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Superfoods and superfruits are terms we have increasingly become accustomed to. Although these terms are variably defined (click here, or here, or here), as their names suggests, these are foods that are marketed as being nutrient rich. In fact, one website touts these foods as “ancient abundant energy,” claiming that they provide the “planet’s best and most powerful” sources of “natural nutrition.” The “superfood” term does not originate from dietetics or nutritional science but is in fact widely understood as a clever marketing tool. Despite the relative lack of evidence to support claims of these foods as the “most powerful,” the superfood trend remains a powerful attracting force. For example, you would be hard-pressed to find someone willing to pay more than $5 for a blueberry smoothie, but if you called it a “superfood smoothie,” my guess is that many urban gym goers would be convinced that their breakfast shake is providing them with all the nutrients and energy that they need for the day, and therefor they might not be bothered by a higher price tag. If I were reading this right now, I would be asking “And so, if a wealthy urbanite wants to spend $8 on a smoothie, how is this an issue that should feature on a blog focused on environment and society?”
Marketing food items in such a way, as an “ancient abundant energy” source, is problematic. Two major issues arise in the marketing of these products; the first is the fact that such products are not “discovered” by the clever companies marketing these products. In fact, the use of many of these products emerges from the local ecological knowledge of people living off and through the environments in which they dwell. As such, the income generated from the sales of such items should benefit the populations where this knowledge originates, yet we have seen countless cases of similar bio-piracy where the only beneficiaries are the corporations marketing the products (e.g., Hoodia and Rooibos).
The second issue that arises in the context of the extensive marketing of superfoods is that, in many cases, these food products are either important nutritional supplements or staples in diets of indigenous or marginalized populations. For example, my research among edge-dwellers living on the boundary of a South African protected natural area (PNA) highlights the ways the increased marketing of these foods may come into conflict with a key nutritional source of the local residents. Edge-dwelling refers to people residing on the borders of nature reserves or protected natural areas (PNAs). When conservation legislation limits edge-dwellers’ access to lands that they formerly used to source important nutritional resources, their needs are subordinated to the goals of conservation protectionism (Brockington et al. 2008; George 1998 in Anderson and Berglund 2003: 6). The assignment of “protected” status imposes restrictions on land use practices, which includes resource access, with concomitant impacts on food gathering practices and nutrition.
In my research setting, a rural village in South Africa’s Limpopo province, edge-dwellers’ access to important nutritional sources has been increasingly regulated and constrained as a result of their edge-dwelling status. For example, customary practices of hunting have been made illegal—creating poachers out of those who were formerly hunters. In addition, other protein sources, such as mopane worms and termites, are increasingly difficult to source, as the fences that delineate the boundaries to the PNAs limit foraging areas for termites and access to mopane trees. Decreasing the lands through which people are permitted to forage and gather also increases competition, thus intensifying food insecurity. In such a setting, alternate nutritional sources are needed. My research has revealed that “wild” or non-domesticated fruits are an important source of nourishment and are, in fact, a favored source due to their “wild” nature, lacking chemical interventions. In this context, baobab (Adansonia digitata), a “wild,” non-domesticated fruit, is a local food source of high importance. It is a key resource for local remedies when children fail to thrive and provides people with “yogurt-like” alternatives that do not demand refrigeration. It is a vital source of vitamin C in a setting that is a veritable food desert and contains potassium, magnesium, and high levels of calcium (Osman 2004).
So, imagine my surprise when, early in April, while walking down the high street in an English town, I saw a health food chain store imploring passersby to help them “#MakeBaobabFamous.” This, added to the growing list of places I had seen baobab products for sale, from Cape Town to Germany, sparked a concern in me: that products central to nutritional vitality in this already resource-squeezed setting will become increasingly unobtainable as baobabs become “famous.” Other products unique to regional locations, like quinoa and goji berries, have been made so “famous” as to make them unobtainable to local users, while making those local users (indentured) farmers for a growing international market (Ballet and Carimentrand 2010; Jacobsen 2011). This raises the question of what will happen to the edge-dwellers in my research site as baobab becomes famous? Over the past year, with this concern in mind, I began to collect information on the costs of baobab powder (see the table below for a truncated list):
Baobab Powder Prices (2015/2016)
100g = R62.50 (South Africa)
100g = 7.49 euro (Germany)
100g = 5.99 pounds sterling (UK)
The growing list of products and companies marketing baobab, from cosmetics to food supplements to dried snacks, forces me to ask many questions with my research site in mind. First, how can we stop this “bio-piracy”? This is a question that others have been trying to address for many years (see Chennels 2001 for Hoodia-related case studies) with very little luck. So perhaps a more productive step forward would be to ask all of you to reflect on your own purchases and be cognizant of the impacts of purchasing these nutritional powerhouses. In so doing, we should ask ourselves the following questions: What does it mean that urban health food stores from South Africa to Berlin to New York and Canterbury sell these “wild fruits” marketed on a large scale? Will the fruit lose its local nutritional power as it is domesticated? It is possible that local landscapes will be destroyed, as has happened with the peat forests of Indonesia, in efforts to create more space for lucrative palm oil plantations. Will the edge-dwellers become plantation workers as a wild fruit becomes domesticated? Will baobab go the way of quinoa and goji berries and transition from a crucial supplement to an unobtainable luxury? Perhaps local residents will instead find ways to use baobab as a means to enter economic markets, as Walsh-Dilley (2013) has noted of Bolivian quinoa farmers. With the increased encroachment on local food practices by conservation legislation, what will happen to local people’s important nutritional sources?
