Current Anthropology is looking for a new Editor

Current Anthropology coverThe Wenner-Gren Foundation in partnership with the University of Chicago Press is seeking applications for the position of Editor of Current Anthropology. The new Editor will begin to receive submissions on September 1, 2018 and take full responsibility for the journal on January 1, 2019. The Editor’s term is six years from January 1, 2019, with a possibility of renewal for an addition partial or complete term.

The Foundation and Press are open to the possibility of alternative editorship arrangements such as co-Editors and/or the use of an active editorial board to handle manuscripts. The applicant should clearly outline her/his ideas for the editorship in their letter of intent and if a co-editorship is proposed the application should come jointly from both potential editors.

Applications are welcome from professional academic anthropologists anywhere in the world and specializing in any of the four anthropological sub-disciplines. Applications should include a complete curriculum vitae, names and contact details of three academic references and a letter of interest. The letter of interest should discuss the applicant’s vision for Current Anthropology, her/his qualifications and experience relevant to the position of Editor of anthropology’s highest profile broad-based journal, and proposed editorial arrangements for managing the journal.

Further information can be found here.

Applications, or suggestions for possible candidates, should be sent via e-mail to the Chair of the CA Editor Search Committee (CAeditor_search@wennergren.org), or by regular mail addressed to the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, 470 Park Avenue South, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10016, USA. Applications must be received by December 31, 2017.

Engaged Anthropology Grant: James Verinis

Lefteris diligently working his tomato fields and orange groves in 2016

James Verinis is an Adjunct Professor at Roger Williams University. In 2009 he received a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant to aid research on “New Immigrant Farmers and the Globalization of the Greek Countryside,” supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson. In 2015 Dr. Verinis received an Engaged Anthropology Grant to aid engaged activities on “Rural Greek Rebound in/of Crisis”.

While I researched a number of rural/agrarian problems between 2008 and 2010 in the Greek prefecture of Laconia, the roles Southeastern European immigrants play in maintaining traditional rural Greek ways of life were the most remarkable aspects of my dissertation fieldwork findings. Faced with global forces that threaten their survival (stigma and depopulation as well as cheap Argentine lemons or high quality olive oil from California, for example), unprecedented relationships have developed between Greeks and some non-Greek residents as they become kin through marriage and baptism, engage in reciprocal relations, and share community life. This has remained the case in more recent years, despite reports that immigrants are exiting Greece as a result of the financial crisis.

In my Engaged Anthropology Grant proposal I suggested that European Union, state, and local political policy can facilitate immigrant incorporation into rural development schemes. Structural integration of farming knowledge and technology across this new diversity of stakeholders is wholly absent. The Young Farmer Program, an EU-wide program to assist new farmers, is not equipped to administer aid to non-nationals despite official rhetoric. Programs in the United States such as New Farmer Development highlight opportunities within a global migratory paradigm to support values inherent to traditional agricultural landscapes, rural entrepreneurship, and diversified farming systems as well as protect biodiversity and ameliorate social conflict between groups. I proposed a pilot program to take advantage of similar opportunities that was endogenous in spirit but based on American interests in such policy initiatives.

Greeks, Roma, and Middle Eastern residents conspire to subsist in central Athens

My proposal ignored the realities of Greek experience. Rural Greek communities have been increasingly ambivalent about the state since the early 1990’s. A general distrust of core EU countries to the north has pervaded Greek life since the onset of austerity measures in 2010. The financial crisis has also undermined prospects for any rural development initiatives. In my failure to discover interest in legislative measures, I discovered solidarity networks amongst disparate groups that offset the absence of and were preferable to such public policy. All Greek farmers, non-Greek farmers, and political representatives I spoke with in 2016- even a highly respected rural sociologist, now secretary general of the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food- deflected, seemed bewildered by, or just plain ignored my queries about the potential for political intervention. The newly appointed Laconian municipal agronomist suggested he had nothing to do with the Young Farmer Program. Article 13A, added to Law 4251/2014 by the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food in 2016, now provides for the legal registration of irregular ‘third country nationals’ yet such basic measures are so relatively late in coming and without practical application or benefit to Greeks or non-Greeks that rural residents continue to rely on informal networks.

This informal ‘resistance’ is hardly a neat opposition, but it is ubiquitous to the point where I identify it as a sodality. Contemporary solidarity movements or kínisi allilegií in Greece provide a vast array of people with such essentials as health care, legal aid, and food. The ‘no middleman movement’ or ‘potato movement’ (‘kínima tis patátes’), which facilitates the direct sales of agricultural produce is one such movement or network. Such novel networks that produce and distribute food and save and exchange seeds have formed as resistant responses to neoliberal campaigns that intensify and commodify agriculture, making small-scale  food  production increasingly impossible.  In looking into new solidarity phenomena and visiting with my most evocative interlocutors in Laconia in 2016, I began to draw a connection between rural solidarity movements in global Greek countrysides and these other novel networks.

Albanian farmer Lefteris now conspires with neighboring Greeks to frighten Roma away from his fields in the village of Asteri, allowing Roma to think, as the police also suggest, that he is a ‘dangerous Albanian’. While this linguistic tool is a byproduct of an exploitive relationship in which Lefteris would historically suffer, non-Greeks such as Lefteris now wield some of these tools in a co-conspiracy with Greeks for their mutual benefit. Vis-à-vis these alliances they can pursue small-scale agriculture and maintain traditional rural Greek ways of life in light of global capitalist agri-business trends.

Mitsos, another Albanian I often worked with between 2008 and 2010, also plays significant roles in these informal rural Greek sodalities. One morning in the summer of 2016 an old Greek man named Pandelis described to Mitsos, whom he has known for nearly a quarter century, problems he had been having passing a kidney stone. Mitsos instructed him, in some detail, how to make a tea from the stomach of a chicken so as to facilitate relief. As Albanians have long had less access to western biomedicine, Greeks now rely on Albanians for alternative therapies in now desperate financial times. Beyond the obvious depth of their relationship, the exchange of this traditional rural remedy is indicative of a larger set of responsibilities that rural Greek residents of various ethno-nationalities now have to each other. They increasingly share kéfi- ‘good humor’ or ‘good life’, outside of social hierarchies, official  politics, and capitalist markets (Papataxiarchis 1994)). Is kéfi a way for scholars to comprehend new globalized rural relationships and solidarity movements in response to conventional political failings? I have been forced to reconsider the problem.

