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  • EnviroSociety

    Reading Rousseau in the Anthropocene

    I’m a critical environmental anthropologist, which means I make my living by having serious doubts about every term in this aspirational self-description. Writing and teaching under such a sign has always been hard, but it’s gotten even harder lately, for painfully obvious reasons. For example, this semester, for the second time, I am teaching a midlevel course for undergraduates called “Theories of Human Nature.” As with so many anthropology courses at my university, the title is deceptive: instead of theories of human nature, my innocent charges are stuck with a relentless series of stories demonstrating that there is no such thing as human nature and that any effort to appeal to it inevitably entails the denigration of many would-be humans and the degradation of what is left of nature in the name of some dubious onto-political cause or other (see Haraway 2007; Soper 1995). By the end of the semester, I would normally hope my students would have become as suspicious of the word “human” as they are of the word “nature,” and downright outraged to hear them juxtaposed in an argument.

    When I first taught “Theories of Human Nature” in 2013, I think I achieved this goal to a considerable degree. We wrapped up by reading an ethnography of the (mostly) nonhuman semiotic chains linking the Amazon to its inhabitants, How Forests Think (Kohn 2013), and during discussion a few of the students worried about its latent “humanism.” This time around I don’t think I’ll get there. It is not that my students today are any more invested than their predecessors in themselves as liberal humanist subjects or Enlightenment reason as the touchstone of their ideals. It might not be any real change in my students at all, although I was admittedly taken aback by their insistence just after the midterm break that a recent proposal to rename the Anthropocene the Capitalocene (Haraway 2015; Moore 2016) would be “a cop-out” insofar as doing so would seem to shift responsibility for historically recent, stratigraphically salient environmental transformations from “us” to “the system.” I wondered what could explain their longing for so many unfolding or anticipated environmental disasters to be counted as a form of responsibility-enforcing punishment, as well as why they felt more responsible for environmental harms as humans than as citizens of a settler-colonial democracy.

    I can’t be sure if my students in 2013 would have felt any differently, however, because I myself didn’t think the Anthropocene bore mentioning back then, and the Capitalocene idea had not yet made it to press. This suggests that I am the one who has changed in the intervening years, albeit far too slowly for the world my students so guiltily inhabit.

    This inconvenient truth first dawned on me back in January of this year, when I began the semester’s readings as usual with my favorite example of Enlightenment thinking about human nature, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Among other advantages, the text crystallizes the normative role played by reason in setting civilized man apart from all the others, who become more natural, or savage, only by comparison with this axiomatically unnatural, uniquely “human” faculty. It also shows the contradictory way reason is held up as a set of rules that should determine human action just as instinct supposedly does determine animal action, so that the freedom that reason grants us is not much more than striving—and usually failing—to be obedient to natural law. I like Rousseau’s demonstration of these Enlightenment principles a million times better than the other natural law theorists (see Tuck 1999, for their stories) because this irony is not entirely lost on him. He shows how reason can be used to justify all kinds of horrors, including the Discourse itself:

    I admit that, since the events I have to describe could have taken place in several ways, I cannot make a determination among them except on the basis of conjecture. But over and above the fact that these conjectures become reasons when they are the most probable ones that a person can draw from the nature of things and the sole means that a person can have of discovering the truth, the consequences I wish to deduce from mine will not thereby be conjectural, since, on the basis of the principles I have just established, no other system is conceivable that would not furnish me with the same results, and from which I could not draw the same conclusions. ([1755] 1992: 43)

    In other words, here Rousseau freely admits to making the whole thing up, necessarily, which is small compensation for his liberal use (no pun intended) of what he took to be real-life examples of humanity at an intermediate stage between the state of nature and civilization drawn from the European colonial encounter with New World “savages” (see Pagden 1993). Even as he enacts its harms, Rousseau teaches us that human nature is made, and made up, for a single purpose: political power. In 2013, I was content to read, and teach my students to read, Rousseau for his consistently contradictory use of human nature as a rhetorical device in a political argument. In 2017, however, I found myself responding to the argument itself, summoned against my will beyond my little province of naturalcultural expertise and into Europe’s undying imperial fray.

    The Discourse’s argument is presented as an answer to two questions posed by the Academy of Dijon: “What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by the natural law?” Rousseau disposes of the second absurd proposition on the first page, claiming that to even entertain the question “would amount to asking whether those who command are necessarily better than those who obey, and whether strength of body or mind, wisdom or virtue are always found in the same individuals in proportion to power or wealth. Perhaps this is a good question for slaves to discuss within earshot of their masters, but it is not suitable for reasonable and free men who seek the truth” (1992: 16; see Scott 1990; see also Klausen 2014). Most of the rest of the Discourse is a protracted fantasy—savages included—about how society could have arrived in such a terrible state of inequality that this absurd question is even on the table.

    Famously, Rousseau identifies the institution of property as the first step in “the sequence of wonders by which the strong could resolve to serve the weak, and the people buy imaginary repose at the price of real felicity” (1992: 17), but it is not the last. The second is the creation of the state, or “the magistracy,” to protect the property of the rich against the poor. The third is “the transformation of legitimate power into arbitrary power,” mainly through the law of inheritance. Inequality itself is offered at once as the cause, sign, and symptom of this third step in the sequence, “the ultimate degree of inequality and the limit to which all the others finally lead” (65) If this were really the end of the story, the argument would be not just paradoxical (Cress 2011) but tautological. Rousseau would have shown that the evolution of inequality is as natural for reasonable human beings as its suppression was in the fictive state of nature. This is what the thought experiment (nature + reason = inequality) that makes up the bulk of the text avowedly demonstrates. This is also what my students seem to have gotten out of it in their short essays on the topic, a result alarmingly consistent with their sentiments about the Anthropocene. But Rousseau provides an alternate conclusion, though I confess to having missed this point in reading and teaching his political philosophy as protean anthropology at least a dozen times since the turn of the millennium.

    After having shown the origin of inequality in property, the state, and inheritance on the basis of pure conjecture, Rousseau allows himself to speculate on what he would find were he to actually examine the facts, “where one would examine all the different faces under which inequality has appeared until now and may appear in future ages, according to the nature of these governments and the upheavals that time will necessarily bring in its wake,” (1992: 67). Carefully protecting himself, and perhaps his readers, with the safety afforded by the future conditional, Rousseau describes in this last moment not the origin of inequality, but its climax:

    From the extreme inequality of conditions and fortunes … there would come a pack of prejudices equally contrary to reason, happiness and virtue. One would see the leaders fomenting whatever can weaken men united together by disuniting them; whatever can give society an air of apparent concord while showing the seeds of division; whatever can inspire defiance and hatred in the various classes through the opposition of their rights and interests, and can as a consequence strengthen the power that contains them all.

    It is from the bosom of this disorder and these upheavals that despotism, by gradually raising its hideous head and devouring everything it had seen to be good and healthy in every part of the state, would eventually succeed in trampling underfoot the laws of the people, and in establishing itself in the ruins of the republic. The times that would precede this last transformation would be times of troubles and calamities; but in the end everything would be swallowed up by the monster, and the peoples would no longer have leader or laws, but only tyrants. Also, from that moment on, there would no longer be any question of mores and virtue, for wherever despotism, in which decency affords no hope, reigns, it tolerates no other master. (68; emphasis in original)

    With this Rousseau offers an argument, this time based on experience veiled as conjecture instead of the other way around, for why inequality is a problem for peoples—note the plural—who in his time as in ours are bound to live together. Inequality is bad, not because we judge it to be bad, because we are bleeding-heart libtards or commie snowflakes or social justice warriors, or critical environmental anthropologists for that matter. Inequality is bad because it admits no other principle, no other government, no other society, no thinking, no feeling, no justice, no peace. And as I learned a little too late, no education worthy of the name.

    Acknowledgements

    I’m grateful for timely discussions of the Capitalocene and other critical environmental topics with my colleagues Jenny Cockburn, Reade Davis, Karen Hébert, Pablo Mendez, and Zoe Todd. The untimely reversion to Rousseau, however, is my own fault.



    Danielle DiNovelli-Lang
     studies resource politics and human–animal relations in Alaska. She teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.



    References

    Cress, D., ed. 2011. Rousseau: The Basic Political Writings. London: Hackett.

    Haraway, D. 2007. The Companion Species Manifesto. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

    Haraway, D. 2015. “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene.” Environmental Humanities 8 (1).

    Klausen, J. 2014. Fugitive Rousseau. New York: Fordham University Press.

    Kohn, E. 2013. How Forests Think. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Moore, J., Ed. 2016. Anthropocene or Capitalocene: Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism. Oakland, CA: PM Press.

    Pagden, A. 1993. European Encounters with the New World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Rousseau, J-J. (1775) 1992. Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Ed. Donald Cress. London: Hackett.