When we purchase foods and buy into the trendy food marketing buzzwords, we need to be aware of the impact of our purchases. The superfood trend gives us yet another opportunity to critically engage with our purchasing practices. By critically engaging with the materials we consume, we can become better informed actors in the global network that is our planet.
Amber Abrams is a PhD candidate at the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent in Canterbury, with partial support through a research scholarship at the University of Kent and the South African National Research Foundation. She works as a Senior Scientist at the South African Cochrane Centre at the South African Medical Research Council and has been involved as co-author on two Wellcome Trust International Engagement grants.
Please note: The links provided are one way of looking at an issue. My provision of these links should not be understood as agreement with or support for the content but simply as an example of related materials.
 While superfood marketers sell their products with claims that they have high doses of life-enhancing nutrients, in 1968 Jeliffe used the term “cultural superfoods” to describe items of sociological importance to localized food practices (Gurney 1975).
 Edge-dwelling is also implicated in increased challenges to food access, as three key elements of food deserts—increased fruit and vegetable prices, socioeconomic deprivation, and a lack of locally available supermarkets—are apparent in my research site (Pearson et al. 2005).
Anderson, D.G., and E. Berglund. 2003. Ethnographies of Conservation: Environmentalism and the Distribution of Privilege. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Ballet, J., and A. Carimentrand. 2010. “When Fairtrade Increases Unfairness: The Case of Quinoa from Bolivia.” Working paper FREE – Cahier FREE no. 5.
Brockington, D., R. Duffy, and J. Igoe. 2008. Nature Unbound: Conservation, Capitalism and the Future of Protected Areas. London: Earthscan.
Chennels, R. 2003. “Case Study 9: South Africa – The Khomani San of South Africa.” In Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas in Africa: From Principles to Practice, ed. J. Nelson and L. Hossack. Moreton-in-Marsh, UK: Forest Peoples Programme.
George, S. 1998. “Preface.” In Privatizing Nature: Political Struggles for the Global Commons, ed. M. Goldman. London: Pluto Press.
Gurney, J.M. 1975. “Nutritional Considerations Concerning the Staple Foods of the English‐Speaking Caribbean.” Ecology of Food and Nutrition 4, no. 3: 171–175, DOI: 10.1080/03670244.1975.9990424
Jacobsen, S.E. 2011. “The Situation for Quinoa and Its Production in Southern Bolivia: From Economic Success to Environmental Disaster.” Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 197, no. 5: 390–399.
Osman, M.A. 2004. “Chemical and Nutrient Analysis of Baobab (Adansonia digitata): Fruit and Seed Protein Solubility.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 59: 29–33.
Pearson T., J. Russell, M.J. Campbell, and M.E. Barker. 2005. “Do ‘Food Deserts’ Influence Fruit and Vegetable Consumption? A Cross-Sectional Study. Appetite 45, no. 2: 195–197.
Walsh-Dilley, M. 2013. “Negotiating Hybridity in Highland Bolivia: Indigenous Moral Economy and the Expanding Market for Quinoa.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 40, no. 4.
Cite as: Abrams, Amber. 2016. “Superfoods: The Impacts of Marketing ‘Nutrient Powerhouses’ on Edge-Dwellers.” EnviroSociety, 4 May. www.envirosociety.org/2016/05/superfoods-the-impacts-of-marketing-nutrient-powerhouses-on-edge-dwellers.
This post is part of a series on the Latin American pink tide, moderated and edited by Massimiliano Mollona (Goldsmiths, University of London).
Does Obama’s visit herald the end of the Cuban Revolution?
On Thursday, 18 December 2014, I received an urgent WhatsApp message from a Cuban friend, who was then in Spain with his Spanish girlfriend.
“Pon CNN ahora mismo! Se acaba el bloqueo.” (Turn on CNN now! The blockade is over.)
