Cultural Anthropology Responds to Trump

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We are excited to introduce a new feature of the Cultural Anthropology website, which we are calling the Collaboration Studio. This feature, which is centered on advancing collaboration between emerging and established scholars who contribute to the Cultural Anthropology website, will showcase content from across the different sections of the Fieldsights blog that coheres around a common theme or project.

In our inaugural session of the Collaboration Studio, which is entitled “Cultural Anthropology Responds to Trump,” we have collected politically relevant content about the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the unfolding of his administration, all of which has been published since the fall of 2016. This comprises a remarkably fruitful set of pieces, ranging from a community-created reading list to a podcast and published by a diverse group of scholars including tenure-stream faculty, postdocs, and graduate students.

Our inaugural session of the Collaboration Studio opens with an AnthroPod episode produced by Tariq Rahman, in which ten scholars speaking at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association just one week after the election, address a range of crucial issues from the fallout of neoliberalism to racialization and its relationship with colonialism. A Dialogues series, edited by Carlos Martínez-Cano, captures other reactions to the election by scholars attending the meeting. A second series, edited by Ned Dostaler and Julia Sizek, offers a crowdsourced reading list of texts for the Trump era, each accompanied by a brief commentary. A Dispatches post by Michael Vicente Pérez provides an anthropological perspective on the successive travel bans affecting the American Muslim community. The Hot Spots series “Crisis of Liberalism,” edited by Dominic Boyer and published just before the 2016 election, provides glimpses of nationalist-populist political movements around the globe, while “The Rise of Trumpism,” edited by Lucas Bessire and David Bond, gathers a series of short essays calling for hope and solidarity against the strengthened hatreds and fractured communities of the American present. Finally, Teaching Tools posts and series created by Julia Sizek, Whitney Russell, Kyle Harp-Rushing, and Camille Frazier present strategies for organizing a teach-in, teaching in the midst of uncertainty, and teaching with hope.

These pieces were originally published individually, often without referencing each other. By presenting them together in this session of the Collaboration Studio, without regard to the authors’ rank or the pieces’ level of review, we are working to demonstrate the scholarly breadth that we feature on the Cultural Anthropology website. Making often implicit scholarly relations more explicit, by placing pieces from across the website in conversation with one another, helps to point out synergies between sections of the Fieldsights blog and across the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s publishing enterprise.

We envision the Collaboration Studio as an experimental laboratory in which to stage connections, mentorships, and collaborations across the digital platform we have built. Our aim is to create a space that facilitates connections between texts and their authors outside of the tiered review system that characterizes scholarly publishing at Cultural Anthropology and elsewhere. Until now, there has been no space on the Cultural Anthropology website where posts could appear without regard to their status as editor-reviewed or contributor-generated; in practice, this has meant that it is difficult to create collaborative projects that “mix” review processes or sections of the blog. The Collaboration Studio contributes to the mandate of Cultural Anthropology’s Contributing Editors program by creating a shared space in which to explore faculty–graduate student mentorship and to encourage collaborations across subdivisions of the program that we do not want to see ossify. Furthermore, by presenting content created by Contributing Editors alongside the high-profile Hot Spots and Theorizing the Contemporary series, we are acknowledging the ongoing importance of Contributing Editor labor to the dynamism of the Cultural Anthropology website.

The Collaboration Studio will be featured as a permanent section on the Cultural Anthropology homepage, appearing beneath the roll call of recent Fieldsights content. Each session of the Collaboration Studio will include an introductory statement describing its theme and a list of content included in the session, organized in alphabetical order by section. In the future, we imagine sessions that might include new, stand-alone content and collaborative projects that are not linked to a specific section of the Fieldsights blog. We look forward to the role that this new feature will play as the Cultural Anthropology website continues to evolve as a destination for cutting-edge scholarship, both in our flagship journal and in other, endlessly iterating forms.