The May 2011 issue of Cultural Anthropology brings together what editors Anne Allison and Charles Piot call, in their Editors’ Introduction, “a range of off-center, state-of-the-field articles.” After an issue on “Futures of Neoliberalism” (February 2011), the current issue resituates some of the important questions raised in the area studies critiques of the 1990s. Among the contributions are an interview with Jean Comaroff and David Kyuman Kim, a co-authored piece by Sonia E. Alvarez, Arturo Arias and Charles Hale, and responses to Orin Starn’s article by Audra Simpson and James Clifford.
From the Editor's Notes:
This issue pulls together a range of off-center, state-of-the-field articles. We sought articles that would take the measure of scholarship after the area studies critiques of the 1990s. What of the old borders, geographical and disciplinary? Are area epistemologies the same or forever changed? What new forms of scholarship are on the horizon? Who are the subjects, and who the objects, of contemporary knowledge production, in anthropology and beyond?
The articles we selected explore Native American studies, Latin American studies, visual studies, sexuality and queer studies, and African urban studies. The former three address their subjects broadly, attempting to assess where scholarship in each field stands today, whereas the latter two are more narrowly pitched, focusing on a particular case that exemplifies emergence in their fields. The entire set is keynoted by a wide-ranging interview that David Kim conducted with Jean Comaroff, an itinerary of her engagement with anthropology, religion, politics, critical pedagogy, and South Africa.