This merely turned out to be the start of ongoing negotiations to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries, disrupted since 1961. However, it inevitably raised a crucial question: if the blockade is indeed lifted, what will happen to Cuba? I did not have the answer back then, nor do I have it now, and I will not, in spite of the title, turn this post into a forecast. However, what is relevant about the question is how often it gets to be asked in relation to Cuba. It was asked in the 1980s, when Perestroika was set in motion in the Soviet Union; in the 1990s with the collapse of Soviet communism (Kaufman Purcell 1991); in 2008, with Fidel Castro’s illness (McKinley Jr. 2008); from 2011 to 2013 with Raúl Castro’s new economic and migratory policies (Sweig and Bustamante 2013), in 2015 with Barack Obama’s announcement (Labott 2014); and more recently in 2016 with Obama’s visit to the island (Anderson 2016). While each period resulted in slight transformations of Cuban politics, none witnessed the end of the Revolution. Is this still the case today?
While Fidel Castro’s commitment to the ideological elements of the Revolution strongly shaped the direction of the political project in Cuba until 2008, his absence from the public has not seen the collapse of socialism, but it has seen a transformation of the Cuban state in the hands of Raúl (Gold 2015). This transformation, however, cannot be conceptualized as a simple “evolution” toward a market economy, nor does it respond to similar processes taking shape in other Latin American countries that are shifting away from pink. Cuba still presents a unique case within Latin America, mostly for its very peculiar relationship to the United States and particularly because of the ongoing economic embargo. In this way, this is not a post about the end of the pink tide in Cuba. But I can venture some observations on how Obama’s visit impacts Cuba’s “permanent revolution” and flag some sites where the future of the revolution will be played out.
There is no doubt that Obama’s visit to Cuba is a powerful symbolic event of the normalization of relations between the two countries. Obama is the first US president to visit Cuba in nine decades, and many Cubans see the arrival of the president as “major victory of the Cuban Socialist Revolutionary people” (Lage Dávila 2016), especially since in his speech addressing the Cuban people, Obama admitted that the past US policy toward Cuba did not work. Much has changed since Raúl Castro assumed office in 2008: US citizens can now travel to Cuba, emigration has been increasingly normalized so that Cubans can travel and work overseas with greater ease, forms of semi- and private property have emerged, and state employment has decreased in favor of ever-more-popular self-employed ventures such as restaurants, room rental, craft makers, urban agriculture, and other ventures surrounding tourism. On a larger scale, tourism deals have been signed not just with Spanish and Canadian firms, dominant in the 2000s, but also now with North American cruise ship companies, which will start docking in the newly refurbished port of Mariel in May (Anderson 2016). The coming of the Rolling Stones, which had formerly been banned from playing in Cuba, is another symbolic event in the current toing and froing of the old Cold War nemeses.
In Cuba, as in Miami, there are as many differences of opinions as there are recipes for moros y cristianos regarding the visit of Obama and its possible consequences for Cuba. From the staunch anti-Castro Cubans in Miami there ensued a plethora of comments about La Momia’s publication on Granma on “El Hermano Obama” (Castro Ruz 2016), speculating whether he is actually lucid enough to write himself. Conversely, many Cubans on the island still draw on Fidel Castro’s published reflections as parameter for official state lines. Supporters and critics of the Cuban government’s policies have made a statement about Obama’s visit, and despite radical slants toward left and right, common themes emerge. To the left, the value of education and health within the Revolution is continuously hailed as a major achievement that the US has been unable to claim and are highlighted as predominant claims for not succumbing to Obama’s capitalism. To the right, the ever-present clamor for human rights, particularly freedom of speech and political dissidence, figure more prominent than ever as Obama made a point of meeting with dissidents both in Miami as well as in Cuba. And on all sides, there has been a focus on cuentapropismo (self-employment) as one of the central foci of future relations.
Cuentapropistas were signaled out by Obama as the economic sector that can bring prosperity to Cuba, as the burgeoning civil society and as the bloom of a market economy. Symbolically, Obama had a meal at a Paladar upon his visit to Havana. This sector of the economy, which was allowed to emerge at a time of crisis and was eventually regulated and co-opted into the Revolution (Gold 2011), has once more become the focus of research and policy. And while it may indeed be the sector most welcoming of economic opening to the United States—because it heavily relies on tourism and often suffers from the scarcities in food and resources—it cannot, for the types of services it provides, become the powerhouse of the economy. The scientific poll, the agricultural sector, and the construction industries, still state owned (Rodríguez Rivera 2016), will be crucial centers of struggle in the near future. There are already indications of the kinds of transformations that will take place around these industries, for example, in the illegal but tolerated emergence of collectives of professionals, especially of architects. With the booming of the property industry as the sale of private homes was legalized in 2013 (see Gold forthcoming), the increase of tourism and the tacit presence of Cuban-Americans buying houses through Cubans on the island, the construction industry is flourishing and will give rise to a class of professionals as well as property owners that will rearticulate Cuban social structures in a way similar to other former Soviet Eastern European countries.
