively young field, the study of Latin American environmental history is blossoming, as the contributions to this definitive volume demonstrate. Bringing together thirteen leading experts on the region, A Living Past synthesizes a wide range of scholarship to offer new perspectives on environmental change in Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean since the nineteenth century. Each chapter provides insightful, up-to-date syntheses of current scholarship on critical countries and ecosystems (including Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean, the tropical Andes, and tropical forests) and such cross-cutting themes as agriculture, conservation, mining, ranching, science, and urbanization. Together, these studies provide valuable historical contexts for making sense of contemporary environmental challenges facing the region.
Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents
The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism
Anderson, W., Roque, R., & Ventura Santos, R. (eds)
Modern perceptions of race across much of the Global South are indebted to the Brazilian social scientist Gilberto Freyre, who in works such as The Masters and the Slaves claimed that Portuguese colonialism produced exceptionally benign and tolerant race relations. This volume radically reinterprets Freyre’s Luso-tropicalist arguments and critically engages with the historical complexity of racial concepts and practices in the Portuguese-speaking world. Encompassing Brazil as well as Portuguese-speaking societies in Africa, Asia, and even Portugal itself, it places an interdisciplinary group of scholars in conversation to challenge the conventional understanding of twentieth-century racialization, proffering new insights into such controversial topics as human plasticity, racial amalgamation, and the tropes and proxies of whiteness.
The Man Who Invented Aztec Crystal Skulls
The Adventures of Eugène Boban
MacLaren Walsh, J. & Topping, B.
Eugène Boban began life in humble circumstances in Paris, traveled to the California Gold Rush, and later became a recognized authority on pre-Columbian cultures. He also invented an entire category of archaeological artifact: the Aztec crystal skull. By his own admission, he successfully “palmed off” a number of these crystal skulls on the curators of Europe’s leading museums. How could that happen, and who was this man? Detailed are the travels, self-education, and archaeological explorations of Eugène Boban; this book also explores the circumstances that allowed him to sell fakes to museums that would remain undetected for over a century.
Subjects: Museum Studies Archaeology
Mobility and Migration in Indigenous Amazonia
Contemporary Ethnoecological Perspectives
Alexiades, M. N. (ed)
Contrary to ingrained academic and public assumptions, wherein indigenous lowland South American societies are viewed as the product of historical emplacement and spatial stasis, there is widespread evidence to suggest that migration and displacement have been the norm, and not the exception. This original and thought-provoking collection of case studies examines some of the ways in which migration, and the concomitant processes of ecological and social change, have shaped and continue to shape human-environment relations in Amazonia. Drawing on a wide range of historical time frames (from pre-conquest times to the present) and ethnographic contexts, different chapters examine the complex and important links between migration and the classification, management, and domestication of plants and landscapes, as well as the incorporation and transformation of environmental knowledge, practices, ideologies and identities.
Nearly the New World
The British West Indies and the Flight from Nazism, 1933–1945
“In this rich and resonant study, Joanna Newman recounts the little-known story of this Jewish exodus to the British West Indies...”—Times Higher Education
In the years leading up to the Second World War, increasingly desperate European Jews looked to far-flung destinations such as Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica in search of refuge from the horrors of Hitler’s Europe.
Nearly the New World tells the extraordinary story of Jewish refugees who overcame persecution and sought safety in the West Indies from the 1930s through the end of the war. At the same time, it gives an unsparing account of the xenophobia and bureaucratic infighting that nearly prevented their rescue—and that helped to seal the fate of countless other European Jews for whom escape was never an option.
From the introduction:
This book is called Nearly the New World because for most refugees who found sanctuary, it was nearly, but not quite, the New World that they had hoped for. The British West Indies were a way station, a temporary destination that allowed them entry when the United States, much of South and Central America, the United Kingdom and Palestine had all become closed. For a small number, it became their home. This is the first comprehensive study of modern Jewish emigration to the British West Indies. It reveals how the histories of the Caribbean, of refugees, and of the Holocaust connect through the potential and actual involvement of the British West Indies as a refuge during the 1930s and the Second World War.