    Scott, J. 1993. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Soper, K. 1995. What Is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Nonhuman. London: Blackwell.

    Tuck, R. 1999. The Rights of War and Peace. London: Clarendon.



    Cite as: 
    DiNovelli-Lang, Danielle. 2017. “Reading Rousseau in the Anthropocene.” EnviroSociety, 17 March. www.envirosociety.org/2017/03/reading-rousseau-in-the-anthropocene.

  • FocaalBlog

    Chris Hann: Beleaguered pseudo-continent: Happy birthday, Europe!

    This post is part of a feature on anthropologists on the EU at 60, moderated and edited by Don Kalb (Central European University and University of Bergen).

    Sixty this month, the European Union is almost as old as I am. Should we, in March 2017, celebrate a beacon of liberal-democratic sanity between the populists of Washington and London to the West and those of Ankara and Moscow to the East? Or is it time to pension off the construction launched with the Treaty of Rome in 1957, since it has come to violate basic desiderata of economic efficiency and equity, as well as democratic legitimacy?

    From 6 to 27

    The Treaty of Rome was signed by the six founding states of what was then known as the European Economic Community (more commonly in English, “Common Market”) on 25 March 1957. In March 2017, coinciding with the birthday celebrations, the British prime minister is expected to trigger the negotiations that will lead to Britain’s withdrawal from the organization it joined belatedly in 1973. The contraction is unprecedented, and the future of the EU has become highly uncertain.

    The process of British withdrawal will be overseen by the Pole Donald Tusk, who used to be prime minister in Warsaw but moved to become president of the European Council in Brussels when it was already clear that he and his liberal, right-of-center party would lose the next general election in Poland. On 9 March 2017, Tusk was reappointed to his high office in Brussels, supported by 27 heads of state. But he was opposed by the present Polish prime minister, a national conservative who alleges that Tusk is guilty of improper meddling in Poland’s internal affairs. Beata Szydło was later rebuked by the president of France and told, in effect, that she should be grateful that the old EU member states were doing so much to develop the latecomer postsocialist states. In the background are proposals to institutionalize an EU of multiple tracks, in which present levels of redistribution to weaker members might be reduced. Szydło was unimpressed by this “blackmail.” She undoubtedly commands higher levels of public support in Poland than François Hollande does in France. What does this episode tell us about the legitimacy of EU governance on the eve of its sixtieth birthday? (Peter 2017).

    The "Euro Shop" in the Hungarian market town of Kiskunhalas sells basic goods at discounted prices in Forints (© Chris Hann, September 2015).

    The “Euro Shop” in the Hungarian market town of Kiskunhalas sells basic goods at discounted prices in Forints (© Chris Hann, September 2015).

    Other members of the Visegrád Group did not support Poland on this occasion, but populist nationalism is rampant in this region, above all in Hungary. It is also making inroads in most countries of Old Europe and in Washington, where another Donald is busy undoing every modest liberal initiative of his predecessor. Meanwhile, different forms of authoritarian rule are being entrenched by eastern neighbors such as Turkey and the Russian Federation. (For these developments, as I have argued in earlier posts, the EU bears a major share of the responsibility. Fifteen years ago, the new leaders in Ankara and Moscow were being applauded in the West for their democratizing intentions. That the opposite has come to pass is to a very significant degree a consequence of the irresponsible treatment meted out by Brussels, especially the commission presided over by the international banker José Manuel Barroso between 2004 and 2014.)

    Given this depressing global context, it is superficially still tempting to shout, “Hurrah for the EU and European values!” But this would be to overlook myriad dysfunctionalities and hypocrisies. To begin with, the EU is far from congruent with geographical Europe. This larger Europe is better viewed as a macroregion of Eurasia. It is not a separate “continent,” the equivalent of Asia. In recent centuries, western Eurasia has been much wealthier than the rest of the landmass. For this reason alone, it is understandable that EU Europe has positive connotations for most inhabitants of the rest of Europe, as well as those who live in other macroregions of Eurasia. But can it really lay claim to superior values? Whenever “Europe” features prominently in the rhetoric of politicians, this is usually a scam of the first order. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán claims to be defending the values of Christian Europe when he builds fences and internment camps. In response, his secular liberal critics in Budapest claim they are the ones who represent humanist European values. In short, Europe is claimed by both sides. But for the great majority in both camps, these rhetorical skirmishes are the latest installment in a long-running debate about who is the better Hungarian.

    The most important fault line within Europe used to be the Iron Curtain. That boundary is still significant, as the latest exchanges in Brussels between President Hollande and Prime Minister Szydło made clear. But it is overshadowed nowadays by that between north and south, which has been accentuated by the construction of the Eurozone. Germany, the major beneficiary of the euro, has enforced austerity policies that leave the Mediterranean states with little scope to address their most urgent problems, above all unemployment. These states, together with the postsocialist members in the east, bear the brunt of protecting the rest of the EU from endless streams of refugees and other migrants in search of work and a better life.

    Yet for demographic reasons, additional workers are indeed continuously needed by the successful capitalist economies of the north, not least Germany. This has been the case ever since the first Gastarbeiter (guest worker) provided the workforce necessary for accomplishing an “economic miracle” in the 1960s. For decades, little was done to integrate these Turkish migrants into German society and its democracy. Most have remained Turkish citizens, and their millions of votes can play a decisive role in the democratic processes of a country considered by most Germans not to be European at all. Yet there is consternation when the ministers of an Ankara government that has become emphatically illiberal seek to address political rallies in the countries to whose economic prosperity their citizens have made a fundamental contribution. The further complicating factor is, of course, Turkey’s current contribution to protecting Europe from further waves of immigrants, following the extraordinary Völkerwanderung of 2015 (see my post of September 2015, based on firsthand observations in Hungary).

    The upshot is that, as the EU approaches 60, it is being torn apart by profound structural divisions. The most sensitive political issue is the free movement of human beings—what Karl Polanyi termed the “fictitious commodity” of labor. We can observe a disconnect between what business leaders and economists have to say on the matter and what societies are ready to accept. The present situation is that the needs of the labor market are met not through controlled migration but through inefficient, chaotic processes that reward illegality and inevitably devalue the labor of indigenous working classes. The social impact (both short-term and over generations) of these and other market-driven mechanisms is far greater than the impact of EU redistribution through regional development policies. At the same time, the general financialization of capitalism (epitomized by the case of Britain) is polarizing all European societies and rendering large sections of the middle classes more vulnerable than ever before. Given these conditions—increasing inequity, inefficiency, and illegitimacy—it is not so surprising that illiberal populists are thriving at the core of the old EU and not just on the periphery.

    European civilization

    The day after the éclat between the prime minister of Poland and the president of France, the BBC (2017) reported that a Belgian politician with some operational responsibility for the Brexit negotiations for the European Parliament wished to accommodate the sincere wishes of many British subjects to retain their current close links to the EU. Like Donald Tusk, Guy Verhofstadt has the credentials of a liberal ex–prime minister. He was apparently thinking of rights to mobility and to vote in European elections. Verhofstadt declared in the BBC radio interview that he had already received a thousand letters from concerned Brits: “Many of the letters began with the appeal that ‘I’m a UK citizen—I don’t want to lose my relationship with Europe and European civilization.’”

    But you don’t need a PhD in anthropology to realize that, if the EU provides significant sources of sociocultural identity at all, these are for the time being restricted to relatively small elites. Liberal cosmopolitans throughout the EU need to consider how to keep the show on the road for the remaining 27 states. As a mobile member of this class myself, possessing only a British passport, conducting a research project based in Germany that is supported by the European Research Council, these questions touch me deeply. I need to understand why, despite the subsidies that South Wales receives through Brussels redistribution, my hometown voted 60 percent for Brexit, and why the village in Hungary that I have studied for 40 years is overwhelmingly supportive of the policies of Prime Minister Orbán. The voices of these people cannot be ignored, or dismissed with lofty disdain as the result of media distortions and a few irresponsible politicians.

    In March 2017, I conclude that what we have in this part of the world, as the EU reaches 60, is not a beacon of light but a travesty of the civilizational hopes that many of my generation attached to Europe in our younger years.

    This article originally appeared on the REALEURASIA Blog on 13 March 2017. Punctuation, spelling, and citations were amended to conform the FocaalBlog style guide.


    Chris Hann is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. He is currently leading the ERC project “Realising Eurasia: Civilisation and Moral Economy in the 21st Century.”


    References

    BBC. 2017. “Britons should keep EU rights post-Brexit: Guy Verhofstadt.” BBC, 10 March. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39228245

    Peter, Laurence. 2017. “EU summit: Poland cries blackmail over subsidies.” BBC, 10 March. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39232136.