Another sector most likely to be affected by the normalization of relations will be the urban agriculture sector, which has become a banner for the Revolution’s capacity to weather economic hardship, as well to promote ecologically and sustainably committed agriculture. Obama’s visit resulted in an agreement between US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero to promote the sharing of ideas and research between the two country’s agricultural sectors, and Obama has mentioned the importance of technology transfer to Cuba (Altieri 2016). The small farmers and cooperatives that control 25 percent of Cuba’s land and produce 65 percent of its food will not be able to compete with large-scale and subsidized US farmers.
The tendency of transnational agribusinesses to deal with economies of scale, where land is in the hands of a few corporations, has the potential to shift small-scale farmers off their land. At a time of global ecological crisis, Cuba’s urban farmers may find a profitable world market in which to sell their produce. However, this may come at an increased cost of local food, as is already the case. The success of local farmers will depend on the state’s capacity to protect its local market and strengthen the autonomy of cooperatives and individual farmers.
Fifty-five years of Revolution have given the Cuban people a large measure of political awareness, a strong dose of education, and a sometimes overrated sense of national sovereignty, which may be the best legacies of the historic generation that made the Revolution. It is this sense of national sovereignty that can be a potentially powerful, even though diffuse, political force. The historic trajectory of the Cuban Revolution, and the fact that Obama’s visit took place even while the historic leaders of the Revolution are in power, fuels the political potential of the Revolution. Within the region, and globally, Cuba has been a focal point for anticapitalism since the 1950s and into the new millennium. But more importantly, it has also been a historical focal point of post and anticolonialism, which has been at the core of many “pink” social and political movements in Latin America in the past fifteen years.
It is very difficult to predict the direction the Cuban Revolution will take. Cubans I talk to say simultaneously that things are not as they used to be and that everything stays the same, and there is probably a measure of truth in both appreciations. But, a stubborn fact cannot be ignored: those who can are buying property on the quays.
Marina Gold is a Social Anthropologist with an area expertise on Cuba. She is a researcher at Bergen University, affiliated to ERC Project titled “Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons” held by Prof. Bruce Kapferer, where she explores human rights discourse and the refugee crisis in Europe. She currently holds a guest researcher position at the University of Zurich.
This paper was written thanks to funding support from the ERC project “Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons” within the University of Bergen.
All photos in the post are credited to the author.
 This has been a common phenomenon in Cuba, increasingly since the 1990s: young Cubans meeting and marrying foreigners for a visa. While this is not the case of my friend, who lives in Cuba and spends a few months a year in Europe on short-term work contracts, similar cases are widespread and have strongly shaped the younger generations’ experiences of nationalism.
 Moros y cristianos, literally “Moors and Christians” refers to one of the typical Cuban dishes of rice and black beans, which seems simple to prepare but has multiple culinary secretes according to each family tradition.
 The Mummy, a derogatory reference to Fidel Castro, alluding to his age and capacity to elude death.
 The official newspaper of the Communist Party.
 Brother Obama was the title of Fidel’s reflections published on 28 March after Obama’s visit.
 A restaurant run in a person’s home, one of the first expressions of self-employment that emerged in Cuba in the 1990s.
Altieri, Miguel. 2016. “Cuba’s sustainable agriculture at risk in U.S. thaw.” The Conversation, 25 March.
Anderson, John Lee. 2016. “Cuba after Obama left.” The New Yorker, 1 April.
Castro Ruz, Fidel. 2016. “El Hermano Obama.” Granma, 28 March.
Finkelstein, Alex. 2015. “Cuba’s next revolution: Real estate.” World Property Journal, 14 August.
Gold, Marina. Forthcoming. Capitalist ventures of solidarity networks? Self-employment in post-Soviet Cuba. In L.F. Angosto-Ferrández and G.H. Presterudsteun, eds., Anthropologies of value. London: Pluto Press.
Gold, Marina. 2015. People and state in socialist Cuba: Ideas and practices of revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Gold, Marina. 2011. Urban gardens: Private property or the ultimate socialist experience? In Carlos Riobo, ed., Cuban intersections of literary and urban spaces, pp. 25–48. New York: State University New York Press.
Kaufman Purcell, Susan. 1991. Collapsing Cuba. Foreign Affairs 71(1).
Labott, Elise. 2014. “Cuba releases American Alan Gross, paves way for historic easing of American sanctions.” CNN, 17 December.
Lage Dávila, Agustín. 2016. “Obama y la economía Cubana: Entender lo que no se dijo.” Cubadebate, 23 March.