Non-Humans in Amerindian South America
Ethnographies of Indigenous Cosmologies, Rituals and Songs
Rivera Andía, J. J. (ed)
Drawing on fieldwork from diverse Amerindian societies whose lives and worlds are undergoing processes of transformation, adaptation, and deterioration, this volume offers new insights into the indigenous constitutions of humanity, personhood, and environment characteristic of the South American highlands and lowlands. The resulting ethnographies – depicting non-human entities emerging in ritual, oral tradition, cosmology, shamanism and music – explore the conditions and effects of unequally ranked life forms, increased extraction of resources, continuous migration to urban centers, and the (usually) forced incorporation of current expressions of modernity into indigenous societies.
Nurturing the Other
First Contacts and the Making of Christian Bodies in Amazonia
Combining archival research, oral history and long-term ethnography, this book studies relations between Amerindians and outsiders, such as American missionaries, through a series of contact expeditions that led to the 'pacification' of three native Amazonian groups in Suriname and French Guiana. The author examines and contrasts Amerindian and non-Amerindian views on this process of social transformation through the lens of the body, notions of peacefulness and kinship, as well as native warfare and shamanism. The book addresses questions of change and continuity, and the little explored links between first contacts, capture and native conversion to Christianity in contemporary indigenous Amazonia.
On the Nervous Edge of an Impossible Paradise
Affect, Tourism, Belize
There are beastly forces in Belize. Forces that are actively involved in making paradise impossible. On the Nervous Edge of an Impossible Paradise is a collection of seven stories about local lives in the fictional village of Wallaceville. They turn rogue in the face of runaway forces that take the form and figure of a Belize beast-time, which can appear as a comic mishap, social ruin, tragic excess, or wild guesses. Inciting the affective politics of life in the region, this fable of emergence evokes the unnerving uncertainties of life in the tourist state of Belize.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Literary Studies
Ownership and Nurture
Studies in Native Amazonian Property Relations
Brightman, M., Fausto, C. & Grotti, V. (eds)
The first book to address the classic anthropological theme of property through the ethnography of Amazonia, Ownership and Nurture sets new and challenging terms for anthropological debates about the region and about property in general. Property and ownership have special significance and carry specific meanings in Amazonia, which has been portrayed as the antithesis of Western, property-based, civilization. Through carefully constructed studies of land ownership, slavery, shamanism, spirit mastery, aesthetics, and intellectual property, this volume demonstrates that property relations are of central importance in Amazonia, and that the ownership of persons plays an especially significant role in native cosmology.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
A Cinema of Exile and Resistance
Best known for his 1979 film David, Peter Lilienthal was an unusual figure within postwar filmmaking circles. A child refugee from Nazi Germany who grew up in Uruguay, he was uniquely situated at the crossroads of German, Jewish, and Latin American cultures: while his work emerged from West German auteur filmmaking, his films bore the unmistakable imprints of Jewish thought and the militant character of New Latin American cinema. Peter Lilienthal is the first comprehensive study of Lilienthal’s life and career, highlighting the distinctively cross-cultural and transnational dimensions of his oeuvre, and exploring his role as an early exemplar of a more vibrant, inclusive European film culture.
Subject: Film and Television Studies
Playing with Languages
Children and Change in a Caribbean Village
Paugh, A. L.
Over several generations villagers of Dominica have been shifting from Patwa, an Afro-French creole, to English, the official language. Despite government efforts at Patwa revitalization and cultural heritage tourism, rural caregivers and teachers prohibit children from speaking Patwa in their presence. Drawing on detailed ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of video-recorded social interaction in naturalistic home, school, village and urban settings, the study explores this paradox and examines the role of children and their social worlds. It offers much-needed insights into the study of language socialization, language shift and Caribbean children’s agency and social lives, contributing to the burgeoning interdisciplinary study of children’s cultures. Further, it demonstrates the critical role played by children in the transmission and transformation of linguistic practices, which ultimately may determine the fate of a language.