Interview: Ritu Verma and Francoise Pommaret

Ritu Verma, Akhil Gupta, Sherry Ortner and Francoise Pommaret at the inaugural lecture of the Network of Bhutan Anthropologists

In 2017 CLCS, Royal University Of Bhutan received a Wenner-Gren Institutional Development Grant to support the development of a doctoral program in anthropology. The implementation of this grant was overseen by Dr. Ritu Verma, the Institutional Development Grant International Coordinator, Adjunct Professor at The College Of Language And Culture Studies, (CLCS) and Dr. Francoise Pommaret, IDG Coordinator Bhutan, Adjunct Professor at CLCS / Director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. France. Wenner-Gren had the opportunity to ask Drs. Verma and Pommaret about how they initially became interested in anthropology as well as the current state of anthropology in Bhutan and how the Institutional Development Grant will help the Royal University of Bhutan.

First can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be interested in anthropology? Who have been the anthropologists that have most influential in your own personal formation and why?

Director of CLCS with Ritu Verma (on the left) and Francoise Pommaret (on the right)

Francoise: I was brought up in Central Africa and in contact with other people from a very young age so I understood there were different ways of thinking and living. This might have been my first unknowing contact with anthropology.  At the university in France, I graduated first in Classical Greek and Latin. By then I started travelling in Asia and decided to take Asian studies, (history, history of art and archaeology at Paris La Sorbonne) as well as Classical Tibetan at INALCO, Paris. After my MA on vernacular architecture in Ladakh (India), it dawned on me that buildings could be understood only through the people living in it and from then I moved to a Ph.D. program in anthropology at EHESS (Ecole des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales) Paris. My dissertation was on women who come back from the netherland in the Tibetan world (‘das log) and it was published in 1987 by the CNRS ”Les revenants de l’au-delà dans le monde tibétain. Sources écrites et traditions vivantes.” The sub title showed my interest for interdisciplinary research and my strong commitment to history. In the 1980s I was called in French an ethno-historian. Therefore I do not have a purely anthropological background and my research methodology has always been based not so much on theory, but on written and oral sources as well as field research. The disdain of history among some anthropologists has always been a source of irritation for me but I was reinforced in my belief by my EHESS professors such as Bernot (Burma) and Condominas (Indonesia) and other French luminaries from the School of Annals such as Fernand Braudel, Leroi-Ladurie, Georges Duby and Burguière amongst others. Amongst the Anglo-Saxons scholars, besides the founding fathers such as Malinowski, Evan -Pritchard or even Boas, I am really inspired by Geertz as well as closer to my field by Ortner and Levine. I read and knew Levi-Strauss, some of his ”fulgurances” have been important to me, but the fact that structuralism does not consider the historical dimension as important has always been a problem, especially when working in a culture where history and written sources are so important. So my approach to anthropology is rather classical and not influenced by post-modernist theories.

Ritu: Although I didn’t begin my career as an anthropologist, the discipline captivated my imagination. I started my career as a civil engineer working on international infrastructure projects (PEng McGill University), but was deeply concerned about the social, cultural and environmental impacts on people, their communities and environment. My engineering degree didn’t provide the conceptual foundation to systematically analyze such projects, or the resistances to them. This interest drew me to pursue an MA in International Development at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Making the transition from the biophysical to the social sciences was challenging, but I flourished intellectually. I was attracted to ethnography – spending extended periods of time with people who are most affected by development and scientific interventions not of their choosing – and anthropological debates about development. From this intellectual awakening, I carried out a Ph.D. in Anthropology at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Building on George Marcus’ idea of multi-sited ethnography, I engaged in what I termed a multi-ethnographic research, focusing on the disconnects between the socio-cultural and working worlds of development practitioners and Betsileo farmers in the Central Highlands of Madagascar, through fine-grained ethnographies of both domain of actors. The research illustrated how development critically shapes the lives of so many actors, but also creates deep dissonance and disconnects in knowledge, culture and experience, and this influenced my subsequent research with international development research institutions in East and Southern Africa and the Himalayas. With ethnographic insights and lived experience in the inner-workings (the conceptual and institutional apparatus), social life and culture that shapes the development machine and delimits its engagement of culture, my interest in development alternatives that value culture grew exponentially. Thus, anthropology has been a strong guiding force in my career, and led me to Bhutan and my present research which explores the conceptual and policy innovations, as well as ethnographic gaps, of Bhutan’s alternative development path of Gross National Happiness. Seminal works in the anthropology of development such as “Red Tape” and “Postcolonial Development” by Akhil Gupta, “the Anti-Politics Machine” by James Ferguson, “False Forest History” by James Fairhead”, “Negotiating Local Knowledge” by Johan Pottier, “Laboratory Life” by Bruno Latour and “Cultivating Development” by David Mosse inspired and influenced my own thinking about development. These anthropologists, as well as Villia Jefremovas, Joachim Voss, Fiona Mackenzie, Christopher Davis, Sherry Ortner and Nancy Levine provided invaluable intellectual guidance in my career.

Can you tell us a little about anthropology in Bhutan? What are the pressing questions and concerns for the discipline there?

Teaching museum studies to BA 3 rd Year at the Trongsa Museum, April 2015

Francoise: Anthropology in Bhutan is not only a new academic subject, it is a new concept. When I arrived in Bhutan in the early 1980s, this was a concept that did not exist and the closest to it was cultural studies, largely dominated by Buddhist studies (see Pommaret “Recent Bhutanese scholarship in History and Anthropology”, in Journal of Bhutan Studies: Special issue on the Bhutan panel of the European South Asian Modern Studies Conference Edinburgh University 2000, Centre for Bhutan studies, Thimphu, vol.3 n° 2, Winter 2000, 139 -163). The opening of Bhutan in the late 1990s and the influence of Bhutanese who studied abroad allowed the first field studies conducted by Bhutanese especially in the field of rituals. These, as well as the propagation of BBS ( Bhutanese TV)  programs on different aspects of the culture and the GNH pillar on preservation of the Culture, created an awareness which led to the understanding of the concept of anthropology. Lastly the pride that the Bhutanese have in all aspects of their culture, played an important role in this awareness. The pressing questions are the establishment of an academic program in anthropology which besides Himalayan anthropology, will address contemporary and important  topics for Bhutan: development, politics, gender issues and spiritual environment. The need of a course in research methodology in anthropology is paramount and should be included in the academic program. Lastly, Bhutan needs to train anthropology researchers and lecturers as only 5 Bhutanese have now a PhD in anthropology.