  • Museum Worlds

    The Black Lives Matter Movement in the National Museum of African American History and Culture

    by Rod Clare, Elon University

    museum-african-american

    It has been over forty years since the mostly successful conclusion of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. While some may have thought the election of an African-American president in 2008 heralded a “postracial” America, continued violence and oppression has brought about a rebirth of activism, embodied by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Now that nascent movement is preparing to be part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The NMAAHC is located at 1400 Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington DC.

    The museum’s overriding goals are to make people aware of African-American history and to foster understanding and reconciliation about race in America and the world. The fact that the BLM movement is so new gives rise to concerns that the museum is collecting material that is too recent, topical, and potentially controversial. Nevertheless, as the director of the NMAAHC, Lonnie Bunch, has made clear, collecting and promoting such material helps “people to realize … that these are not isolated moments. They are part of a long history—a long history of tragedy, but also a long history of resilience and protest.”1

    Though seemingly radical, Bunch’s approach is not without precedent when it comes to museums representing African-American lives (and deaths). A recent example of this is Kehinde Wiley’s exhibit, Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, presented from February to May 2015, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Superimposing modern blacks onto classical Western art reliefs, Wiley’s work made one patron comment that “the fact that they have an exhibit like this maybe could revitalize that conversation again about Black Lives Matter.”2

    A symposium on “History, Rebellion, and Reconciliation,” held at the Smithsonian in April 2015, discussed in part the fatal shooting of an African-American youth in Ferguson, Missouri, in the previous year. A reoccurring theme at the symposium was that museums could offer neutral “‘safe,’ or even ‘sacred’ spaces, within which visitors could wrestle with difficult and complex topics.”3 Currently, there is no better example of a more controversial and nuanced topic in America than the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The BLM movement, born in 2013, was indirectly created out of decades of frustration within the African-American community over the legal system’s continual exoneration of those who had taken black lives. Often, those killed had transgressed supposed spatial boundaries, an issue in the past (for example, when a black youth “strayed” into a white section of a public beach, and responses by whites instigated the Chicago riots of 1919 that took thirty-eight lives), as much as the present. BLM’s direct genesis came as a result of the not-guilty verdict against George Zimmerman, who stalked and killed Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old black youth who Zimmerman thought was in the wrong part of town in Sanford, Florida. Three black women (Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi), all activists in the African-American community, viewed the verdict with shock, anger, and an underlying belief that something had to be done. Due to their drive and to further instances of black lives being taken, with ensuing rebellions in cities like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, the movement has quickly taken off. Currently the BLM movement has approximately two dozen chapters throughout the United States as well as chapters in Ghana and Canada.

    Implicit in the rise of BLM and its attendant demands and concerns is the long-standing issue of black mobility. That is, where can black people go and when can they go there? This question is not only relevant for African Americans currently but also in their arduous history in America. The idea of black mobility has been a fundamental query since African Americans were brought to America as enslaved people. As such, their movements and associations were always strictly monitored and in many cases, prohibited by laws, slave patrols, and other means. After the end of slavery, this remained the case in the South and indeed in other parts of the country well into the twentieth century through the implementation of Black Codes, Ku Klux Klan terrorism, sharecropping contracts, city zoning laws, segregation, and various other means.

    In fact, it can be said that blacks gained any semblance of true mobility in the country only in the early 1970s when the last host of Civil Rights laws became implemented and enforced. Two generations later, it is fitting that some have described the BLM protests as the new Civil Rights movement. In a sense, BLM seeks to answer the question of whether or not some fifty years later black lives are truly valued as equal to all others in the country. From the U.S. government’s COINTELPRO assassination and disruption programs against black activists in the late 1960s and 1970s to the “stop and frisk” police sweeps since the 1990s and incidents such as the arrest of Sandra Bland in 2015, the curtailment of black movement makes the answer decidedly mixed.

    The relevancy and emotions concerning the lasting effects of what has been labeled America’s “original sin” makes it a timely yet somewhat uncomfortable issue for a museum to embrace. This then begs the question, “what exactly is the purpose of a museum?” The International Council of Museums (ICOM) defines it as “a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.”4 Most people would tend to define a museum as a place where old, if not ancient, objects are put on display to be reviewed in a genteel fashion. This might make it seem that only the elite patronize museums but nothing could be further from the truth. According to the American Alliance of Museums, some 850 million visits occur each year in American museums, more than all major organized sports put together.5

    What Lonnie Bunch, NMAAHC’s director, wants to do is bring a current and controversial topic to the most respected of American museums, the Smithsonian. As Bunch put it in an interview with National Public Radio,

    One of the jobs of a museum is to not only look back, but to look forward. And so once I heard about [the demonstrations] I knew it was very important to make sure that we collected material that might help a curator 20 years from now or 50 years from now look back and tell the story of the changing notions of race in America.6

    Some of the items Bunch prioritizes for collection include banners, posters, gas masks, and a 4’ by 7’ panel of wood used to protect stores during the disturbances, which has printed on it “hands up,” along with cell phone videos and photos. A purpose of the NMAAHC, Bunch notes, is to place racial conflict and historical events in context, to make people realize that there are “moments of possibility,” where fundamental change and progress can be made. There will certainly be more material for the NMAAHC to collect based on the BLM’s new (as of August 2015) ten-point policy directive, Campaign Zero, directed at state and federal policing authorities.7 Though many may not link the two, the BLM movement is linked to the Constitution, for both have at their core the idea “to form a more perfect union.” This ideal, encompassing issues of life, liberty, and freedom of movement, is as radical and patriotic as the symbolism of what it means to be free in America.

     


     

    This exhibit review originally appeared in volume 6, issue 1 of Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies.


     

    Notes

    1. National Public Radio (NPR), “Black Lives Matter: Coming to a Museum Near You?” 1 August 2015, http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/08/01/428085104/black-lives-matter-coming-to-a-museum-near-you. National Public Radio (accessed 12 September 2015).
    1. “At the Brooklyn Museum, Art Helps Show Why Black Lives Matter,” Aljazeera America, http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/2/kehinde-wiley-showat-brooklyn-museum.html (accessed 11 September 2015).
    1. “Why Museums Should be a Safe Space to Discuss Why #BlackLivesMatter,” Smithsonian.com, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/whymuseums-should-be-safe-space-discuss-why-black-lives-matter-180955114/?-no-ist (accessed 12 September 2015).
    1. “Museum Defi nition,” International Council of Museums, http://icom.museum/the-vision/museum-defi nition/ (accessed 12 September 2015).
    1. “Museum Facts,” American Alliance of Museums, http://www.aam-us.org/about-museums/museum-facts (accessed 16 August 2015).NPR, “Black Lives Matter: Coming to a Museum Near You?”
    1. “Solutions Overview,” Solutions: Campaign Zero, http://www.joincampaignzero.org/solutions/#solutionsoverview (accessed 13 September 2015).

  • Berghahn Journals Blog

    Stop by Berghahn Books at ASEH 2017 Conference!

     

    If you are unable to attend, we would like to provide you with a special discount offer. Receive a 25% discount on all Environmental Studies titles found on our website,  Valid through May 2nd, 2017. At checkout, simply enter the discount code ASEH17. Browse our newly released Geography and Environmental Studies 2017/2018 Catalog or visit our website,­ now with new enhanced subject searching features for a complete listing of all published and forthcoming titles.

    Below is a preview of some of our newest releases on display:


     

    Environment in History: International Perspectives Series

    Published in association with the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH), and the Rachel Carson Center (RCC)

    The relationship between human society and the natural world is being studied with increased urgency and interest. Investigating this relationship from historical, cultural, and political perspectives, the monographs and collected volumes in this series showcase high-quality research in environmental history and cognate disciplines in the social and natural sciences. The series strives to bridge both national and disciplinary divides, with a particular emphasis on European, transnational, and comparative research.

     

    INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
    Conservation and Globalization in the Twentieth Century
    Edited by Wolfram Kaiser and Jan-Henrik Meyer

     

    Pollution, resource depletion, habitat management, and climate change are all issues that necessarily transcend national boundaries. Accordingly, they and other environmental concerns have been a particular focus for international organizations from before the First World War to the present day. This volume is the first to comprehensively explore the environmental activities of professional communities, NGOs, regional bodies, the United Nations, and other international organizations during the twentieth century. It follows their efforts to shape debates about environmental degradation, develop binding intergovernmental commitments, and—following the seminal 1972 Conference on the Human Environment—implement and enforce actual international policies.