McKinley, James C., Jr. 2008. “Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba’s president.” The New York Times, 20 February.
Rodríguez Rivera, Guillermo. 2016. “El progreso de Cuba y su sector privado.” Segunda Cita, 24 March.
Sweig, Julia. E., and Michael Bustamante. 2013. Cuba after communism: The economic reforms that are transforming the island. Foreign Affairs 92(4).
Cite as: Gold, Marina. 2016. “The end of the pink tide: Cuba.” FocaalBlog, 25 April. www.focaalblog.com/2016/04/25/marina-gold-the-end-of-the-pink-tide-cuba.
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The State of the Art
Edited by Olivier Fillieule and Guya Accornero
Foreword by James Jasper
Volume 16, Protest, Culture & Society
Bringing together over forty established and emerging scholars, this landmark volume is the first to comprehensively examine the evolution and current practice of social movement studies in a specifically European context. While its first half offers comparative approaches to an array of significant issues and movements, its second half assembles focused national studies that include most major European states. Throughout, these contributions are guided by a shared set of historical and social-scientific questions with a particular emphasis on political sociology, thus offering a bold and uncommonly unified survey that will be essential for scholars and students of European social movements.
A Comparative History of a European Concept
Edited by Pasi Ihalainen, Cornelia Ilie, and Kari Palonen
Parliamentary theory, practices, discourses, and institutions constitute a distinctively European contribution to modern politics. Taking a broad historical perspective, this cross-disciplinary, innovative, and rigorous collection locates the essence of parliamentarism in four key aspects—deliberation, representation, responsibility, and sovereignty—and explores the different ways in which they have been contested, reshaped, and implemented in a series of representative national and regional case studies. As one of the first comparative studies in conceptual history, this volume focuses on debates about the nature of parliament and parliamentarism within and across different European countries, representative institutions, and genres of political discourse.
Making and Unmaking Heritage in Cyprus
WINNER OF THE 2016 PROSE AWARD FOR ANTHROPOLOGY
On the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, rural villages, traditional artefacts, even atmospheres and experiences are considered heritage. Heritage making not only protects, but also produces, things, people, and places. Since the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, heritage making and Europeanization are increasingly intertwined in Greek-Cypriot society. Against the backdrop of a long-term ethnographic engagement, the author argues that heritage emerges as an increasingly standardized economic resource, a “European product.” Implemented in historic preservation, rural tourism, culinary traditions, nature protection, and urban restoration projects, heritage policy has become infused with transnational market regulations and neoliberal property regimes.
Arranging Legality in European Labor Migration Policies
The conditions for non-EU migrant workers to gain legal entry to Britain, France, and Germany are at the same time similar and quite different. To explain this variation this book compares the fine-grained legal categories for migrant workers in each country, and examines the interaction of economic, social, and cultural rationales in determining migrant legality. Rather than investigating the failure of borders to keep unauthorized migrants out, the author highlights the different policies of each country as “border-drawing” actions. Policymakers draw lines between different migrant groups, and between migrants and citizens, through considerations of both their economic utility and skills, but also their places of origin and prospects for social integration. Overall, migrant worker legality is arranged against the backdrop of the specific vision each country has of itself in an economically competitive, globalized world with rapidly changing welfare and citizenship models.
Deportation, Punishment and Everyday Life
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.
Cultural Legacies of Europe at War, 1936-2016
Edited by Manuel Bragança and Peter Tame
Foreword by Richard Overy
Afterword by Jay Winter
Volume 17, Contemporary European History
In its totality, the “Long Second World War”—extending from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War to the end of hostilities in 1945—has exerted enormous influence over European culture. Bringing together leading historians, sociologists, and literary and film scholars, this broadly interdisciplinary volume investigates Europeans’ individual and collective memories and the ways in which they have shaped the continent’s cultural heritage. Focusing on the major combatant nations—Spain, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Russia—it offers thoroughly contextualized explorations of novels, memoirs, films, and a host of other cultural forms to illuminate European public memory.
Poverty, Welfare and Social Ties in Modern Europe
Edited by Beate Althammer, Lutz Raphael, and Tamara Stazic-Wendt
Volume 27, International Studies in Social History
In many ways, the European welfare state constituted a response to the new forms of social fracture and economic turbulence that were born out of industrialization—challenges that were particularly acute for groups whose integration into society seemed the most tenuous. Covering a range of national cases, this volume explores the relationship of weak social ties to poverty and how ideas about this relationship informed welfare policies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By focusing on three representative populations—neglected children, the homeless, and the unemployed—it provides a rich, comparative consideration of the shifting perceptions, representations, and lived experiences of social vulnerability in modern Europe.