Ritu: Bhutan represents both a relatively unstudied anthropological and ethnographic terrain as well as a country where there is a dearth of anthropological analytical expertise required to support a nation that is facing numerous socio-cultural and development challenges as it negotiates globalized world. It is regarded as the least anthropologically studied belt in the Buddhist Himalayas. The opportunities for anthropologists to carry out research on Gross National Happiness – the country’s guiding philosophy for development that holds culture in equal weight with other domains of development (sustainable and equitable development, environmental conservation, good governance) – are significant. Over the past few decades, tertiary education has evolved and developed in promising ways (with formal national education system and universal education coming into force in the 1950s), albeit with acute under-representation of anthropology. At the beginning of this millennium, anthropology was still in its infancy in Bhutan. Today, Bhutan continues to lag behind in developing the academic discipline of anthropology. There are a handful of qualified anthropologists with Ph.D.s in the country, with new promising scholars about to join its ranks – all obtaining their degrees internationally. Although anthropological research on the impacts of rapid socio-cultural and political-economic change requires urgent attention, the knowledge and capacity available to carry out and analyze such research, train doctoral scholars, and to advise on policy-relevant questions remains a critical gap within the country. As anthropologist Dorji Penjore notes, “if the Bhutanese education planners had exercised their foresights, anthropology, not sociology, should have been a more useful course to study Bhutan, a nation of villages and farmers… If anthropology is the study of human culture and the hallmark of Bhutan’s nation is founded on the national goal of preserving and promoting its unique cultural identity, how paradoxical it is that the anthropology is neither taught at the Bhutanese colleges nor is there a formal anthropological study of Bhutan”. Currently, there exists no doctoral program in anthropology in Bhutan. Within such a context, ethnographic research is extremely rare and the discipline is exceptionally under-represented while facing highly limited resources for its development. At the same time, this gap also represents an important and timely opportunity to develop a doctoral program in anthropology in Bhutan. This is especially pertinent at a time when the demand for a doctoral program in anthropology is increasing with a small critical mass of senior anthropologists who can support such a vision.

Is anthropology a subject that attracts students in Bhutan?

Students offering their thanks to the lecturers on May 2nd Teachers Day in Bhutan

Francoise: Students in Bhutan are starting to be interested by anthropology as they see it as a way to understand aspects of their culture and provide leads on social issues. However they do not have the luxury to study it as an intellectual topic and they will need to use it to gain employment.

Ritu: This is very much the case. Given the unique importance that Bhutan places on culture, and especially cultural resilience and promotion, as enshrined in the conceptual framework of Gross National Happiness, the attraction to anthropology is strong. Also, given the incredible influence of Vajrayana Buddhism in the country, where spiritual and cultural beliefs intermingle in profound ways, anthropology holds a special place. Students who are exposed to concepts and methodologies of anthropology are captured by its history, its ability to represent indigenous voices, and the analytical depth of lived experience captured by ethnography. Through anthropology, they are exposed to different cultural practices, norms and beliefs from around the world. In a country that was isolated from the world until 1959, tuned into television and internet in 1999, and became the world’s newest democracy in 2008, this provides an incredible treasure-house of knowledge and engagement with the world. Although Bhutan values an alternative and middle path to development that challenges GDP, materialism and environmental degradation so often associated with conventional understanding of ‘progress’, this recent paradoxical exposure to the outside world, has also resulted in rapid socio-cultural changes. Anthropology provides a valuable field of knowledge and methodology to view, document, attribute meaning to and protect important cultural practices in the face of globalization. While unemployment rates in Bhutan are not high compared to other countries, when combined with rural-urban migration, rapidly changing cultural identities and economic changes, these issues are of growing concern, and finding jobs is something that increasingly concerns students. The few anthropologists who have obtained Ph.D.s, have gone on to hold important leadership, policy-making, research and tertiary educational positions in the country, thereby making important contributions to nation-building and shaping the country in significant ways.

Can you tell us about your department, its specialties and how the award will help your department as it moves forward?

Audio-visual training at CLCS, 2013

Francoise: At CLCS Taktse (Royal University of Bhutan), the department of history and culture has a certain number of lecturers who teach different aspects of Bhutanese culture. Many have a MA but none have a PhD. Since the mid 2000′s, selected lecturers have been conducting field trips and documenting different aspects of the Tangible and intangible heritage of Bhutan in 2 districts (see www.bhutanculturalatlas.org) as well as recording rituals and writing articles about them in an ethnograhic way. They were provided with ad hoc training in research methodology. The Royal University of Bhutan is now encouraging lecturers to do research but many lack the training to go beyond purely ethnographic description so the award will be of immense help to establish an academic program which will first benefit to selected lecturers of the department. Once the lecturers get their Ph.D’.s, they will teach the program modules themselves and CLCS will be able to accommodate students and lecturers from other colleges as well as international students attracted by such a program in a unique country.

Class in the sun in winter as there is no heating in the classrooms. March 2015

Ritu: Although CLCS does not have a graduate or a doctoral program in anthropology, the need for a doctoral program that supports high quality ethnographic research in Bhutan is urgent. The department regularly receives requests for Ph.D.’s in anthropology and has hosted international visiting faculty for talks, seminars and research in Bhutan since 2005. At CLCS, an existing program of culture and anthropology is housed under the History and Culture Department which includes the Centre for History and Culture headed by the Dean of Research and International Links. Introduction to Anthropology and Himalayan Anthropology are taught in the Bhutan and Himalayan Studies (BHS) program at the undergraduate level. The Department also has an Audio-visual Unit (AVU) which documents and archives ethnographic materials such as rituals, dances, and oral histories. The department has been carrying out ethnographic research since 2005 under diverse projects and programs in Bhutan. Given the lack of an institutional framework and financial resources to further the field of anthropology at the doctoral level, it has not been able to systematically develop this aspect of the college. However, it benefits from the valued support of its Deans and esteemed Board of Governors, and most notably, His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who is the Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan, under which CLCS is a constituent college. The Director General of CLCS is strongly supportive and committed to the establishment of the doctoral program in anthropology. The Department has 26 full-time faculty with graduate degrees in history and cultural anthropology and with ethnographic fieldwork experience, two of whom are senior anthropologists. With the important support of the award, CLCS can now dedicate the expertise of senior anthropologists and resources for important enabling activities, for the development of such a program, given the critical gap that exists in the discipline in the country. The grant has also enabled the establishment of a significant partnership with esteemed anthropologists at the Department of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles (Dr. Akhil Gupta, Dr. Nancy Levine and Dr. Sherry Ortner), whose guidance, academic exchange and intellectual resources for the development of the doctoral program are invaluable.