    Read Introduction: International Organizations and Environmental Protection in the Global Twentieth Century

     

    IN THE NAME OF THE GREAT WORK
    Stalin’s Plan for the Transformation of Nature and its Impact in Eastern Europe
    Edited by Doubravka Olšáková

     

    Beginning in 1948, the Soviet Union launched a series of wildly ambitious projects to implement Joseph Stalin’s vision of a total “transformation of nature.” Intended to increase agricultural yields dramatically, this utopian impulse quickly spread to the newly communist states of Eastern Europe, captivating political elites and war-fatigued publics alike. By the time of Stalin’s death, however, these attempts at “transformation”—which relied upon ideologically corrupted and pseudoscientific theories—had proven a spectacular failure. This richly detailed volume follows the history of such projects in three communist states—Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia—and explores their varied, but largely disastrous, consequences.

    Read Introduction: The Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature and the East European Experience

     

    THE NATURE OF GERMAN IMPERIALISM
    Conservation and the Politics of Wildlife in Colonial East Africa
    Bernhard Gissibl

     

    Today, the East African state of Tanzania is renowned for wildlife preserves such as the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Selous Game Reserve. Yet few know that most of these initiatives emerged from decades of German colonial rule. This book gives the first full account of Tanzanian wildlife conservation up until World War I, focusing upon elephant hunting and the ivory trade as vital factors in a shift from exploitation to preservation that increasingly excluded indigenous Africans. Analyzing the formative interactions between colonial governance and the natural world, The Nature of German Imperialism situates East African wildlife policies within the global emergence of conservationist sensibilities around 1900.

    Read Introduction: Doorsteps in Paradise

     

    DISRUPTED LANDSCAPES
    State, Peasants and the Politics of Land in Postsocialist Romania
    Stefan Dorondel

     

    The fall of the Soviet Union was a transformative event for the national political economies of Eastern Europe, leading not only to new regimes of ownership and development but to dramatic changes in the natural world itself. This painstakingly researched volume focuses on the emblematic case of postsocialist Romania, in which the transition from collectivization to privatization profoundly reshaped the nation’s forests, farmlands, and rivers. From bureaucrats abetting illegal deforestation to peasants opposing government agricultural policies, it reveals the social and political mechanisms by which neoliberalism was introduced into the Romanian landscape.

    Read Introduction: Privatizing the State and the Transformation of the Agrarian Landscape

     

    CYCLING AND RECYCLING
    Histories of Sustainable Practices
    Edited by Ruth Oldenziel and Helmuth Trischler

     

    Technology has long been an essential consideration in public discussions of the environment, with the focus overwhelmingly on creating new tools and techniques. In more recent years, however, activists, researchers, and policymakers have increasingly turned to mobilizing older technologies in their pursuit of sustainability. In fascinating case studies ranging from the Early Modern secondhand trade to utopian visions of human-powered vehicles, the contributions gathered here explore the historical fortunes of two such technologies—bicycling and waste recycling—tracing their development over time and providing valuable context for the policy successes and failures of today.

    Read Introduction: How Old Technologies Became Sustainable: An Introduction

     

    FAULT LINES
    Earthquakes and Urbanism in Modern Italy
    Giacomo Parrinello

    WINNER OF THE 2016 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ITALIAN STUDIES  BOOK AWARD FOR 20TH & 21ST CENTURY CATEGORY

    WINNER OF THE 2016 ANCI-STORIA BOOK PRIZE. AWARDED BY ITALIAN SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF MODERN HISTORY (SISSCO) AND NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ITALIAN MUNICIPALITIES (ANCI)

     

    “an original an innovative study…an effective and fascinating narrative structure…a very rigorous research” · From the motivation of the Anci Storia Award

    Earth’s fractured geology is visible in its fault lines. It is along these lines that earthquakes occur, sometimes with disastrous effects. These disturbances can significantly influence urban development, as seen in the aftermath of two earthquakes in Messina, Italy, in 1908 and in the Belice Valley, Sicily, in 1968. Following the history of these places before and after their destruction, this book explores plans and developments that preceded the disasters and the urbanism that emerged from the ruins. These stories explore fault lines between “rural” and “urban,” “backwardness” and “development,” and “before” and “after,” shedding light on the role of environmental forces in the history of human habitats.

    Read Introduction: Can Earthquakes Speak?

     

    RIVERS, MEMORY, AND NATION-BUILDING
    A History of the Volga and Mississippi Rivers
    Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted

     

    Rivers figure prominently in a nation’s historical memory, and the Volga and Mississippi have special importance in Russian and American cultures. Beginning in the pre-modern world, both rivers served as critical trade routes connecting cultures in an extensive exchange network, while also sustaining populations through their surrounding wetlands and bottomlands. In modern times, “Mother Volga” and the “Father of Waters” became integral parts of national identity, contributing to a sense of Russian and American exceptionalism. Furthermore, both rivers were drafted into service as the means to modernize the nation-state through hydropower and navigation. Despite being forced into submission for modern-day hydrological regimes, the Volga and Mississippi Rivers persist in the collective memory and continue to offer solace, recreation, and sustenance. Through their histories we derive a more nuanced view of human interaction with the environment, which adds another lens to our understanding of the past.

     

    CREATING WILDERNESS
    A Transnational History of the Swiss National Park
    Patrick Kupper
    Translated from the German by Giselle Weiss

    Winner of the Turku Book Prize of the European Society for Environmental History and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.

     

    “Well tied into the literature of national park studies worldwide, this exquisite book… chronicles the unique Swiss experience in creating and managing a national park in which wilderness was nonexistent… Highly recommended.” · Choice

    The history of the Swiss National Park, from its creation in the years before the Great War to the present, is told for the first time in this book. Unlike Yellowstone Park, which embodied close cooperation between state-supported conservation and public recreation, the Swiss park put in place an extraordinarily strong conservation program derived from a close alliance between the state and scientific research. This deliberate reinterpretation of the American idea of the national park was innovative and radical, but its consequences were not limited to Switzerland. The Swiss park became the prime example of a “scientific national park,” thereby influencing the course of national parks worldwide.

     

    MANAGING THE UNKNOWN
    Essays on Environmental Ignorance
    Edited by Frank Uekötter and Uwe Lübken

     

    Information is crucial when it comes to the management of resources. But what if knowledge is incomplete, or biased, or otherwise deficient? How did people define patterns of proper use in the absence of cognitive certainty? Discussing this challenge for a diverse set of resources from fish to rubber, these essays show that deficient knowledge is a far more pervasive challenge in resource history than conventional readings suggest. Furthermore, environmental ignorance does not inevitably shrink with the march of scientific progress: these essays suggest more of a dialectical relationship between knowledge and ignorance that has different shapes and trajectories. With its combination of empirical case studies and theoretical reflection, the essays make a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary debate on the production and resilience of ignorance. At the same time, this volume combines insights from different continents as well as the seas in between and thus sketches outlines of an emerging global resource history.

    Read Introduction: The Social Functions of Ignorance

     

    POWERLESS SCIENCE?
    Science and Politics in a Toxic World
    Edited by Soraya Boudia and Nathalie Jas

     

    “The book will be of interest to the new wave of anthropological studies on toxic contamination and will open the door for researchers and practitioners to actively reimagine what a regulatory apparatus that is de-centered from science might look like.” · Medical Anthropology Quarterly

     

    In spite of decades of research on toxicants, along with the growing role of scientific expertise in public policy and the unprecedented rise in the number of national and international institutions dealing with environmental health issues, problems surrounding contaminants and their effects on health have never appeared so important, sometimes to the point of appearing insurmountable. This calls for a reconsideration of the roles of scientific knowledge and expertise in the definition and management of toxic issues, which this book seeks to do. It looks at complex historical, social, and political dynamics, made up of public controversies, environmental and health crises, economic interests, and political responses, and demonstrates how and to what extent scientific knowledge about toxicants has been caught between scientific, economic, and political imperatives.

    Read Introduction: Greatness and Misery of Science in a Toxic World

     

    CIVILIZING NATURE
    National Parks in Global Historical Perspective
    Edited by Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler and Patrick Kupper

     

    “The book meets its aim of moving conservation scholarship in a new direction by providing analysis of the ‘national’’ (and not just the ‘park’) part of national parks.” · The Public Historian

    National parks are one of the most important and successful institutions in global environmentalism. Since their first designation in the United States in the 1860s and 1870s they have become a global phenomenon. The development of these ecological and political systems cannot be understood as a simple reaction to mounting environmental problems, nor can it be explained by the spread of environmental sensibilities. Shifting the focus from the usual emphasis on national parks in the United States, this volume adopts an historical and transnational perspective on the global geography of protected areas and its changes over time. It focuses especially on the actors, networks, mechanisms, arenas, and institutions responsible for the global spread of the national park and the associated utilization and mobilization of asymmetrical relationships of power and knowledge, contributing to scholarly discussions of globalization and the emergence of global environmental institutions and governance.

