July and August Digest

SCA Announcements / News

SCA bids a fond farewell to managing editor Ali Kenner who is stepping down after five years of dedicated service. We wish her the best at her new position at Drexel University.

We welcome Tim Elfenbein as the new managing editor of Cultural Anthropology.

At long last, we have completed the migration of the old website to the new one.  

New Issue of Cultural Anthropology

The August issue of Cultural Anthropology has arrived!

Start off your reading of the current issue with Amade M’charek’s discussion of race in practice. In the essay she critiques dominant notions of “race as fact and race as fiction” by following a praxiographic approach to “show race is a relational object, one that is simultaneously factual and fictional.” There is also a fantastic interview with M'charek in the article’s supplemental page on the CA website.

John Hartigan’s article on Mexican genomics and “races of corn” suggests that racial thinking is derived from “processes of domestication that are quite ancient and encompass a range of contradictory, complex ideas and practices concerning the relations of humans and nonhumans.” The essay is freely available through the CA website.

Mark Anthony Neal has a wonderful essay, “Nigga: The 21st-Century Theoretical Superhero,” in the August issue. See also our supplemental page with multimedia links, a list of additional resources, and material for classroom discussion.

In his essay, John Jackson, Jr. writes: “In a time when genomic/genetic science is being deployed as final arbiter in debates about identificatory truth, it is clear that one response (from at least a few groups of Israelites) is to keep an eye on the science while being careful not to concede all agency to a test tube.” Read “Black Israelites: DNA and then some.”

July Field Notes: Unformed Objects

In her introduction to our Field Notes series on unformed objects, Britt Dahlberg asks: (1) How does an ethnographic project’s focus take shape? and (2) What does it look like to conduct ethnographies of people’s efforts (successful or not) to pull together certain issues or problems into cohesive topics for scientific investigation and public action?

In her ‪Provocation, Kathleen Stewart describes the way “an array of objects pulled into a legibility prompt curiosity and care” that demands a “compositional attunement” not with truth but with “reals.”

August Field Notes: Food

Julie Guthman starts off our August Field Notes on food with the Provocation, “What would food studies look like if ‘what is food’ became a more central question?”

Dylan Gordon’s Translation discusses the gap between mushroom picking and consumption.

Heather Paxson talks cheese in her Deviation: “But we’re talking cheese. These cheeses. Do they tempt you for a taste? On what evidence, experience do you anticipate their edibility and palatability? How do you classify them? Do they look like food for you?”

Brad Weiss finishes up our Field Notes on food with his Integration: “Whether we decry the nutritional quality of the ‘industrial’ diet, denigrate the tastes of those we feel are less refined, police the borders of ‘real food,’ or extoll the virtues of the best things to eat, we offer evaluations . . . of the soundness of the judgments and experience of ourselves and others through the ways that we eat.”

AnthroPod: The Podcast of SCA

We start our new podcast, AnthroPod, with two interviews of CA authors: Michael Fisch on Tokyo commuter train suicides, and Richard Handler on anthropology and undergraduate interdisciplinary education.

Savage Minds calls our new podcast “pretty darn good.”

Other News

Looking for a ways to theorize what might be at stake in Rolling Stone’s startling forecast of cities under-water in the next few decades? Take a look at CA’s Curated Collection on water, edited by Ashley Carse.

Need some reading to explain why (if you were in the U.S.) you joined in a giant spectacle on July 4th (despite feelings of ambivalence)? Perhaps our Curated Collection on ritual, edited by Kevin Carrico, could answer some of your questions.

Mirnda Dahlin discusses how to incorporate photography in the classroom using Elena Geroska's images of “sacred personal space” in the Visual and New Media Review.

Savage Memory, a film about the life and legacy of Bronislaw Malinowski told from the perspective of his family, played for two weeks in the Screening Room. Patricia Alvarez also conducted an interview with one of the directors, Zachary Stuart, great grandson of Malinowski.

Last month President Obama said the rest of his presidency was for working-class America. Sounds like its time for him to read Karen Ho’s essay in our Curated Collection on business culture, edited by Esra Ozkan.