Interview: Ibrahima Thiaw

Ibrahima Thiaw (second left) in the field in south eastern Senegal with a group of archaeology students from UCAD

Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw is Director of Anthropology at Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire /University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal. In 2017 Dr. Thiaw’s institution received a Wenner-Gren Institutional Development Grant to support the development of a doctoral program in anthropology. We recently reached out to Dr. Thiaw to discuss what originally drew him to the field of anthropology and to ask him his thoughts on anthropology in Senegal and how he hopes the Institutional Development Grant will help his department.

First can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be interested in anthropology?

My interests in anthropology are tightly intertwined with my life experience, one that was profoundly shaped by the politics of identity, at home in my native village, in Senegal, my home country, as well as internationally. As a young man, I was struck by modern contradictions within Senegalese society that I experienced from various vantage points. These were most manifest in the tensions between the city and the countryside, between hegemonic and marginalized ethnolinguistic communities, between world religions and local ones, as well as between different class, status and gender groups. All of these have shaped who I am today as a scholar born in a small village in inland Senegal, but who, moved by the tradewinds of academic life, has become a citizen of the global world.

As a child from a rural area and from an ethnic minority group, I experienced the distasteful jokes and forms of cultural othering common in Senegal, and widely accepted today when discussing cultural differences (ethnicity), physical appearance (race), and class, status and gender (social differences), even among well-educated people. As I began my undergraduate schooling in the mid-1980s, debates ignited by Cheikh Anta Diop against colonial anthropology helped me sharpen my consciousness of the role of anthropology in shaping past and present identities, and intercultural interactions. With time, however, I grew weary of Diop’s questionable historical and genealogical readings, and distrustful of narratives rooting identity in authenticity and cultural nationalism. I went into archaeology because I believed in the power of material empirical evidence to explore the human experience and open history to accounts of human life left out of documentary archives. Despite the limits of its different sources of enquiry, anthropology remains a credible window for a long-term exploration of cultural experience, but also a space for creatively imagining different presents and futures. For that very reason, anthropology offers a utopian stance, one that always bears a specific project for collective hopes and future improvements of the human experience via scholarship and education.

Ibrahima Thiaw (front left) and a group of students from UGB talking to a community leader in the northern Senegal

Who have been the anthropologists that have most influential in your own personal formation and why?

Senegalese scholar Cheikh Anta Diop, who drew on ancient civilizations (Egypt in particular), archaeology, and bioanthropology to unravel the modern foundations of European political and economic domination, was a major influence on my undergraduate self. In the context of the mid-1980s, these ideas were very attractive to many students of my generation who were exposed to a deep economic and political crisis marked by a series structural adjustments and political unrest impacting severely the academia; to many of us, these turbulences were linked to the expansion of neocolonial and neoliberal economies. I also became fascinated with the work of the French anthropologist, Andre Leroi Gourhan, because it dwelled less on origins and racial identity, but attended instead to the human experience, articulating neatly culture and technological development. In the 1990s, it was the work of my academic advisers, Susan K. McIntosh and Roderick J. McIntosh, that had the biggest influence on my professional growth. Their research in the floodplains of the Inland Niger Delta and the Middle Senegal Valley, which examined the conditions of emergence of early urban settlement, specialization, long-distance trade, identity formation and sociopolitical organization, and their articulations with climate and environmental changes, had a huge impact on my intellectual growth. Their perspectives, I believe, contributed to dismantling the long-held assumptions that Africa and Africans only participated marginally to world’s sociopolitical and economic development, and invited us to look more carefully at African agency in the production of culture at a time of growing interactions with the external world. It is in this context that I discovered the work of Eric Wolf, and Africanist anthropological archaeologists, such as Christopher DeCorse, and Ann B. Stahl, who offered unique insights into the historical anthropology of Atlantic impacts in Western Africa.

Can you tell us a little about anthropology in Senegal? What are the pressing questions and concerns for the discipline there?

In Senegal, anthropology has long been associated with colonial-based knowledge; as such, it was embedded in racial and cultural prejudice, and was distrusted for that reason. Anthropology’s roots were in French imperialism and French academia, with a firm commitment to evolutionary thinking, the study of language and ethnic identification and classifications to aid colonial governance, order, and discipline; paradoxically, it was also associated with colonial humanism, often tainted with some form of paternalism. Until now, anthropology in Senegalese academia continues to dwell largely on those cultural classifications that were created and/or fossilized by the colonial library, reifying notions of identity as stable trans-historical entities conveying the ‘substance’ of ethnic identities today. In that, anthropology in Senegal has failed to seriously examine the dynamics of power, history, and cultural change that are inherent to all cultural formations.

The pressing issues are not only to bring together the different subfields of anthropology for disciplinary conversations and revival, but also to decolonize the field by deconstructing its concepts, methodologies and theoretical orientations. A key concern is to work at redefining anthropology’s relations to power, knowledge production, and identity in order to renew and rebuild relations with communities, so that it becomes a problem-solving discipline rather than a source of problems.

After a lot of soul-searching and internal/external critique, it is time that anthropology ceased to be a mere instrument of domination at the service of power — or at best ignorant of power and thus complicit with it — to become a problem-solving discipline. This IDG will engage students on issues of critical importance to modern Senegalese society, including pressing matters of cultural differences and diversity, religious and cultural tolerance, ethics, resource management, environmental changes, gender equality, etc., to assist future policy-making, and propose credible and well-informed solutions to build better futures. This IDG will help us build trust between the disciplines of anthropology and policy-makers on one hand, and on the other, between the disciplines and local communities. In restoring that trust, anthropology is poised to become a usable instrument for governance and public education, and assume a central role in developing a new sense of citizenship, nationhood, and personhood.