Political Networks and Social Movements
Bolivian State–Society Relations under Evo Morales, 2006–2016
Valdivia Rivera, S.
After a landslide electoral victory in 2006, Evo Morales became the first indigenous President of Bolivia. Morales’s stunning ascent was mirrored by the rising fortunes of his political party, the leftist Movimiento al Socialismo, which today continues to challenge the status quo in Bolivian politics and implement ambitious social reforms. This study examines how the state and social movements have impacted democratization in Bolivia, along with other sectors such as NGOs and the media. Soledad Valdivia Rivera’s analysis helps us to understand how the movement's relationships have come to transform the Bolivian political process as we know it.
Politics of the Dunes
Poetry, Architecture, and Coloniality at the Open City
Founded in the late 1960s on Chile’s Pacific coast, the Open City (la Ciudad Abierta) has become an internationally recognized site of cutting-edge architectural experimentation. Yet with a global reputation as an apolitical collective, little has been discussed about the Open City’s relationship with Chilean history and politics. Politics of the Dunes explores the ways in which the Open City’s architectural and urban practice is devoted to keeping open the utopian possibility for multiplicity, pluralism, and democratization in the face of authoritarianism, a powerful mode of postcolonial environmental urbanism that can inform architectural practices today.
Subjects: Urban Studies Sociology History (General)
Power in Practice
The Pragmatic Anthropology of Afro-Brazilian Capoeira
González Varela, S.
Considering the concept of power in capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian ritual art form, Varela describes ethnographically the importance that capoeira leaders (mestres) have in the social configuration of a style called Angola in Bahia, Brazil. He analyzes how individual power is essential for an understanding of the modern history of capoeira, and for the themes of embodiment, play, cosmology, and ritual action. The book also emphasizes the great significance that creativity and aesthetic expression have for capoeira’s practice and performance.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Performance Studies
Resistance in an Amazonian Community
Huaorani Organizing against the Global Economy
Like many other indigenous groups, the Huaorani of eastern Ecuador are facing many challenges as they attempt to confront the globalization of capitalism in the 21st century. In 1991, they formed a political organization as a direct response to the growing threat to Huaorani territory posed by oil exploitation, colonization, and other pressures. The author explores the structures and practices of the organization, as well as the contradictions created by the imposition of an alien and hierarchical organizational form on a traditionally egalitarian society. This study has broad implications for those who work toward "cultural survival" or try to "save the rainforest."
Subjects: Development Studies Sociology
Rethinking the Informal City
Critical Perspectives from Latin America
Hernández, F., Kellett, P. and Allen, L.K. (Eds.)
Latin American cities have always been characterized by a strong tension between what is vaguely described as their formal and informal dimensions. However, the terms formal and informal refer not only to the physical aspect of cities but also to their entire socio-political fabric. Informal cities and settlements exceed the structures of order, control and homogeneity that one expects to find in a formal city; therefore the contributors to this volume - from such disciplines as architecture, urban planning, anthropology, urban design, cultural and urban studies and sociology - focus on alternative methods of analysis in order to study the phenomenon of urban informality. This book provides a thorough review of the work that is currently being carried out by scholars, practitioners and governmental institutions, in and outside Latin America, on the question of informal cities.
Subject: Urban Studies
Legacies of Militarization and Militarism in a Rural Guatemalan Town
Although the Guatemalan Civil War ended more than two decades ago, its bloody legacy continues to resonate even today. In Silenced Communities, author Marcia Esparza offers an ethnographic account of the failed demilitarization of the rural militia in the town of Santo Tomás Chichicastenango following the conflict. Combining insights from postcolonialism, subaltern studies, and theories of internal colonialism, Esparza explores the remarkable resilience of ideologies and practices engendered in the context of the Cold War, demonstrating how the lingering effects of grassroots militarization affect indigenous communities that continue to struggle with inequality and marginalization.
