California Series in Public Anthropology

Published by: University of California Press

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California Series in Public Anthropology

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Annihilating Difference

The Anthropology of Genocide

Alexander Laban Hinton

Genocide is one of the most pressing issues that confronts us today. Its death toll is staggering: over one hundred million dead. Because of their intimate experience in the communities where genocide takes place, anthropologists are uniquely positioned to explain how and why this mass annihilation occurs and the types of devastation genocide causes. This ground breaking book, the first collection of original essays on genocide to be published in anthropology, explores a wide range of cases, including Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Bosnia.

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I Did It to Save My Life

Love and Survival in Sierra Leone

Catherine Bolten

Utilizing narratives of seven different people—soldier, rebel, student, trader, evangelist, father, and politician—I Did it To Save My Life provides fresh insight into how ordinary Sierra Leoneans survived the war that devastated their country for a decade. Individuals in the town of Makeni narrate survival through the rubric of love, and by telling their stories and bringing memory into the present, create for themselves a powerful basis on which to reaffirm the rightness of their choices and orient themselves to a livable everyday. The book illuminates a social world based on love, a deep, compassionate relationship based on material exchange and nurturing, that transcends romance and binds people together across space and through time. In situating their wartime lives firmly in this social world, they call into question the government’s own narrative that Makeni residents openly collaborated with the rebel RUF during its three-year occupation of the town. Residents argue instead that it was the government’s disloyalty to its people, rather than rebel invasion and occupation, which destroyed the town and forced uneasy co-existence between civilians and militants.

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Returned

Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation

Deborah Boehm

Returned follows transnational Mexicans as they experience the alienation and unpredictability of deportation, tracing the particular ways that U.S. immigration policies and state removals affect families. Deportation—an emergent global order of social injustice—reaches far beyond the individual deportee, as family members with diverse U.S. immigration statuses, including U.S. citizens, also return after deportation or migrate for the first time. The book includes accounts of displacement, struggle, suffering, and profound loss but also of resilience, flexibility, and imaginings of what may come. Returned tells the story of the chaos, and design, of deportation and its aftermath.

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Scratching Out a Living

Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South

Angela Stuesse

How has Latino immigration transformed the South? In what ways is the presence of these newcomers complicating efforts to organize for workplace justice? Scratching Out a Living takes readers deep into Mississippi’s chicken processing plants and communities, where large numbers of Latin American migrants were recruited in the mid-1990s to labor alongside an established African American workforce in some of the most dangerous and lowest-paid jobs in the country. As America’s voracious appetite for chicken has grown, so has the industry’s reliance on immigrant workers, whose structural position makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

Based on the author’s six years of collaboration with a local workers’ center, this book explores how Black, white, and new Latino Mississippians have lived and understood these transformations. Activist anthropologist Angela Stuesse argues that people’s racial identifications and relationships to the poultry industry prove vital to their interpretations of the changes they are experiencing. Illuminating connections between the area’s long history of racial inequality, the industry’s growth and drive to lower labor costs, immigrants’ contested place in contemporary social relations, and workers’ prospects for political mobilization, Scratching Out a Living paints a compelling ethnographic portrait of neoliberal globalization and calls for organizing strategies that bring diverse working communities together in mutual construction of a more just future.

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They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields

Illness, Injury, and Illegality among U.S. Farmworkers

Sarah Bronwen Horton

They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields takes the reader on an ethnographic tour of the melon and corn harvesting fields in California’s Central Valley to understand why farmworkers die at work each summer. Laden with captivating detail of farmworkers’ daily work and home lives, Horton examines how U.S. immigration policy and the historic exclusion of farmworkers from the promises of liberalism has made migrant farmworkers what she calls “exceptional workers.” She explores the deeply intertwined political, legal, and social factors that place Latino migrants at particular risk of illness and injury in the fields, as well as the patchwork of health care, disability, and Social Security policies that provide them little succor when they become sick or grow old. The book takes an in-depth look at the work risks faced by migrants at all stages of life: as teens, in their middle-age, and ultimately as elderly workers. By following the lives of a core group of farmworkers over nearly a decade, Horton provides a searing portrait of how their precarious immigration and work statuses culminate in preventable morbidity and premature death.

 

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Why Did They Kill?

Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide

Alexander Laban Hinton

Of all the horrors human beings perpetrate, genocide stands near the top of the list. Its toll is staggering: well over 100 million dead worldwide. Why Did They Kill? is one of the first anthropological attempts to analyze the origins of genocide. In it, Alexander Hinton focuses on the devastation that took place in Cambodia from April 1975 to January 1979 under the Khmer Rouge in order to explore why mass murder happens and what motivates perpetrators to kill. Basing his analysis on years of investigative work in Cambodia, Hinton finds parallels between the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi regimes. Policies in Cambodia resulted in the deaths of over 1.7 million of that country's 8 million inhabitants—almost a quarter of the population--who perished from starvation, overwork, illness, malnutrition, and execution. Hinton considers this violence in light of a number of dynamics, including the ways in which difference is manufactured, how identity and meaning are constructed, and how emotionally resonant forms of cultural knowledge are incorporated into genocidal ideologies.

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