Ibrahima Thiaw (extreme left) and a group of students analyzing material in the field lab

Is anthropology a subject that attracts students in Senegal?

Some subfields of anthropology, such as archaeology and linguistics, attract large numbers of students in Senegal, while others, like cultural anthropology and bio-anthropology, because of their quasi-absence in the curriculum, count virtually no student.  Parts of our efforts with this IDG will consist in strengthening the existing curricula in archaeology and linguistics, but also rebuilding the fields and relevance of cultural anthropology and bio-anthropology.

Can you tell us about your department, its specialties and how the award will help your department as it moves forward?

The Social Sciences Department of the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), includes disciplines such as archaeology, history, geography, and sociology. Over the past decades, however, these different scholarly fields remained largely disconnected from one another, quite often ignoring contributions from their colleagues next door. IFAN has also a linguistic laboratory, but it is part of the Department of Languages and Civilizations. Currently, there is need to create new synergies in the organisation of our departments and the training of our students.  This IDG will bring together archaeologists, linguists, cultural and bioanthropologists, not only from the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, but also from other universities in Senegal, such as the University Gaston Berger of Saint Louis and the University Assane Seck of Zinguinchor, to renew and develop conversations in anthropology. With the support of our different partners from the University of Chicago, Florida International University, Michigan State University, Smithsonian-National Museum of African American History and Culture, Rice University, William and Mary College and, University of Yale, we will develop new curricula that are bettter-adapted to Senegalese culture, politics, and needs in the twenty-first century.

Engaged Anthropology Grant: Ji Eun Kim

While a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, Ji Eun Kim received a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant in 2010  to aid research on “Building the Future and Mapping the Past: Urban Regeneration and Politics of Memory in Yokohama, Japan,” supervised by Dr. Jennifer Robertson. In 2016 Dr. Kim received an Engaged Anthropology Grant to aid engaged activities on “Encounters: The Ethics and Practice of Care in Underclass Japan”.

In the summer of 2016 I was once again standing on the waterfront of Yokohama listening to the waves gently lapping at the pier. Turning my head to the left I could see the skyline of high-rise buildings measuring up to the name of the district as ever, Minato Mirai 21, the Future Port 21. If I turned my back from the sea, just a twenty minute walk towards the inland it would lead to Kotobuki district where I conducted my dissertation fieldwork. Once the nation’s third largest day laborers’ quarter the district had become a stronghold of homeless activism at the time of my fieldwork in 2010. Tracing the intersecting fates of the two districts I was constantly brought back to an incident that occurred at this waterfront which left an indelible scar in local history. In February 1983, when the grand land reclamation project of the Future Port was under way, a homeless day laborer was found bleeding in a garbage can in the waterfront park with his ribs broken to the extent of almost being folded into half. The assailants, the police found out, were teenage boys, who had been carrying out a series of attacks against homeless laborers in the area claiming to, “clean the garbage off the city.” The collaborative activities launched by local organizations in the aftermath of the attacks, from the nightly visits to the homeless to the open-air soup kitchen, were my focal points of engagement and research during the fieldwork period. The view of the Future Port became a reminder for me of the violence lurking behind fantasies about the future. The serenity of the waterfront seemed cruelly indifferent to the struggles of the underclass and local activists.

Returning to the field site a year after completing my dissertation I originally planned to organize a workshop inspired by the Clemente Course for the Humanities. I had envisioned a trial workshop with invited scholars in the humanities in the hope of fostering conversations about the ethics of care and existential questions beyond the issue of immediate survival. However, after consulting with several long-term activists, I realized that such a project involving external experts could reinforce the hierarchy that was likely to exist between outsiders and local people. Given the increasing media attention to externally funded projects in the district, long-term activists were wary of bringing in external experts who had not gained trust from local residents through prior commitments. Taking into account these concerns I reached the conclusion that an in-depth discussion among long-term activists and supporters about their own views of social engagement in the district would be an exercise worthwhile in itself.

In collaboration with the Kotobuki Workshop (Kotobuki Wāku), a supporters’ network that hosted regular seminars for college students and volunteers, I organized a colloquium under the title of “Living Together (Tomoni ikiru koto).” Coordinated to take place after the monthly flea market on September 10, 2016 the colloquium was hosted in a sheltered workshop located a few blocks away from the market. After offering a brief overview of my dissertation to set the ground I facilitated a discussion among a dozen of participants, most of whom had spent years engaged in respective support activities in the district. Starting with a critical assessment of the title of this colloquium, “living together,” which was a phrase often used by advocates of anti-discrimination, we further discussed the role of collective memory and shared narratives. I asked if embodying the narratives of others, like Hiroshima’s A-bomb legacy successor program would work in our context. One activist who worked for a publishing company noted the difficulty of narrating one’s own story in an intriguing manner. Others remarked that the simple act of listening could heal wounds on both sides, reflecting on their own respective experiences of listening to Kotobuki residents. Another line of discussion followed my question of whether communal burial practices in Kotobuki could work as a model of crafting alternative social ties in aging Japan. A young activist who was preparing to take over her father’s funeral business concurred with me and shared her plans of pursuing environmental activism through alternative burial practices such as scattering ashes in the mountains. Criticizing the family ideology underlying the unsustainable and exclusive ancestral burials another activist and social worker noted how the household registration system caused unwanted disruptions in the living arrangements of impoverished families when they sought welfare assistance. Wrapping up the colloquium, I added that living together in a degrowth and post-labor society might necessitate enacting various forms of mutuality and solidarity.

This engaged project intended to offer renewed insights into the existing activities of engagement in the field site. I hope that the threads of discussion be carried on by the participants as they continue their engagement in the nightly visits to the homeless, the soup kitchen, disability workshops, and youth seminars. In addition to reconnecting with key organizations and sharing copies of my dissertation I was also able to build a new relationship with a group of health activists and assist in their sessions of free medical counseling in the district. Discussing possibilities of continuing engagement in their activities I agreed to write reports for them on topics such as medical support for the Syrian refugees in Germany or mental health care in Korea. All in all, my trial and error during this project led me to rethink what it meant to be an engaged anthropologist in a field with a rich legacy of engaged activities. This engaged project explored the potentials of staying attuned to the rhythms of activities rooted in long-term commitments in the hope of amplifying their reverberations.