Slavery and Antislavery in Spain's Atlantic Empire
Fradera, J. M. & Schmidt-Nowara, C. (eds)
African slavery was pervasive in Spain’s Atlantic empire yet remained in the margins of the imperial economy until the end of the eighteenth century when the plantation revolution in the Caribbean colonies put the slave traffic and the plantation at the center of colonial exploitation and conflict. The international group of scholars brought together in this volume explain Spain’s role as a colonial pioneer in the Atlantic world and its latecomer status as a slave-trading, plantation-based empire. These contributors map the broad contours and transformations of slave-trafficking, the plantation, and antislavery in the Hispanic Atlantic while also delving into specific topics that include: the institutional and economic foundations of colonial slavery; the law and religion; the influences of the Haitian Revolution and British abolitionism; antislavery and proslavery movements in Spain; race and citizenship; and the business of the illegal slave trade.
Subjects: Colonial History History (General)
Banana Politics and Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean
During the 1990s, the Eastern Caribbean was caught in a bitter trade dispute between the US and EU over the European banana market. When the World Trade Organization rejected preferential access for Caribbean growers in 1998 the effect on the region’s rural communities was devastating. This volume examines the “banana wars” from the vantage point of St. Lucia’s Mabouya Valley, whose recent, turbulent history reveals the impact of global forces. The author investigates how the contemporary structure of the island’s banana industry originated in colonial policies to create a politically “stable” peasantry, followed by politicians’ efforts to mobilize rural voters. These political strategies left farmers dependent on institutional and market protection, leaving them vulnerable to any alteration in trade policy. This history gave way to a new harsh reality, in which neoliberal policies privilege price and quantity over human rights and the environment. However, against these challenges, the author shows how the rural poor have responded in creative ways, including new social movements and Fair Trade farming, in order to negotiate a stronger position for themselves in the in a shifting global economy.
Everyday Challenges to Environmental Governance in Latin America
Sovereignty is a significant force regarding the ownership, use, protection and management of natural resources. By placing an emphasis on the complex intertwined relationship between natural resources and diverse claims to resource sovereignty, this book reveals the backstory of contemporary resource contestations in Latin America and their positioning within a more extensive history of extraction in the region. Exploring cases of resource contestation in Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala, Sovereign Forces highlights the value of these relationships to the practice of environmental governance and peacebuilding in the region.
Stars and Stardom in Brazilian Cinema
Bergfelder, T., Shaw, L. & Vieira, J. L. (eds)
Despite the recent explosion of scholarly interest in “star studies,” Brazilian film has received comparatively little attention. As this volume demonstrates, however, the richness of Brazilian stardom extends well beyond the ubiquitous Carmen Miranda. Among the studies assembled here are fascinating explorations of figures such as Eliane Lage (the star attraction of São Paulo’s Vera Cruz studios), cult horror movie auteur Coffin Joe, and Lázaro Ramos, the most visible Afro-Brazilian actor today. At the same time, contributors interrogate the inner workings of the star system in Brazil, from the pioneering efforts of silent-era actresses to the recent advent of the non-professional movie star.
Subjects: Film and Television Studies Media Studies
The Struggle for the Past
How We Construct Social Memories
In all societies—but especially those that have endured political violence—the past is a shifting and contested terrain, never fixed and always intertwined with present-day cultural and political circumstances. Organized around the Argentine experience since the 1970s within the broader context of the Southern Cone and international developments, The Struggle for the Past undertakes an innovative exploration of memory’s dynamic social character. In addition to its analysis of how human rights movements have inflected public memory and democratization, it gives an illuminating account of the emergence and development of Memory Studies as a field of inquiry, lucidly recounting the author’s own intellectual and personal journey during these decades.
Subjects: Memory Studies Peace and Conflict Studies
Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas, 1800-1940
Bosma, U., Giusti-Cordero, J, & Knight, G.K. (eds)
Sugar was the single most valuable bulk commodity traded internationally before oil became the world’s prime resource. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, cane sugar production was pre-eminent in the Atlantic Islands, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Subsequently, cane sugar industries in the Americas were transformed by a fusion of new and old forces of production, as the international sugar economy incorporated production areas in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Sugar’s global economic importance and its intimate relationship with colonialism offer an important context for probing the nature of colonial societies. This book questions some major assumptions about the nexus between sugar production and colonial societies in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, especially in the second (post-1800) colonial era.