Late Authoritarianism and Student Protest in Portugal
Volume 18, Protest, Culture & Society
Histories of Portugal’s transition to democracy have long focused on the 1974 military coup that toppled the authoritarian Estado Novo regime and set in motion the divestment of the nation’s colonial holdings. However, the events of this “Carnation Revolution” were in many ways the culmination of a much longer process of resistance and protest originating in universities and other sectors of society. Combining careful research in police, government, and student archives with insights from social movement theory, The Revolution before the Revolution broadens our understanding of Portuguese democratization by tracing the societal convulsions that preceded it over the course of the “long 1960s.”
Discourses of Trauma, Exclusion and Survival
Edited by Lynda Mannik
Volume 35, Forced Migration
At a time when thousands of refugees risk their lives undertaking perilous journeys by boat across the Mediterranean, this multidisciplinary volume could not be more pertinent. It offers various contemporary case studies of boat migrations undertaken by asylum seekers and refugees around the globe and shows that boats not only move people and cultural capital between places, but also fuel cultural fantasies, dreams of adventure and hope, along with fears of invasion and terrorism. The ambiguous nature of memories, media representations and popular culture productions are highlighted throughout in order to address negative stereotypes and conversely, humanize the individuals involved.
Asymmetry and Proximity at Europe’s Frontiers
Edited by Jutta Lauth Bacas and William Kavanagh†
“As befits anthropology, Border Encounters is rich in empirical detail. However, it is also an excellent introduction to border theory, with a helpful literature review. The theoretical framework clearly set out in the Introduction and the individual chapters do collectively illustrate why borders should be seen as constructs and as sites of asymmetrical social relationships…All in all, this is an intriguing and well-structured volume which will be of interest to students and scholars from a variety of academic disciplines.” · LSE Review of Books
Edited by Steven King and Anne Winter
Volume 23, International Studies in Social History
“…a valuable and engaging contribution to historical debates about labor, poverty, relief, and belonging…[The papers] are written by leaders in their fields…and pulled together [by the editors] in an elegant and convincing treatment of the case for such a geographical spread.” · Alannah Tomkins, University of Keele
The issues around settlement, belonging, and poor relief have for too long been understood largely from the perspective of England and Wales. This volume offers a pan-European survey that encompasses Switzerland, Prussia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain. It explores how the conception of belonging changed over time and space from the 1500s onwards, how communities dealt with the welfare expectations of an increasingly mobile population that migrated both within and between states, the welfare rights that were attached to those who “belonged,” and how ordinary people secured access to welfare resources.
Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the ‘Long 1960s’ in Greece
Volume 10, Protest, Culture & Society
Winner of the 2015 Keeley Book Prize of the Modern Greek Studies Association
“This long-anticipated… publication signals the beginning of a potentially fruitful and certainly long overdue examination of the 1960s and 1970s in Greece. After so many years of discussions and debates on the Greek Civil War, the time for a careful consideration of the junta and its afterlife seems to have finally come. Kornetis offers an enormously productive entry point by exploring the issue that is analytically most central and socially most sensitive concerning this period: resistance and its counterpart, complicity. For anyone with an interest in the period or in the broad range of theoretical issues raised by its study, Children of the Dictatorship is an indispensible book that is sure to anchor future discussion and debate of the military regime.” · Journal of Modern Greek Studies
Edited by Eric Langenbacher, Bill Niven, and Ruth Wittlinger
“Overall this is an interesting collection with a number of thought-provoking essays. Notably, several of the chapters bring new (social science) methodologies to the interdisciplinary field of memory studies. It is also a strength of the volume that, while the focus is clearly on memories of World War II and the Holocaust, it incorporates consideration of a range of pasts that continue to have a significant impact on the way Europeans understand themselves and others. The comparative perspective proves particularly fruitful in raising new questions regarding different kinds of remembrance at both the national and the European level.” · European Legacy
Previously published as Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures
Published since 1990, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures (AJEC) engages with current debates and innovative research agendas addressing the social and cultural transformations of contemporary European societies. The journal serves as an important forum for ethnographic research in and on Europe, which in this context is not defined narrowly as a geopolitical entity but rather as a meaningful cultural construction in people’s lives, which both legitimates political power and calls forth practices of resistance and subversion. By presenting both new field studies and theoretical reflections on the history and politics of studying culture in Europe anthropologically, AJEC encompasses different academic traditions of engaging with its subject, from social and cultural anthropology to European ethnology and empirische Kulturwissenschaften.
Aspasia is the international peer-reviewed annual of women’s and gender history of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE). It aims to transform European women’s and gender history by expanding comparative research on women and gender to all parts of Europe, creating a European history of women and gender that encompasses more than the traditional Western European perspective. Aspasia particularly emphasizes research that examines the ways in which gender intersects with other categories of social organization and advances work that explores transnational aspects of women’s and gender histories within, to, and from CESEE. The journal also provides an important outlet for the publication of articles by scholars working in CESEE itself. Its contributions cover a rich variety of topics and historical eras, as well as a wide range of methodologies and approaches to the history of women and gender.