    Read Chapter 1. Unpacking Yellowstone: The American National Park in Global Perspective


    Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology Series

    Interest in environmental anthropology and ethnobiological knowledge has grown steadily in recent years, reflecting national and international concern about the environment and developing research priorities. `Studies in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology’ is an international series based at the University of Kent at Canterbury. It is a vehicle for publishing up-to-date monographs and edited works on particular issues, themes, places or peoples which focus on the interrelationship between society, culture and the environment.

     

    INDIGENEITY AND THE SACRED
    Indigenous Revival and the Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Americas
    Edited by Fausto Sarmiento and Sarah Hitchner

     

    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 rurality, environmental change in indigenous territories, and new conservation management schemes. Indigeneity and the Sacred explores how these struggles for land, rights, and political power are embedded within physical landscapes, and how indigenous identity is reformed as globalizing forces simultaneously threaten and promote the notion of indigeneity.

     

    Volume 20 New in Paperback

    BEYOND THE LENS OF CONSERVATION
    Malagasy and Swiss Imaginations of One Another
    Eva Keller

     

    “This book will make a great addition to undergraduate courses on Anthropology of the Environment and/or Development or Political Ecology. Keller’s highly readable style, in turn, will satisfy both those new to the subject and scholars already familiar with the topics of conservation practice in Madagascar. It could even become an important resource for those conservation experts who are trying – and (as the study shows) failing – to establish connections between distant places and people.” · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

    The global agenda of Nature conservation has led to the creation of the Masoala National Park in Madagascar and to an exhibit in its support at a Swiss zoo, the centerpiece of which is a mini-rainforest replica. Does such a cooperation also trigger a connection between ordinary people in these two far-flung places? The study investigates how the Malagasy farmers living at the edge of the park perceive the conservation enterprise and what people in Switzerland see when looking towards Madagascar through the lens of the zoo exhibit. It crystallizes that the stories told in either place have almost nothing in common: one focuses on power and history, the other on morality and progress. Thus, instead of building a bridge, Nature conservation widens the gap between people in the North and the South.

    Read Introduction

     

    SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
    An Appraisal from the Gulf Region
    Edited by Paul Sillitoe

     

    With growing evidence of unsustainable use of the world’s resources, such as hydrocarbon reserves, and related environmental pollution, as in alarming climate change predictions, sustainable development is arguably the prominent issue of the 21st century. This volume gives a wide ranging introduction focusing on the arid Gulf region, where the challenges of sustainable development are starkly evident. The Gulf relies on non-renewable oil and gas exports to supply the world’s insatiable CO2 emitting energy demands, and has built unsustainable conurbations with water supplies dependent on energy hungry desalination plants and deep aquifers pumped beyond natural replenishment rates. Sustainable Development has an interdisciplinary focus, bringing together university faculty and government personnel from the Gulf, Europe, and North America — including social and natural scientists, environmentalists and economists, architects and planners — to discuss topics such as sustainable natural resource use and urbanization, industrial and technological development, economy and politics, history and geography.

    Read Introduction: Sustainable Development in the Gulf: Some Introductory Remarks


     

    Related Titles:

    New in Paperback

    NIMBY IS BEAUTIFUL
    Cases of Local Activism and Environmental Innovation around the World
    Edited by Carol Hager and Mary Alice Haddad

     

    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) protests are often criticized as parochial and short-lived, generating no lasting influence on broader processes related to environmental politics. This volume offers a different perspective. Drawing on cases from around the globe, it demonstrates that NIMBY protests, although always arising from a local concern in a particular community, often result in broader political, social, and technological change. Chapters include cases from Europe, North America, and Asia, engaging with the full political spectrum from established democracies to non-democratic countries. Regardless of political setting, NIMBY movements can have a positive and proactive role in generating innovative solutions to local as well as transnational environmental issues. Furthermore, those solutions are now serving as models for communities and countries around the world.

    Read Introduction: A New Look at NIMBY

     

    Ecocriticism and the Environmental Sensibility of New Hollywood
    Adam O’Brien

     

    In their bold experimentation and bracing engagement with culture and politics, the “New Hollywood” films of the late 1960s and early 1970s are justly celebrated contributions to American cinematic history. Relatively unexplored, however, has been the profound environmental sensibility that characterized movies such as The Wild Bunch, Chinatown, and Nashville. This brisk and engaging study explores how many hallmarks of New Hollywood filmmaking, such as the increased reliance on location shooting and the rejection of American self-mythologizing, made the era such a vividly “grounded” cinematic moment. Synthesizing a range of narrative, aesthetic, and ecocritical theories, it offers a genuinely fresh perspective on one of the most studied periods in film history.

    Read Introduction

     

    CONTEXTUALIZING DISASTER
    Edited by Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller

    NEW SERIES: Volume 1, Catastrophes in Context

     

    Contextualizing Disaster offers a comparative analysis of six recent “highly visible” disasters and several slow-burning, “hidden,” crises that include typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, chemical spills, and the unfolding consequences of rising seas and climate change. The book argues that, while disasters are increasingly represented by the media as unique, exceptional, newsworthy events, it is a mistake to think of disasters as isolated or discrete occurrences. Rather, building on insights developed by political ecologists, this book makes a compelling argument for understanding disasters as transnational and global phenomena.

    Read Introduction


    BERGHAHN JOURNALS

     

    Advances in Research

     

    Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences.

     

    Featured Article:

    Less Than One But More Than Many: Anthropocene as Science Fiction and Scholarship-in-the-MakingHeather Anne Swanson, Nils Bubandt and Anna Tsing

     

     

    Nature and Culture (NC) is a forum for the international community of scholars and practitioners to present, discuss, and evaluate critical issues and themes related to the historical and contemporary relationships that societies, civilizations, empires, regions, and nation-states have with nature.

     

    Featured Article:

    The Shifting Topology of Environmentalism: Human-Environment Relationships and Conceptual Trends in Two North American Organizational Histories

    Anna J. Willow

     

    Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

     

    Sibirica is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal covering all aspects of the region and relations to neighboring areas, such as Central Asia, East Asia, and North America. The journal publishes articles, research reports, conference and book reviews on history, politics, economics, geography, cultural studies, anthropology, and environmental studies.

     

    Featured Article:

    The Fate of Fishing in Tsarist Russia: The Human-Fish Nexus in Lake Baikal

    Nicholas B. Breyfogle

  • Berghahn Journals Blog

    Visit Berghahn Books at the SfAA Annual Meeting 2017!

     

    If you are unable to attend, we would like to provide you with a special discount offer. Receive a 25% discount on all Anthropology titles found on our website, valid through May 1st, 2017. At checkout, simply enter the discount code SfAA17. Visit our website to browse our newly published interactive online Anthropology & Sociology Catalog or use the new enhanced subject searching features for a complete listing of all published and forthcoming titles.

     

    Here is a preview of some of our newest releases on display:


     

    The UK Experience
    Edited by Jeremy MacClancy

     

    These days an increasing number of social anthropologists do not find employment within academia. Rather, many find jobs with commercial organizations or in government, where they run research teams and create policy. These scholars provide a much-needed social dimension to government thinking and practice. Anthropology and Public Service shows how anthropologists can set new agendas, and revise old ones in the public sector. Written for scholars and students of various social sciences, these chapters include discussions of anthropologists’ work with the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence, the UK Border Agency, and the Cabinet Office, and their contributions to prison governance.

    Read Chapter 1. Introduction
: Anthropology and Public Service

     

    REDESCRIBING RELATIONS
    Strathernian Conversations on Ethnography, Knowledge and Politics
    Edited by Ashley Lebner
    Afterword by Marilyn Strathern

     

    Marilyn Strathern is among the most creative and celebrated contemporary anthropologists, and her work draws interest from across the humanities and social sciences. Redescribing Relations brings some of Strathern’s most committed and renowned readers into conversation in her honour – especially on themes she has rarely engaged. The volume not only deepens our understanding of Strathern’s work, it also offers models of how to extend her relational insights to new terrains. With a comprehensive introduction, a complete list of Strathern’s publications and a historic interview published in English for the first time, this is an invaluable resource for Strathern’s old and new interlocutors alike.

     

    ECONOMY AND RITUAL
    Studies in Postsocialist Transformations
    Edited by Stephen Gudeman and Chris Hann

    Volume 1, Max Planck Studies in Anthropology and Economy

     

    According to accepted wisdom, rational practices and ritual action are opposed. Rituals drain wealth from capital investment and draw on a mode of thought different from practical ideas. The studies in this volume contest this view. Comparative, historical, and contemporary, the six ethnographies extend from Macedonia to Kyrgyzstan. Each one illuminates the economic and ritual changes in an area as it emerged from socialism and (re-)entered market society. Cutting against the idea that economy only means markets and that market action exhausts the meaning of economy, the studies show that much of what is critical for a people’s economic life takes place outside markets and hinges on ritual, understood as the negation of the everyday world of economising.