Subject: Colonial History
Spanish and Latin American Educational Reform in the Cold War
Martín García, Ó. J. & Gómez-Escalonilla, L. D. (eds)
In the 1960s and 1970s, the educational systems in Spain and Latin America underwent comprehensive and ambitious reforms that took place amid a "revolution of expectations" arising from decolonization, global student protests, and the antagonism between capitalist and communist models of development. Deploying new archival research and innovative perspectives, the contributions to this volume examine the influence of transnational forces during the cultural Cold War. They shed new light on the roles played by the United States, non-state actors, international organizations and theories of modernization and human capital in educational reform efforts in the developing Hispanic world.
Theorizing Relations in Indigenous South America
González Gálvez, M., Di Giminiani, P., & Bacchiddu, G. (eds)
Whether invented, discovered, implicit, or directly addressed, relations remain the main focus of most anthropological inquiries. These relations, once conceptualized in ethnographic fieldwork as self-evident connections between discrete social units, have been increasingly explored through local ontological theories. This collected volume explores how ethnographies of indigenous South America have helped to inspire this analytic shift, demonstrating the continued importance of ethnographic diversity. Most importantly, this volume asserts that comparative ethnographic research can help illustrate complex questions surrounding relations vis-à-vis the homogenizing effects of modern coloniality.
Transborder Media Spaces
Ayuujk Videomaking between Mexico and the US
Transborder Media Spaces offers a new perspective on how media forms like photography, video, radio, television, and the Internet have been appropriated by Mexican indigenous people in the light of transnational migration and ethnopolitical movements. In producing and consuming self-determined media genres, actors in Tamazulapam Mixe and its diaspora community in Los Angeles open up media spaces and seek to forge more equal relations both within Mexico and beyond its borders. It is within these spaces that Ayuujk people carve out their own, at times conflicting, visions of development, modernity, gender, and what it means to be indigenous in the twenty-first century.
Subjects: Media Studies Anthropology (General)
Mayan Maternal Mortality and Subjectivity in Post-War Guatemala
“[S]heds light not only on the obstacles to making motherhood safer, but to improving the health of poor populations in general.”—Social Anthropology
Since 1987, when the global community first recognized the high frequency of women in developing countries dying from pregnancy-related causes, little progress has been made to combat this problem. This study follows the global policies that have been implemented in Sololá, Guatemala in order to decrease high rates of maternal mortality among indigenous Mayan women.
The author examines the diverse meanings and understandings of motherhood, pregnancy, birth and birth-related death among the biomedical personnel, village women, their families, and midwives. These incongruous perspectives, in conjunction with the implementation of such policies, threaten to disenfranchise clients from their own cultural understandings of self. The author investigates how these policies need to meld with the everyday lives of these women, and how the failure to do so will lead to a failure to decrease maternal deaths globally.
From the Introduction:
An unspoken effect of reducing maternal mortality to a medical problem is that life and death become the only outcomes by which pregnancy and birth are understood. The specter of death looms large and limits our full exploration of either our attempts to curb maternal mortality, or the phenomenon itself. Certainly women’s survival during childbirth is the ultimate measure of success of our efforts. Yet using pregnancy outcomes and biomedical attendance at birth as the primary feedback on global efforts to make pregnancy safer is misguided.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Medical Anthropology
Housing and Social Transformations in Globalizing Ecuador
Riobamba and Cuenca, two intermediate cities in Ecuador, have become part of global networks through transnational migration, incoming remittances, tourism, and global economic connections. Their landscape is changing in several significant ways, a reflection of the social and urban transformations occurring in contemporary Ecuadorian society. Exploring the discourses and actions of two contrasting population groups, rarely studied in tandem, within these cities—popular-settlement residents and professionals in the planning and construction sector—this study analyzes how each is involved in house designs and neighborhood consolidation. Ideas, ambitions, and power relations come into play at every stage of the production and use of urban space, and as a result individual decisions about both house designs and the urban layout influence the development of the urban fabric. Knowledge about intermediate cities is crucial in order to understand current trends in the predominantly urban societies of Latin America, and this study is an example of needed interdisciplinary scholarship that contributes to the fields of urban studies, urban anthropology, sociology, and architecture.