Engaged Anthropology Grant: Nancy Moinde

Leading a focus group discussions on human-baboon conflict during the guides training workshop

While a doctoral student at Rutgers University Nancy Moinde received a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant in 2008 to aid research on “Effects of Land Use Practices on the Socioecology of Olive Baboons,” supervised by Dr. Ryne Arthur Palombit. In 2015 Dr. Moinde received an Engaged Anthropology Grant to aid engaged activities on “The Human-baboon Interface: Implications for Wildlife Conservation and Management in Laikipia County, Kenya”.

In April of 2015 I returned to my fieldsite to carry out my engagement project with the aim of the project being to inform on values that would promote tolerance and foster practices to alleviate conflict towards baboons and potentially other wildlife in Laikipia.

Projects Activities

Local baboon management strategies based on research recommendations

Giving a seminar during the lecture series of the 10 days wildlife management guides raining on the influence of land use systems on human-baboon interactions in Laikipia County.

Both the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, (LWF) and Keyna Wildlife Services, (KWS) work closely together in matters pertaining to wildlife management conservation and policy in Laikipia County. The LWF is a dynamic membership-driven organization of small holders, community groups, and conservancy stakeholders focusing on integrated natural resources management. The KWS is a parastatal – which is the main arm of the government that deals with national wildlife management and conservation issues in unprotected areas. I disseminated baboon management strategic recommendations to both these organizations as they significantly contribute to implementing wildlife management conservation policy as explained in more detail below.

Dissemination of findings through various established LWF Environmental Education and Eco Literacy Program (EEELP) network structures: The LWF EEELP’s main goal is to disseminate information through formal and informal education programs in Laikipia.  Using the established LWF EEELP network, I was able to more efficiently disseminate my research findings through their various networks and membership. Another dissemination strategy the EEELP platform used to inform the public was through online blogs and newsletters. I also trained Conservancy wildlife guides on human-wildlife conflict management as part of the larger objectives of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum Strategic plan 2010-2015.

Publication of research findings using LWF EEELP network channels: I published chapter 4 of my dissertation through the well-circulated local Laikipia Wildlife Forum Newsletter, which is issued on a quarterly basis annually.

Secretariat of the National Primate Conservation Task Force (NPCTF)

Members of the National Primate Task Force (NPCTF). From Left: Prof, Shirley Strum, Dr. Isaac Lekolool, Monica Chege, Lineaus Kariuki (Chair-KWS) and on the Right side: Pam Cunneyworth, Dr. Yvonne de Jong, Dr. Tom Butynski, Peter Fundi and Dr. Nancy Moinde (Taking picture) in the last NPCTF meeting held in the Kenya Wildlife Services headquarters in 29th February 2016. Peter Fundi and Dr. Nancy Moinde (both the Institute of Primate Research) represent the NPCTF secretariat

The NPCTF is a forum where primatologists discuss matters pertaining to primate conservation and management strategies: Information is gathered from various ongoing research projects.  Some of the primatologist in the NPCTF, such as, Prof Shirley Strum (California – San Diego), Dr. Tom Butynski and Dr. Yvonne de Jong (Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Programme)  have ongoing research sites and activities in Laikipia and are all members of LWF and the National Primate Task Force (NPCTF).

The goal of the NPCTF is to develop national strategic primate management and conservation guidelines with KWS as the Chair of all national wildlife species Task Forces. The KWS newsletter summarizes the objectives of the NPCTF since its inception in 2013.

Promoting mutualistic values by coordinating students “walking with baboons” onsite visits in Laikipia County

Onsite visit by students from different academic institutions to experience “walking with baboons” project which is part of the “baboon tourism initiatives” in Laikipia County

I taught students about the olive baboon’s social systems, feeding ecology and  the local people’s values towards baboons  in a group of habituated baboons where “baboon-tourism” is undertaken in Il Polei in Laikipia County. Topics also included the cost and benefits of living “with baboons in relation to “baboon-tourism” as a land use ecotourism endeavor. I also arranged for  students from different academic institutions to attend the baboon research project near Twala to learn more about baboon social and feeding behavior from an evolutionary perspective and inform on local people’s values in response to “baboon-tourism” as a viable land use option in Laikipia County.

The Primatology, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Field School (PWEC)

Giving a primate ecological lectures in the field (pointing the white board) on primate socioecology as part of the Primate Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Field School activities

The PWEC field school offers undergraduate and graduate students from different American and Kenyan universities a unique opportunity to learn about wildlife biodiversity across a range of diverse East African habitats. As the Field Director of the PWEC field school, I contributed to the formulation of an academic syllabus that exposed students to various conservation problems, current debates, and emerging innovative solutions that are contextually and culturally different than any they would  find elsewhere. The guest speakers were selected from a wide range of conservation interest groups and included wildlife ecologists and conservationists. Diverse  guest speakers whose wildlife and community based research activities in Laikipia also participated  and  contributed immensely to interactive discussions and constructive debate on different dimensions of wildlife conservation strategies.

The PWEC field school syllabus  outlines the diversity of conservation management themes from various national and international wildlife ecologist and conservationists whose research is based in Laikipia. Note that the syllabus also includes presentation and discussions I gave to students on my PhD findings on baboon socioecology and interactions with humans in Laikipia as part of the goal of this project.

International Primatological Symposium and Conference Presentation – January 2016, Held in Nanyuki, Kenya

I participated in a primatologist symposium that discussed issues related to human-non-human primate interactions. Topics on the symposium included human exploitation of animals as resources, their symbolic significance to humans and varied culturally constructed values and agendas around wildlife from different parts of the globe.

Symposium with Primate ecologist and conservationist: The topic under discussion was entitled,

People-primate interactions: understanding ‘conflicts’ to facilitate coexistence.

Participants: Kate Hill (Oxford Brookes University), Nancy Moinde (Department of Conservation Biology, Institute of Primate Research), Joana Sousa (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Evora), Matthew McLennan (Anthropology Centre for Conservation, Environment and Development, Oxford Brookes University), Amanda Webber  (Bristol Zoological Society).

I also presented the results of my  PhD thesis at the Pathways conference. The presentation was entitled “The effects of land use practices on human-baboon (Papio hamadryas anubis) interactions in Laikipia County, Kenya.”

