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Anthropology Engages the New Immigration
Soaring immigration to the United States in the past few decades has reawakened both popular and scholarly interest in this important issue. American Arrivals highlights the important insights of anthropology for the field of migration studies. The authors reflect on anthropological approaches, methods, and theories and seek to develop a research program for the future. Placing contemporary immigration in the perspective of globalization and transnational social fields, their essays demonstrate the importance of gender and urban contexts to understanding immigrants' lives. Addressing issues of health care, education, and cultural values and practices among Mexicans, Haitians, Somalis, Afghans, and other newcomers to the United States, the authors illuminate the complex ways that immigrants adapt to life in a new land and raise serious questions about the meaning and political uses of ideas about cultural difference.
Drawing on fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Peru, Guatemala, India, Chad, Colombia, and South Africa, the contributors examine official documentary practices and their forms and falsifications; the problems that highly mobile mercenaries, currency, goods, arms, and diamonds pose to the state; emerging non-state regulatory authorities; and the role language plays as cultures struggle to articulate their situation. These case studies provide wide-ranging analyses of the relationship between states and peoples on the edges of state power's effective reign.
Genes, Biology, and Culture
What do we know about race today? Is it surprising that after a hundred years of debate and inquiry by anthropologists, the answer not only remains uncertain but the very question is so fraught? In part, this reflects the deep investments modern societies have made in the notion of race. This volume arises out of the fracturing of that consensus and the attendant recognition that asserting constructionist stance is no longer a tenable or sufficient response to the surge of knowledge claims about race.
“Biosecurity” has ballooned into an increasingly mundane aspect of human experience, serving as a catchall for the detection, surveillance, containment, and deflection of everything from epidemics and natural disasters to resource scarcities and political insurgencies. The bundling together of security measures, its associated infrastructure, and its modes of governance alongside response times underscores a new urgency of preparedness—a growing global ethos ever alert to unforeseen danger—and actions that favor risk assessment, imagined worst-case scenarios, and carefully orchestrated, preemptive interventions. The contributors to Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability understand biosecurity to be a practice that links national identity with the securitization of daily governance. They argue against biosecurity as the new status quo by focusing instead on its ugly underbelly. Through considering the vulnerability of individuals and groups, particularly looking at how vulnerability propagates in the shadow of biosecurity, this volume challenges the acceptance of surveillance and security measures as necessities of life in the new millennium.
Markets, Values, and Moral Economies
The moral aspects of the marketplace have never been so contentious or consequential. However, the realm of economics is often treated as a world unto itself, a domain where human behavior is guided not by emotions, beliefs, moralities, or the passions that fascinate anthropologists but by the hard calculus of rational choices.
Community has long been a critical concept for social scientists, and never more so amid the growing economic inequity, natural and human disasters, and warfare of the opening years of the twenty-first century. In this volume, leading scholar-activists develop a conceptual framework for both the theory and practice of building communities. Rethinking the very concept in light of technological change and globalization, they examine local responses to worldwide trends, study the ways that communities generate and use resources, and evaluate existing theories and approaches to community building to determine the best strategies for fostering community strength and vitality. Their work with groups ranging from refugees, religious charities, and poor urban neighborhoods to tribal peoples, international corporations, and public health agencies demonstrates that local communities contain the seeds for a more desirable future and suggests how we may encourage those seeds to grow.
Unexpected Contexts, Shifting Constituencies, Changing Agendas
Building on the legacy of Writing Culture, Critical Anthropology Now vividly represents the changing nature of anthropological research practice, demonstrating how new and more complicated locations of research-from the boardrooms of multinational corporations to the chat rooms of the Internet-are giving rise to shifts in the character of fieldwork and fieldworker.
Secrecy, Literacy, and Perfectibility in Indigenous New Mexico
In Fixing the Books, Erin Debenport presents the research she conducted on an indigenous language literacy effort within a New Mexico Pueblo community, and the potential of that literacy to compromise Pueblo secrecy. She analyzes the decision to produce written materials in a historically oral language and whether that decision is at odds with the linguistically and culturally “conservative” reputation of Southwest tribes, and potentially disrupts the control of both the intra- and intercommunity circulation of cultural knowledge. Debenport concentrates on the role of literacy in the formation of groups and the ways such groups have been connected to political participation, using the case study of San Ramón Pueblo (she uses pseudonyms throughout) as a counterexample to some of the prototypical cases of textual circulation. She concludes that an apparent contradiction surrounding this pueblo’s literacy effort is actually a reflection of the often unexpected uses of texts that occur in contexts of revitalization and emergent literacy and the multiple language ideologies being utilized by community members.
Ethical Implications of Collecting Antiquities in the Twenty-first Century
Ownership of "the past"-a concept invoking age-old struggles to possess and control ancient objects-is an essential theme in understanding our global cultural heritage. Beyond ownership, however, lies the debate over who has the right to collect and display antiquities.