    Read Introduction: Ritual, Economy and the Institutions of the Base


    Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology Series

    The books published in this series offer important insight into these developments by examining the expanding role of anthropologists practicing their discipline outside academia as well as exploring the ethnographic, methodological and theoretical contribution of anthropology, within and outside academia, to issues of public concern.

     

    Volume 11

    THEORETICAL SCHOLARSHIP AND APPLIED PRACTICE
    Edited by Sarah Pink, Vaike Fors, and Tom O’Dell

     

    Academics across the globe are being urged by universities and research councils to do research that impacts the world beyond academia. Yet to date there has been very little reflection amongst scholars and practitioners in these fields concerning the relationship between the theoretical and engaged practices that emerge through such forms of scholarship. Theoretical Scholarship and Applied Practice investigates the ways in which theoretical research has been incorporated into recent applied practices across the social sciences and humanities. This collection advances our understanding of the ethics, values, opportunities and challenges that emerge in the making of engaged and interdisciplinary scholarship.

    Read Editor’s Introduction: Theoretical Scholarship and Applied Practice: opportunities and challenges of working in the in-between

     

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

     

    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

     

    MEDIA, ANTHROPOLOGY AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
    Edited by Sarah Pink and Simone Abram

     

    Contemporary anthropology is done in a world where social and digital media are playing an increasingly significant role, where anthropological and arts practices are often intertwined in museum and public intervention contexts, and where anthropologists are encouraged to engage with mass media. Because anthropologists are often expected and inspired to ensure their work engages with public issues, these opportunities to disseminate work in new ways and to new publics simultaneously create challenges as anthropologists move their practice into unfamiliar collaborative domains and expose their research to new forms of scrutiny. In this volume, contributors question whether a fresh public anthropology is emerging through these new practices.

    Read Introduction: Mediating Publics and Anthropology: An Introduction

     

    PUBLIC ANTHROPOLOGY IN A BORDERLESS WORLD
    Edited by Sam Beck and Carl A. Maida

     

    Anthropologists have acted as experts and educators on the nature and ways of life of people worldwide, working to understand the human condition in broad comparative perspective. As a discipline, anthropology has often advocated — and even defended — the cultural integrity, authenticity, and autonomy of societies across the globe. Public anthropology today carries out the discipline’s original purpose, grounding theories in lived experience and placing empirical knowledge in deeper historical and comparative frameworks. This is a vitally important kind of anthropology that has the goal of improving the modern human condition by actively engaging with people to make changes through research, education, and political action.

    Read Introduction


    Higher Education in Critical Perspective: Practices and Policies Series

    Around the globe, universities are being reformed to supply two crucial ingredients of a purported ‘global knowledge economy’: research and graduates. Higher education’s aims, concepts, structures and practices are all in process of change. This series provides in-depth analyses of these changes and how those involved – managers, academics and students – are experimenting with critical pedagogies, reflecting upon the best organization of their own institutions, and engaging with public policy debates about higher education in the 21st Century.

     

    CREATING A NEW PUBLIC UNIVERSITY AND REVIVING DEMOCRACY
    Action Research in Higher Education
    Morten Levin and Davydd J. Greenwood

     

    In Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy, Morten Levin and Davydd Greenwood add their voices to the burgeoning catalogue of critiques of the impact of neoliberal policies on the quality of higher education in Europe and the US. But unlike many such contributions, this work draws heavily on the change management literature and offers a cornucopia of compelling and well-grounded ideas for reform of the academy.” · Times Higher Education

    Based on extensive experience with Action Research-based organizational change in universities and private sector organizations, Levin and Greenwood analyze the wreckage created by neoliberal academic administrators and policymakers. The authors argue that public universities must be democratically organized to perform their educational and societal functions. The book closes by laying out Action Research processes that can transform public universities back into institutions that promote academic freedom, integrity, and democracy.

    Read Introduction: Democracy and Public Universities

     

    LEARNING UNDER NEOLIBERALISM
    Ethnographies of Governance in Higher Education
    Edited by Susan Brin Hyatt, Boone W. Shear, and Susan Wright

     

    “All in all, Learning under Neoliberalism is an important contribution to the critical studies of HE transformations taking place in the Western world today. It goes some way in helping us figure out the ways the university as an institution and the student as a telling figure are changing, for better or worse, in neoliberal times. Notwithstanding the Euro-American focus, this volume has much to offer in terms of inspiring similar kinds of endeavours in other geographical and sociocultural contexts. It stands out because of the rich original ethnography and critical thoughts it offers. It is very well-edited and/or written, a delightful read, and will likely make readers feel they are taking part in an engaging conversation.” · Social Anthropology

    As part of the neoliberal trends toward public-private partnerships, universities all over the world have forged more intimate relationships with corporate interests and more closely resemble for-profit corporations in both structure and practice. These transformations, accompanied by new forms of governance, produce new subject-positions among faculty and students and enable new approaches to teaching, curricula, research, and everyday practices. The contributors to this volume use ethnographic methods to investigate the multi-faceted impacts of neoliberal restructuring, while reporting on their own pedagogical responses, at universities in the United States, Europe, and New Zealand.

    Read Introduction: Higher Education, Engaged Anthropology, and Hegemonic Struggle


    RESEARCH METHODS FOR ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES OF FOOD AND NUTRITION Volumes I-III
    Edited by Janet Chrzan and John Brett

    BUY ALL THREE VOLUMES FOR 20% DISCOUNT

    Published in Association with the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) and in Collaboration with Rachel Black and Leslie Carlin

    These volumes offer a comprehensive reference for students and established scholars interested in food and nutrition research in Nutritional and Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, Socio-Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology, Food Studies and Applied Public Health.

     

    FOOD RESEARCH
    Nutritional Anthropology and Archaeological Methods
    Edited by Janet Chrzan and John Brett

     

    Biocultural and archaeological research on food, past and present, often relies on very specific, precise, methods for data collection and analysis. These are presented here in a broad-based review. Individual chapters provide opportunities to think through the adoption of methods by reviewing the history of their use along with a discussion of research conducted using those methods. A case study from the author’s own work is included in each chapter to illustrate why the methods were adopted in that particular case along with abundant additional resources to further develop and explore those methods.

    Read Introduction and Research Design

     

    FOOD CULTURE
    Anthropology, Linguistics and Food Studies
    Edited by Janet Chrzan and John Brett

     

    This volume offers a comprehensive guide to methods used in the sociocultural, linguistic and historical research of food use. This volume is unique in offering food-related research methods from multiple academic disciplines, and includes methods that bridge disciplines to provide a thorough review of best practices. In each chapter, a case study from the author’s own work is to illustrate why the methods were adopted in that particular case along with abundant additional resources to further develop and explore the methods.

     

    FOOD HEALTH
    Nutrition, Technology, and Public Health
    Edited by Janet Chrzan and John Brett

     

    Nutritional Anthropology and public health research and programming have employed similar methodologies for decades; many anthropologists are public health practitioners while many public health practitioners have been trained as medical or biological anthropologists. Recognizing such professional connections, this volume provides in-depth analysis and comprehensive review of methods necessary to design, plan, implement and analyze public health programming using anthropological best practices. To illustrates the rationale for use of particular methods, each chapter elaborates a case study from the author’s own work, showing why particular methods were adopted in each case.


    FORTHCOMING

     

    Transactions, Relations, and Persons
    Edited by Lisette Josephides and Anne Sigfrid Grønseth

    Volume 31, Methodology & History in Anthropology

     

    Anthropology lies at the heart of the human sciences, tackling questions having to do with the foundations, ethics, and deployment of the knowledge crucial to human lives. The Ethics of Knowledge-Creation focuses on how knowledge is relationally created, how local knowledge can be transmuted into ‘universal knowledge’, and how the transaction and consumption of knowledge also monitors its subsequent production. This volume examines the ethical implications of various kinds of relations that are created in the process of ‘transacting knowledge’ and investigates how these transactions are also situated according to broader contradictions or synergies between ethical, epistemological, and political concerns.

     

    Edited by Garth Lean, Emma Waterton, and Russell Staiff

     

    Travel and Representation is a timely volume of essays that explores and re-examines the various convergences between literature, art, photography, television, cinema and travel. The essays do so in a way that appreciates the entanglement of representations and travel at a juncture in theoretical work that recognizes the limits of representation, things that lie outside of representation and the continuing power of representation. The emphasis is on the myriad ways travelers/scholars employ representation in their writing/analyses as they re-think the intersections between travelers, fields of representation, imagination, emotions and corporeal experiences in the past, the present and the future.