 

NYAS @ WGF 4/24: Unraveling Disciplinary Mind-sets

Join us Monday evening April 24th at 5:45 PM at The Wenner-Gren Foundation for the next installment of the New York Academy of Sciences lecture series. Laura Nader, Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley will be presenting, “Unraveling Disciplinary Mind-sets”. Dr. Nadia Abu El-Haj,
Department of Anthropology, Barnard College/Columbia University will act as discussant.

Please note: the lecture begins at 6:30 PM, and while the event is free to attend pre-registration is required for entry into the building. Please also note that registration for this event will close at 5PM on Friday April 21st. Registration for this event will only be admitted at the door as space allows.

The study of disciplinary mind-sets was in part stimulated by Thomas Kuhn’s book on paradigm shifts, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), in which he distinguishes “normal science” from non-hegemonic paradigm free science. The study of the paradigm of science is a rich academic subject for contemporary anthropology as well as for philosophers and historians of science. The specific focus of my discussion will be the “mind-sets” that inform contemporary Energy Sciences and the challenges that these mind-sets present.

-PLEASE NOTE EARLIER START TIME FOR DINNER AND LECTURE-

Buffet Dinner at 5:45 pm ($20 contribution for dinner guests / free for students).
Lecture begins at 6:30 pm and are free and open to the public.

Missed the lecture? Listen to it now! Formal introductions to speaker and discussant begin at the 5:30 mark.

 

 

 

 

 

Symposium #155: “Cultures of Militarism”

This past March Wenner-Gren once again returned to the Tivoli Palácio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal for the 155th Symposium“Cultures of Militarism”. As always, you can expect a Current Anthropology special issue forthcoming, containing the meeting’s papers and available to all 100% Open-Access.

Front: Laurie Obbink, Diane Nelson, Danny Hoffman, Leslie Aiello, Daniel Goldstein, Erica Weiss, Maria Clemencia Ramirez. Middle: Alex Fattal, Scott Ross, Brian Rappert, Faisal Devji, Francisco Ferrándiz, Rema Hammami. Back: Andy Bickford, Tony Robben, Danilyn Rutherford, Hugh Gusterson, Catherine Besteman, Ayse Gul Altinay.

ORGANIZERS’ STATEMENT 

Cultures of Militarism

Catherine Besteman, Colby College

Hugh Gusterson, George Washington University

 Anthropological interest in militarism has grown dramatically in recent decades.  These years have seen the collapse of some Cold War client states, the proliferation of militia-led insurgencies, the increasing articulation of counterinsurgency abroad with domestic policing at home in many Western countries, the reformulation of the UN into an institution of militarized peacekeeping and occupation, and a growing awareness of the ways in which militarism as a set of cultural practices and ideologies pervades all domains of social life. The symposium aims to develop anthropological analyses of militarism as it is currently evolving both in the global north and south.  We are particularly interested in the ways the new militarism inflects law, gender, subjectivity, social memory, knowledge production, popular culture, labor, and cultural constructions of security.

Militarism is a cultural system; it is shaped through ideology and rhetoric, effected through bodies and technologies, made visible and invisible through campaigns of imagery and knowledge production, and it colonizes aspects of social life such as reproduction, self-awareness, and notions of community.  We seek to provoke conversations about militarism in its established and emergent forms, probing its genealogies, its facility at colonizing daily life, and its ability to present itself as a response to insecurities it has itself provoked.

The new militarism operates through a variety of legal and territorial regimes.  Arrangements of occupation, as in Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, coexist with the U.S. archipelago of hundreds of foreign military bases.  Meanwhile the replacement of state militaries throughout the world with militarized non-state entities that may operate outside of national and international law, such as militias, private security contractors, pirates, and even NGOs is shifting militarism in some contexts from a set of state-sanctioned and controlled structures to a contested, often opaque, set of negotiations and confrontations between actors responding to the demands and desires of leaders who may or may not have any legal or official political recognition.  How can we make sense of an emerging world order where powerful military entities are ascendant that may not represent the interests of states and who may not be responsive to international agreements concerning warfare? What is the role of law in this emergent world order?

We will also discuss the implications of new military technologies.  These include drones and surveillance technologies that enable targeted killings and renditions outside of formally declared warzones, as well as technologies to shield and re-engineer the human body.  Military practice is also inflected by new media technologies and the projects of memorialization they enable. How are militarized acts and atrocities recorded, analyzed, remembered, archived?  What are the implications of the new relationships being forged in the US between military and popular culture creators, such as Hollywood films, video game companies, and toy companies?  How does cultural production through military-entertainment professionals shape the militarization of knowledge, subjectivity, and cultural memory?

We would also like to explore the expansion of militarism into other social domains through the broad militarization of security, such as in policing, border security and migration, humanitarian interventions, and responses to natural disasters. Police forces in the US adopt heavy military materiel produced for war; US military forces train police forces in African and Middle Eastern countries; humanitarian interventions in the Balkans, Haiti, and African countries are now routinely conducted in collaboration with or through institutions run by military organizations; immigration control across southern Europe, the US-Mexican border, and in Israel makes increasing use of military technology, tactics, and practices to police the movement of people.

We aim for a symposium and, beyond that, an outstanding special issue of Current Anthropology that, while anchored in the perspective of anthropology, brings together in conversation analyses from different disciplines (including geography and political science), perspectives from the global south as well as the north, and analytic frames grounded in a range of epistemologies.

Meet Our 2017 Wadsworth International Fellows: Fatemeh Ghaheri

Fatemeh Ghaheri received her undergraduate education at the University of Tehran, Iran. Thanks to the Wadsworth International Fellowship she will continue her training with a PhD in archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin, supervised by Dr. Arlene Rosen.

During  my  undergraduate  and graduate career  in archaeology at  the  University of  Tehran  and  Tarbiat  Modares in Iran a number of academic and research experiences strengthened my desire to pursue graduate work.

My research background includes studies of non-elite architecture, site function and landscape in Iran around 500 BCE in Achaemenid lands among non-elite and elite levels of society. Among other issues that I explored in my investigations is the role that environmental and natural elements played in the distribution of ancient sites in the western part of Iran. By examining the relationship between geography, environment and topography, and human settlement distributions and types I explored how humans chose their settlements regarding environment and geography cautiously.