Subjects: Urban Studies Applied Anthropology Sociology
Virtualism, Governance and Practice
Vision and Execution in Environmental Conservation
Carrier, J. C. & West, P. (eds)
Many people investigating the operation of large-scale environmentalist organizations see signs of power, knowledge and governance in their policies and projects. This collection indicates that such an analysis appears to be justified from one perspective, but not from another. The chapters in this collection show that the critics, concerned with the power of these organizations to impose their policies in different parts of the world, appear justified when we look at environmentalist visions and at organizational policies and programs. However, they are much less justified when we look at the practical operation of such organizations and their ability to generate and carry out projects intended to reshape the world.
The Ritual Everyday on a Dammed River in Amazonia
In Brazil, where forest meets savanna, new towns, agribusiness and hydroelectricity plants form a patchwork with the indigenous territories. Here, agricultural work, fishing, songs, feasts and exchanges occupy the Enawenê-nawê for eight months of each year, during a season called Yankwa. Vital Diplomacy focuses on this major ceremonial cycle to shed new light on classic Amazonian themes such as kinship, gender, manioc cultivation and cuisine, relations with non-humans and foreigners, and the interplay of myth and practice, exploring how ritual contains and diverts the threat of violence by reconciling antagonistic spirits, coordinating social and gender divides, and channelling foreign relations and resources.
A Walk to the River in Amazonia
Ordinary Reality for the Mehinaku Indians
Stang, C. D.
Our lives are mostly composed of ordinary reality — the flow of moment-to-moment existence — and yet it has been largely overlooked as a subject in itself for anthropological study. In this work, the author achieves an understanding of this part of reality for the Mehinaku Indians, an Amazonian people, in two stages: first by observing various aspects of their experience and second by relating how these different facets come to play in a stream of ordinary consciousness, a walk to the river. In this way, abstract schemata such as ‘cosmology,’ ‘sociality,’ ‘gender,’ and the ‘everyday’ are understood as they are actually lived. This book contributes to the ethnography of the Amazon, specifically the Upper Xingu, with an approach that crosses disciplinary boundaries between anthropology, philosophy, and psychology. In doing so it attempts to comprehend what Malinowski called the ‘imponderabilia of actual life.’
The Walls of Santiago
Social Revolution and Political Aesthetics in Contemporary Chile
Gordon-Zolov, T. & Zolov, E.
A photo-illustrated record of Chilean protest art, along with reflections on artistic antecedents, global protest movements, and the long shadow cast by Chile’s authoritarian past.
From October 2019 until the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, Chile was convulsed by protests and political upheaval, as what began as civil disobedience transformed into a vast resistance movement. Throughout, the most striking aspects of the protests were the murals, graffiti, and other political graphics that became ubiquitous in Chilean cities.
Authors Terri Gordon-Zolov and Eric Zolov were in Santiago to witness and document the protests from their very beginning. The book is beautifully illustrated with over 150 photographs taken throughout the protests. Additional photos will be available on the publisher’s website.
From the introduction:
In the conclusion, we take stock of the crisis of the nation-state in the contemporary era. This chapter brings events into the present moment, noting the ways President Piñera took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to reclaim the streets of Santiago, a phenomenon echoed in countries across the globe. While most of the global protest movements were forced to go underground (or into the ether), the Black Lives Matter movement surged in the United States and drew massive amounts of support both domestically and abroad, suggesting a continued wave of grassroots protests. We close with reflections on the continued relevance of walls in a virtual world, the testimonial role that protest graphics play, and the future outlook for revolutionary movements in Chile and worldwide.