FPC&S is the journal of the Conference Group on French Politics & Society. It is jointly sponsored by the Institute of French Studies at New York University and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University.
European Comic Art is the first English-language scholarly publication devoted to the study of European-language graphic novels, comic strips, comic books and caricature. Published in association with the American Bande Dessinée Society and the International Bande Dessinée Society, European Comic Art builds on existing scholarship in French-language comic art and is able to draw on the scholarly activities undertaken by both organisations. However, our editorial board and consultative committee bring expertise on a wider European area of comic art production and the journal will emphasise coverage of work from across Europe, including Eastern Europe.
FPC&S is the journal of the Conference Group on French Politics & Society. It is jointly sponsored by the Institute of French Studies at New York University and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University.
French Politics, Culture & Society explores modern and contemporary France from the perspectives of the social sciences, history, and cultural analysis. It also examines France’s relationship to the larger world, especially Europe, the United States, and the former French Empire. The editors also welcome pieces on recent debates and events, as well as articles that explore the connections between French society and cultural expression of all sorts (such as art, film, literature, and popular culture). Issues devoted to a single theme appear from time to time. With refereed research articles, timely essays, and reviews of books in many disciplines, French Politics, Culture & Society provides a forum for learned opinion and the latest scholarship on France.
French Politics, Culture & Society is now available on JSTOR!
German Politics and Society is a joint publication of the BMW Center for German and European Studies (of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). These centers are represented by their directors on the journal’s Editorial Committee.
German Politics and Society is a peer-reviewed journal published and distributed by Berghahn Journals. It is the only American publication that explores issues in modern Germany from the combined perspectives of the social sciences, history, and cultural studies.
German Politics and Society is now available on JSTOR!
A Journal for the New Europe
Published in association with the Leo Baeck College and the Michael Goulston Education Foundation.
For over 40 years, European Judaism has provided a voice for the postwar Jewish world in Europe. It has reflected the different realities of each country and helped to rebuild Jewish consciousness after the Holocaust.
The journal offers: stimulating debates exploring the responses of Judaism to contemporary political, social, and philosophical challenges; articles reflecting the full range of contemporary Jewish life in Europe, and including documentation of the latest developments in Jewish-Muslim dialogue; new insights derived from science, psychotherapy, and theology as they impact upon Jewish life and thought; literary exchange as a unique exploration of ideas from leading Jewish writers, poets, scholars, and intellectuals with a variety of documentation, poetry, and book reviews section; and book reviews covering a wide range of international publications.
European Judaism is now available on JSTOR!
Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology
Focaal – Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology is a peer-reviewed journal advocating an approach that rests in the simultaneity of ethnography, processual analysis, local insights, and global vision. It is at the heart of debates on the ongoing conjunction of anthropology and history as well as the incorporation of local research settings in the wider spatial networks of coercion, imagination, and exchange that are often glossed as “globalization” or “empire.”
Introducing: FocaalBlog, which aims to accelerate and intensify anthropological conversations beyond what a regular academic journal can do, and to make them more widely, globally, and swiftly available.
From The Bookseller’s website:
The British Book Industry Awards will celebrate the greatness of the British book trade and the people behind it – the best books, the best writers, the best bookshops, the best publishers – from industry greats to those starting out. Building on the success and legacy of The Bookseller Industry Awards (the trade “Nibbies”), 2016 will mark the first step, and a step-change, in the way the book trade presents itself to itself and to the wider world.
The winners will be announced 9th May 2016. Stay tuned!
The following is a guest blog post written by Michael G. Cornelius, author of the article Sexuality, Interruption, and Nancy Drew, which appeared in Volume 8, Number 2 of the journal Girlhood Studies.
It’s admittedly an odd thing, to be a Nancy Drew scholar.
Strictly speaking, “Nancy Drew Scholar” is not the official occupation listed on my tax forms. And when strangers ask me what I do for a living—whenever such casual conversations between strangers bubble up, such as on an airplane—I never reply “Nancy Drew scholar.” I usually say “English teacher” or “professor” or even “medievalist” (which raises more than a few eyebrows on its own, trust me.) And, at the risk of sounding like an actor who worries about typecasting, I’m more than a Nancy Drew scholar. I write on a wide variety of subject matter: sword-and-sandal movies; science fiction; sexuality in the premodern and early modern eras—a quick perusal of my CV would reveal books and articles with words like “Chaucer” and “Shakespeare” and “Gawain” in the titles (there’s also one that includes the word “Farts,” but that’s a subject of a whole different blog post.)