In my current research I will use phytolith analyses to analyze the impact of ancient empires on agriculture and land-use. I will also study the impact of imperial control on local peasant agricultural production. I would like to compare this type of agriculture with farming choices made by peasant farmers who might tend to choose special types of plants because they are a more reliable source of food and would guarantee a reduction in risk in the event of unexpected and unpredicted droughts and floods. To study these plants and plant-based products and analyze the impact of imperial control on land-use and agriculture, I will collect phytolith data through my field work in Iraqi Kurdistan at an on-going excavation of an Assyrian-period town site. I will then conduct phytolith analyses on these samples in the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

What impressed me most about The University of Texas at Austin’s graduate program in the department of Anthropology are the diverse, multidimensional and interdisciplinary research interests of the faculty members and their expertise in such different approaches. Fostering fruitful discussions with other departments will surely broaden and enrich my skills as well as my general understanding of the issues.

 

Engaged Anthropology Grant: Carwil Bjork-James

Poster announcing academic seminar on The Sovereign Street: The City as a Terrain of Protest

Carwil Bjork-James is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. In 2010 he received a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant to aid research on “Claiming Space, Redefining Politics: Urban Protest and Grassroots Power in Bolivia,” supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman. In 2015 Dr. Bjork-James received an Engaged Anthropology Grant to aid engaged activities on “Public Space, Self-Organization, and Indigenous Values in Bolivia’s Urban Movements”.

My engagement project, centered around an early November trip to Bolivia, brought my research back to the community where I did most of my fieldwork, Cochabamba, Bolivia. My recent work centers on urban social movements in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which became internationally famous for the Water War, a 1999–2000 campaign against the privatization of the public water system that inspired the Goya Award-winning film También La Lluvia. In the years that followed, mass mobilizations taking over central urban spaces were a vital part of nationwide political upheaval, leading to the resignation of two presidents and dramatic political transformations. My dissertation research, conducted in 2010 and 2011 with the support of Wenner-Gren and the National Science Foundation, investigated space-claiming urban protests using oral history interviews, collecting documents, and experiencing the daily realities of protest and political organizing. My research integrates an experiential understanding of mass protest with an analysis of how both racialized and governmental power function in and through public space. By focusing on social life as experienced through the human body, the meanings attached to place, and social movement practices, I explain how race and power are lived and changed through protest.

Booklet: "Voces y Visiones de La Calle Soberana"

My engagement project involved four components: a 38-page booklet Voces y Visiones de La Calle Soberana (“Voices and Visions of the Sovereign Street”), an academic presentation, a community dialogue with activists and academics, and a collection of twenty photos exhibited alongside the community dialogue. The Spanish-language booklet compiles brief ethnographic descriptions and segments of oral history interviews to document how space-claiming protests (especially road blockades) wield power by interrupting economic life, how urban and rural organizations organize internally, and the role of indigenous values in urban organizations. The booklet is illustrated with photographs and was professionally printed. I distributed 100 copies of the booklet in Cochabamba and had conversations with local contacts about producing and publishing an expanded version.

Carwil Bjork-James presents to an audience at the Centro de Estudios Superiores Universitarios (CESU), a multidisciplinary research centre of the University Mayor San Simón

The Engaged Anthropology Grant offered me the opportunity to share my reflections and research conclusions with activists and academics, two groups that are already very much in dialogue. In contemporary Bolivia, the politics of indigeneity, local autonomy, and community self-organization are well articulated and politically influential. The Documentation and Information Center of Bolivia (CEDIB) and the Centro de Estudios Superiores Universitarios (CESU) of the public Higher University of San Simón, which hosted my two events, are two institutions that reflect a local tradition of engaged research and political commitment.

I organized a research presentation at CESU presenting my findings on protest and public space and a community dialogue (or Conversatorio) at CEDIB discussing forms of self-organization among social movements. The presentation, entitled “The City as Terrain of Protest,” was attended by 20 to 25 students and academics. My research shows that the political import of mass protests in Bolivia arises from their interruption of commercially important flows and appropriation of meaning-laden spaces. These protests put forward a new model for governance of their country by inverting the historic exclusion of the indigenous majority and enacting collaborative forms of democracy in the streets.

Community activists, scholars, and advocates participate in a conversation on forms of grassroots movement organization in Bolivia at the Center for Documentation and Information of Bolivia

The community dialogue brought together over 35 community activists, students, academics, and politically involved expatriates to discuss a series of ideas that I presented about the way that Bolivian movements organize. I argued that Bolivian grassroots organizations have two distinct organizational cultures, each with their own internal ethics. Some grassroots organizations are “dense”—including labor unions and neighborhood associations. These groups are bound together by a formal organizational structure and a countervailing ethic that subordinates leaders to the grassroots bases from which they emerge. Others are “nimble,” involving individuals who join voluntarily without a joint decision by the communities where they live or work, and achieve their political effects by networking. While some of these differences and tensions were familiar to participants, I was able to use ethnographic examples to inspire activists to reflect on their own practice. In conversation, we came to a shared acknowledgement of the interdependence of these often-counterposed approaches to political action.

Photography has been an important part of my fieldwork, and I returned from my research in Cochabamba with over seven thousand still images of protests, public events, public spaces, and daily life in Bolivia. This task of re-presenting the process of protest to a Bolivian audience pushed me to make use of these photographs in a new way to illustrate the process of protest as well as to elicit the emotions associated with its most exuberant or affecting moments. The twenty poster-sized images that were hung at CEDIB during and after my presentation and the ten images that are part of the Voces y Visiones booklet range show mass mobilization as simultaneously a personal and collective activity and illustrate how protesters make the city their own.

Poster announcing community conversation on Dense and Nimble Activisms: Organization and Ethics in Bolivian Grassroots Movements

During my visit, several of my former interviewees approached me to express appreciation for making the effort to return the knowledge I gained from my fieldwork to Bolivia. While Cochabamba has attracted a fair number of social scientists from the global North, they observed, the relationship has usually been one way. For my part, engaging with on-the-ground researchers at CEDIB and getting feedback from Bolivian academics was invaluable. I’ve long been aware of the rich academic production within the country about Bolivian social movements, but this fall gave me some of my first opportunities to talk productively about my work with them. It also served to cement several relationships that will be crucial for future ethnographic work, and for dissemination of my forthcoming book in the country whose political life it describes.