     

     


    Previously Published

     

    CONTEXTUALIZING DISASTER
    Edited by Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller

    NEW SERIES: Volume 1, Catastrophes in Context

     

    Contextualizing Disaster offers a comparative analysis of six recent “highly visible” disasters and several slow-burning, “hidden,” crises that include typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, chemical spills, and the unfolding consequences of rising seas and climate change. The book argues that, while disasters are increasingly represented by the media as unique, exceptional, newsworthy events, it is a mistake to think of disasters as isolated or discrete occurrences. Rather, building on insights developed by political ecologists, this book makes a compelling argument for understanding disasters as transnational and global phenomena.

    Read Introduction

     

    ENDURING UNCERTAINTY
    Deportation, Punishment and Everyday Life
    Ines Hasselberg

    Volume 17, Dislocations

     

    Focusing on the lived experience of immigration policy and processes, this volume provides fascinating insights into the deportation process as it is felt and understood by those subjected to it. The author presents a rich and innovative ethnography of deportation and deportability experienced by migrants convicted of criminal offenses in England and Wales. The unique perspectives developed here – on due process in immigration appeals, migrant surveillance and control, social relations and sense of self, and compliance and resistance – are important for broader understandings of border control policy and human rights.

    Enduring Uncertainty: Deportation, Punishment and Everyday Life by Ines Hasselberg is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

    Read Introduction

     

    Edited by Catherine Dolan and Dinah Rajak
    Afterword by Robert J. Foster

    Volume 18, Dislocations

     

    The Anthropology of Corporate Social Responsibility explores the meanings, practices, and impact of corporate social and environmental responsibility across a range of transnational corporations and geographical locations (Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Peru, South Africa, the UK, and the USA). The contributors examine the expectations, frictions and contradictions the CSR movement is generating and addressing key issues such as the introduction of new forms of management, control, and discipline through ethical and environmental governance or the extent to which corporate responsibility challenges existing patterns of inequality rather than generating new geographies of inclusion and exclusion.

    Read Introduction: Towards an Anthropology of Corporate Social Responsibility

     

    TIME AND THE FIELD
    Edited by Steffen Dalsgaard and Morten Nielsen
    Afterword by George Marcus

     

    In recent years, ethnographic fieldwork has been subjected to analytical scrutiny in anthropology. Ethnography remains anchored in tropes of spatiality with the association between field and fieldworker characterized by distances in space. With updates on the discussion of contemporary requirements to ethnographic research practice, Time and the Field rethinks the notion of the field in terms of time rather than space. Such an approach not only implies a particular attention to the methodology of studying local (social and ontological) imaginaries of time, but furthermore destabilitizes the relationship between fieldworker and fieldsite, allowing it to emerge as a dynamic and ever-shifting constellation.

    Read Introduction: Time and the Field

     

    Genres and Contexts in the Twenty-First Century
    Edited by Helena Wulff

     

    Writing is crucial to anthropology, but which genres are anthropologists expected to master in the 21st century? This book explores how anthropological writing shapes the intellectual content of the discipline and academic careers. First, chapters identify the different writing genres and contexts anthropologists actually engage with. Second, this book argues for the usefulness and necessity of taking seriously the idea of writing as a craft and of writing across and within genres in new ways. Although academic writing is an anthropologist’s primary genre, they also write in many others, from drafting administrative texts and filing reports to composing ethnographically inspired journalism and fiction.

    Read Introducing the Anthropologist as Writer: Across and Within Genres


    BERGHAHN JOURNALS

     

    Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

     

    Anthropology in Action is a peer-reviewed journal publishing articles, commentaries, research reports, and book reviews in applied anthropology. Contributions reflect the use of anthropological training in policy- or practice-oriented work and foster the broader application of these approaches to practical problems. The journal provides a forum for debate and analysis for anthropologists working both inside and outside academia and aims to promote communication amongst practitioners, academics and students of anthropology in order to advance the cross-fertilisation of expertise and ideas.

     

     

    Advances in Research

     

    Publishing peer-reviewed articles by international scholars, Conflict and Society expands the field of conflict studies by using ethnographic inquiry to establish new fields of research and interdisciplinary collaboration. An opening special section presents general articles devoted to a topic or region followed by a section featuring conceptual debates on key problems in the study of organized violence. Review articles and topical overviews offer navigational assistance across the vast and varied terrain of conflict research, and comprehensive reviews of new books round out each volume. With special attention paid to ongoing debates on the politics and ethics of conflict studies research, including military-academic cooperation, Conflict and Society will be an essential forum for scholars, researchers, and policy makers in the fields of anthropology, sociology, political science, and development studies.

     

    Advances in Research

     

    Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences. The publication will appeal to academic, research, and policy-making audiences alike.

    See Also: EnviroSociety, a multimedia site that provides insights into contemporary socio-ecological issues with posts from top scholars in the social sciences that engage readers interested in current environmental topics.

     

    Advances in Research

     

    Museum Worlds: Advances in Research aims to trace and comment on major regional, theoretical, methodological, and topical themes and debates, and to encourage comparison of museum theories, practices, and developments in different global settings. Each issue includes a conversation piece on a current topic, as well as peer-reviewed scholarly articles and review articles, book and exhibition reviews, and news on developments in museum studies and related curricula in different parts of the world. Drawing on the expertise and networks of a global Editorial Board of senior scholars and museum practitioners, the journal both challenges and develops the core concepts that link different disciplinary perspectives on museums by bringing new voices into ongoing debates and discussions. Articles are of exceptional quality and general interest from around the world.

    See Also: Museum Worlds: Companion Site, a site that aims to complement the journal by bringing current museum themes, practices, and developments to the forefront of global discussions in the field of Museum Studies.

     

    Advances in Research

     

    Religion and Society: Advances in Research responds to the need for a rigorous, in-depth review of current work in the expanding sub-discipline of the anthropology of religion. In addition, this important, peer-reviewed annual aims to provide a dynamic snapshot of developments in the study of religion as a whole and encourages interdisciplinary perspectives.

    Each volume contains a Portrait section that profiles a senior scholar of religion, with invited essays on the scholar’s work by authorities in their respective subfields. In the Articles section, contributions provide overviews of a given topic with critical, “positioned” views of the subject and of relevant research. In the Debate section, scholars of religion reflect on a high-profile issue or event, and the Author Meets Critics section invites discussants to comment on a recently published volume, followed by a response from the author. Other sections cover teaching, news, and—vitally—reviews of new books and ethnographic films.

     

     

    Nature and Culture is a forum for the international community of scholars and practitioners to present, discuss, and evaluate critical issues and themes related to the historical and contemporary relationships that societies, civilizations, empires, regions, nation-states have with Nature. The journal contains a serious interpolation of theory, methodology, criticism, and concrete observation forming the basis of this discussion.
    The mission of the journal is to move beyond specialized disciplinary enclaves and mind-sets toward broader syntheses that encompass time, space and structures in understanding the Nature-Culture relationship. The Journal furthermore provides an outlet for the identification of knowledge gaps in our understanding of this relationship.

     

     

     

    Due to the dramatic changes in global affairs related to regional integration, studies can no longer be limited to the analysis of economic competitiveness and political power in global geopolitics. Regions and Cohesion is a needed platform for academics and practitioners alike to disseminate both empirical research and normative analysis of topics related to human and environmental security, social cohesion, and governance. It covers themes, such as the management of strategic resources, environment and society, social risk and marginalization, disasters and policy responses, violence, war and urban security, the quality of democracy, development, public health, immigration, human rights, organized crime, and cross-border human security.

     

     

  • Berghahn Journals Blog

    World Water Day

     

    World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22. The day focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. For an opportunity to learn more about water related issues and how to take action to make a difference please visit www.worldwaterday.org

    In recognition of this year’s World Water Day, Berghahn Books is happy to offer 25% discount on all relevant titles. For the next 30 days, visit our webpage and enter code WWD17 at checkout. Offer valid until April 21, 2017.

     

     


    ACCESS THESE ARTICLES FOR FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME!

    To mark this year’s observance we’re offering access to select articles from our journals Regions and Cohesion and Nature and Culture

     

    Available Until March 29!

     

    Bringing water challenges to target groups: French water utilities within the European legislative context

    Céline Hervé-Bazin

    Regions and Cohesion (Volume 5, Issue 2)

     

    Perceptions of Water Quality in First Nations Communities: Exploring the Role of Context

    Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Diane Dupont and Blair Carter

    Nature and Culture (Volume 10, Issue 2)


    BOOKS

    Anthropology in Fluid Environments
    Edited by Kirsten Hastrup and Frida Hastrup

    Volume 3, Ethnography, Theory, Experiment

     

    In one form or another, water participates in the making and unmaking of people’s lives, practices, and stories. Contributors’ detailed ethnographic work analyzes the union and mutual shaping of water and social lives. This volume discusses current ecological disturbances and engages in a world where unbounded relationalities and unsettled frames of orientation mark the lives of all, anthropologists included. Water emerges as a fluid object in more senses than one, challenging anthropologists to foreground the mutable character of their objects of study and to responsibly engage with the generative role of cultural analysis.

