Issue 32.4, November 2017

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The year’s final issue of Cultural Anthropology features a new contribution to our Openings and Retrospectives section, an Openings collection on “Chemo-Ethnography.” Nicholas Shapiro and Eben Kirksey make the case for a critical engagement with modern chemistry in its political, economic, and affective valences, inviting us to take “chemo” seriously as that which can both cure and poison. In her essay, Michelle Murphy evaluates technoscientific practices that have come to materialize chemical exposure, indicating how infrastructures of chemical violence are cloaked even as the violent effects of exposure invite surveillance and pathologization of those living in hostile conditions. Elizabeth Povinelli’s piece inhabits a chemical burn from the inside, meditating on intoxication and exposure; fire and fog; invisibility, velocity, and the training of neural noticings.

We are also pleased to publish four original research articles in our November issue. Two of these articles advance anthropological reflections on race and violence through an analytic of fugitivity. Damien Sojoyner explores Black fugitivity as a counterweight to the multiple forms of violence characteristic of the enclosed spaces of public education in the United States. Maya Berry, Claudia Chávez Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada push activist research toward a decolonial and critical feminist ethos through a collaborative confrontation of the racialized-sexualized-gendered violence encountered by women researchers in fieldwork. In his article, Thomas Yarrow investigates the problem of “infrastructure that never was” in Ghana, where the ruins of promised futures reveal the fragmentary character of built environments and lives. Finally, Elizabeth F. S. Roberts troubles recent theorizations of entanglement by drawing on her bio-ethnographic research with those who aim to stave off the porosity of boundaries and bodies in a working-class neighborhood of Mexico City.

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