Despite all that, around half my scholarly output involves Nancy Drew, Vicki Barr, Trixie Belden, Shirley Flight, Rick Brant, Christopher Cool, or some other girls’ or boys’ series protagonist. I can’t help it. My obsession started at a young age when a prescient elementary-school librarian pressed a copy of Secret of the Forgotten City (Nancy Drew #52) into my hands at the impressionable age of 9. This book had everything: mystery, adventure, secret codes, archaeology, thrilling discoveries, friendship—safe and sane as these books may be, for a farm-town kid ensconced in an upstate village of 200 people and 8000 dairy cattle, this was heady stuff indeed. I never looked back, and I never outgrew my love of Nancy Drew.
If you ever need evidence of this, feel free to come to my house. I can show you my collection. I have 900 Nancy Drew books (and growing). Collectible dot shelves here and there; a few pieces of original Nancy Drew artwork adorn the walls. And my CV reflects this: I’ve written about Nancy Drew and primitivism; Nancy Drew and the Awkward Age; Nancy Drew and Shakespeare; Nancy Drew and sacrality; Nancy Drew and teleological perfection; Nancy Drew and illness; Nancy Drew and motherhood; and, for the piece included in the most recent edition of the the journal of Girlhood Studies (8.2, 2015), “Sexuality, Interruption, and Nancy Drew.”
People sometimes look at me funny when they find out about my obsession with Nancy Drew. I don’t blame them. There are precious few of us out there (though I have always contended there are not nearly enough of us out there.) Many social critics have observed that it is our leisure time, and not our working hours, that truly defines us, whether we obsess over baseball statistics or knitting patterns or growing a pumpkin the size of a Winnebago. I obsess over Nancy Drew and her fellow girl and boy sleuths. I belong to two different girl sleuth societies; I attend Nancy Drew conventions (yes, we have them, and they are spectacular); I re-read the books; I ponder them. And I use them to understand the world. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? What we academics are really doing, each in our discipline, each in our own way? Trying to understand the world—our world, each world, every world. And what better way to do that than through Nancy Drew? Everyone knows her name. She is a cultural zeitgeist—probably the most well-known female literary character of all time. New Nancy Drew books have been produced for the last 85 years, with no signs of stopping. And over the course of hundreds and hundreds of mysteries solved, criminal conspiracies uncovered, and villains locked behind bars, Nancy Drew—directly and indirectly—has confronted nearly every aspect of society, all while remaining a blank slate and a figure of mythopoesis. She is larger-than-life and yet, at the same time, utterly scribe-able to every reader, so that we may place ourselves, not in her shoes (for, indeed, no one is Nancy Drew), but next to her, in her flashlight’s glow, part of her coterie, part of her circle of friends, part of her adventures and part of her world. That is the real power of Nancy Drew. The worlds of characters like Sherlock Holmes and King Arthur are too rarified for us—one has to be extraordinary just to be let in the front door (even Watson, for all his bluster, is a pretty good writer). With Nancy Drew, however, one just has to be curious, and a little bit brave. We can all do that.
“Sexuality, Interruption, and Nancy Drew” looks, quite literally, at the verbal tactic of interruption in the Nancy Drew books, pondering why it is, whenever the topic of conversation turns to marriage, Nancy abruptly and vigorously changes the narrative, altering the course of conversation away from any hint of romance, marriage, coupling, and dyadism, and back to more important matters—like mysteries. Take, for example, the conclusion to The Mystery at Lilac Inn, where Nancy finds it necessary to interrupt two chums whose conversation dares to veer toward their upcoming nuptials:
Later, as Nancy, Helen, and Emily were talking, the two older girls suddenly stopped speaking on the subject of their forthcoming weddings. Helen said, “Goodness, Nancy, you must be tired of hearing us talk about steady partners when—” Nancy interrupted. Laughing gaily, she said, “Not at all. For the present, my steady partner is going to be mystery!” (Keene 1961: 180)
As a scholar, I sometimes feel as Nancy does. I love spying riddles in texts and television shows and trying to ascertain what it all might mean. Of course being a Nancy Drew scholar makes perfect sense in this imperfect world. Who is better at solving mysteries than Nancy? A Nancy Drew scholar? I’m proud to be identified as such.
Keene, Carolyn. 1961. The Mystery at Lilac Inn. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.
MICHAEL G. CORNELIUS is the author/editor of fifteen books, including nancy drew and her sister sleuths: essays on the fiction of girl detectives (co-edited with Melanie E. Gregg; McFarland, 2008) and the companion book, The Boy Detectives: Essays on the Hardy Boys and Others (McFarland, 2010). He has published extensively on Nancy Drew, Vicki Barr, and other girls’ and boys’ series literature. Cornelius is the chair of the Department of English and Communications at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA.
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