    Read Introduction: Waterworlds at Large

     

    THE SOCIAL LIFE OF WATER
    Edited by John Richard Wagner

     

    “The Social Life of Water successfully addresses a wide range of issues concerning the meanings and uses of water in relation to culture, society, and development. As a volume, it shows how a focus on social life opens up new analytical possibilities of broader relevance to the study of water. Moreover, many of the chapters explore contexts and regions not previously covered in work on these topics.” · Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute

    Relying on first-hand ethnographic research, the contributors to this volume examine the social life of water in diverse settings and explore the impacts of commodification, urbanization, and technology on the availability and quality of water supplies. Each case study speaks to a local set of issues, but the overall perspective is global, with representation from all continents.

     

    GARDENING THE WORLD
    Agency, Identity and the Ownership of Water
    Veronica Strang

     

    “An interesting example of how to use the technique of ethnographic juxtaposition to highlight multiplicity… The experimental and evocative style… would make this book especially useful for undergraduate teaching, for courses on the comparative study of water, and for the examination of Australian history and politics”. · American Anthropologist

    Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two major Australian river catchments (the Mitchell River in Cape York, and the Brisbane River in southeast Queensland), this book examines their major water using and managing groups: indigenous communities, farmers, industries, recreational and domestic water users, and environmental organisations. It explores the issues that shape their different beliefs, values and practices in relation to water, and considers the specifically cultural or sub-cultural meanings that they encode in their material surroundings. Through an analysis of each group’s diverse efforts to ‘garden the world’, it provides insights into the complexities of human-environmental relationships.

     

    A Melanesian Island Ethnography
    Katharina Schneider

     

    “The evocative description and level of scholarship make Schneider’s work a fine example of current ethnography which also provides valuable detail about how ethnographers do their work. This is a highly readable book for those with an interest in the region, a fascination with relatedness, and for anthropologists interested in accessing a written account of how useful ethnographic material might be collected.” · JRAI

    Based on detailed ethnography, this study engages current Melanesian anthropological theory and argues that movements are the Pororans’ predominant mode of objectifying relations. Movements on Pororan Island are to its inhabitants what roads are to ‘mainlanders’ on the nearby larger island, and what material objects and images are to others elsewhere in Melanesia.

     

    WATER – A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
    United Nations/WWAP
    Foreword by Kofi Annan
    Prologue by Ko’chiro Matsuura
    Preface by Gordon Young

     

    “…an usually readable and well-crafted example [within the genre]. It is truly impressive in its coverage of topics ranging from ecological assessment…to institutional arrangements…to a series of water-plus analyses…Unlike many Large World Reports, it also exhibits a refreshing degree of statistical good sense…The narrative sections are substantive, generally insightful, and richly illustrated with appropriate illustrations, charts, and statistical information.”  ·  Technology and Culture

    Drawing on an extensive database, expert analysis, case studies, and hundreds of graphic elements, it is the most comprehensive undertaking to date of freshwater assessment, providing a mechanism for monitoring changes in the resource and its management and progress towards achieving development targets, particularly the Millennium Development Goals.

     

    WATER FOR PEOPLE – WATER FOR LIFE
    Published in association with the United Nations
    With a foreword by Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

     

    “The book is well illustrated and contains abundant data tables … In general, the writing quality between the chapters is even and of high quality … Highly recommended.” · Choice

    Based on the collective inputs of 23 United Nations agencies and convention secretariats, this Report offers a global overview of the state of the world’s freshwater resources. It is part of an on-going assessment process to develop policies and help with their implementation as well as to measure any progress towards achieving sustainable use of water resources.


    Of relevant interest: 

    A History of the Volga and Mississippi Rivers
    Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted

    Volume 5, Environment in History: International Perspectives

     

    “The book will serve as a wellspring for more specific comparisons and as a methodological example for future scholarship.” · Choice

    Rivers figure prominently in a nation’s historical memory, and the Volga and Mississippi have special importance in Russian and American cultures. Beginning in the pre-modern world, both rivers served as critical trade routes connecting cultures in an extensive exchange network, while also sustaining populations through their surrounding wetlands and bottomlands. In modern times, “Mother Volga” and the “Father of Waters” became integral parts of national identity, contributing to a sense of Russian and American exceptionalism. Furthermore, both rivers were drafted into service as the means to modernize the nation-state through hydropower and navigation. Despite being forced into submission for modern-day hydrological regimes, the Volga and Mississippi Rivers persist in the collective memory and continue to offer solace, recreation, and sustenance. Through their histories we derive a more nuanced view of human interaction with the environment, which adds another lens to our understanding of the past.

     

    Recovery in the Wake of the Tsunami in a Tamil Fishing Village
    Frida Hastrup

    Volume 16, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

     

    The Asian tsunami in December 2004 severely affected people in coastal regions all around the Indian Ocean. This book provides the first in-depth ethnography of the disaster and its effects on a fishing village in Tamil Nadu, India. The author explores how the villagers have lived with the tsunami in the years succeeding it and actively worked to gradually regain a sense of certainty and confidence in their environment in the face of disempowering disaster. What appears is a remarkable local recovery process in which the survivors have interwoven the tsunami and the everyday in a series of subtle practices and theorisations, resulting in a complex and continuous recreation of village life. By showing the composite nature of the tsunami as an event, the book adds new theoretical insight into the anthropology of natural disaster and recovery.

     


    JOURNALS

     

    Advances in Research

    Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences. The publication will appeal to academic, research, and policy-making audiences alike.

     

     

     

    Nature and Culture

    Nature and Culture (NC) is a forum for the international community of scholars and practitioners to present, discuss, and evaluate critical issues and themes related to the historical and contemporary relationships that societies, civilizations, empires, regions, nation-states have with Nature. The journal contains a serious interpolation of theory, methodology, criticism, and concrete observation forming the basis of this discussion.

     

     

     

     

     

    Regions and Cohesion

    Due to the dramatic changes in global affairs related to regional integration, studies can no longer be limited to the analysis of economic competitiveness and political power in global geopolitics. Regions and Cohesion is a needed platform for academics and practitioners alike to disseminate both empirical research and normative analysis of topics related to human and environmental security, social cohesion, and governance. It covers themes, such as the management of strategic resources, environment and society, social risk and marginalization, disasters and policy responses, violence, war and urban security, the quality of democracy, development, public health, immigration, human rights, organized crime, and cross-border human security.

     

     

     

     

Top Article Downloads


  1. Under the Shadow of Empire: Indigenous Girls' Presencing as Decolonizing Force
    Girlhood Studies, vol. 7, #1, Summer 2014
  2. Forget Dawkins: Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt
    Social Analysis, vol. 59, #2, Summer 2015
  3. Blaming Sexualization for Sexting
    Girlhood Studies, vol. 7, #1, Summer 2014
  4. Out of the Closet? German Patriotism and Soccer Mania
    German Politics & Society, vol.24, #3, Autumn 2006
  5. Rape Culture and the Feminist Politics of Social Media
    Girlhood Studies, vol. 7, #1, Summer 2014
  6. Less Than One But More Than Many: Anthropocene as Science Fiction and Scholarship-in-the-Making
    Environment and Society, vol. 6, #1, Summer 2015
  7. Staging "small, small incidents": Dissent, gender, and militarization among young people in Kashmir
    Focaal, vol. 2011, #60, Summer 2011
  8. An Inquiry into the Roots of the Modern Concept of Development
    Contributions to the History of Concepts, vol. 4, #2, Autumn 2008
  9. Misunderstood, misrepresented, contested? Anthropological knowledge production in question
    Focaal, vol. 2015, #72, Summer 2015
  10. Theatres of virtue: Collaboration, consensus, and the social life of corporate social responsibility
    Focaal, vol. 2011, #60, Summer 2011

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Berghahn Journals New Online Platform

Berghahn Journals is pleased to announce the launch of our new journals online platform starting April 1. We will be working with all subscribers to make the transition process as seamless as possible and will contact you in the coming weeks with more information about access procedures.

March 31 is the last day Berghahn will be hosting its journal content on IngentaConnect. Starting April 1, all Berghahn journal content will be hosted by PubFactory on the new Berghahn Online platform.

Berghahn Online will offer a high-performing platform with the following innovative features and services in addition to those already offered to Institutional Users

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  • Seamless content authorization based on institutional IP address
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World Water Day

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