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Among the White Moon Faces

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim

In this American Book Award-winning autobiography, Shirley Geok-lin Lim recalls her girlhood as part of a Chinese family in war-torn Malaysia, and her later life in the United States, where she moves from alienation as a dislocated Asian woman to a new sense of identity as an Asian-American woman. Lim's memoir explores colonialism, Chinese/Malaysian relations, and race relations in the US, as well as the intricacies of the academic life.

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Amy Signs

A Mother, Her Daughter, and their Stories

Rebecca Willman Gernon and Amy Willman

“Thirty-seven years ago, I vowed to write a truthful book about raising a deaf child.” Rebecca Willman Gernon followed through on her promise with her deaf daughter Amy Willman in this extraordinary new narrative. Many stories have been told about a parent’s struggle to help her deaf child succeed in a mostly hearing world. Amy Signs marks a signature departure in that both Rebecca and Amy relate their perspectives on their journey together. When she learns of 11-month-old Amy’s deafness in 1969, Rebecca fully expresses her anguish, and traces all of the difficulties she endured in trying to find the right educational environment for Amy. The sacrifices of the rest of her family weighed heavily on her, also. When she resolved to place four-year-old Amy in Nebraska’s residential school for deaf students, the emotional toll seemed too much to bear. Amy’s view acts as the perfect counterpoint. Interwoven with her mother’s story, Amy’s account confirms that signing served her best. She summarizes life in boarding school as “laughter and homesickness.” She laughed with all of her deaf friends, though felt homesick at times. Amy thanks her mother for the gift of sign, asserting that a mainstream education would never have led her to earn a master’s degree and later teach ASL at the University of Nebraska. Amy Signs is a positive albeit cautionary tale for parents of deaf children today whose only choice is a mainstreamed education.

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Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina

James A. Baer

From 1868 through 1939, anarchists' migrations from Spain to Argentina and back again created a transnational ideology and influenced the movement's growth in each country. James A. Baer follows the lives, careers, and travels of Diego Abad de Santillán, Manuel Villar, and other migrating anarchists to highlight the ideological and interpersonal relationships that defined a vital era in anarchist history. Drawing on extensive interviews with Abad de Santillán, José Grunfeld, and Jacobo Maguid, along with unusual access to anarchist records and networks, Baer uncovers the ways anarchist migrants in pursuit of jobs and political goals formed a critical nucleus of militants, binding the two countries in an ideological relationship that profoundly affected the history of both. He also considers the impact of reverse migration and discusses political decisions that had a hitherto unknown influence on the course of the Spanish Civil War. Personal in perspective and transnational in scope, Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina offers an enlightening history of a movement and an era.

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Andean Cocaine

The Making of a Global Drug

Paul Gootenberg

Illuminating a hidden and fascinating chapter in the history of globalization, Paul Gootenberg chronicles the rise of one of the most spectacular and now illegal Latin American exports: cocaine.

Gootenberg traces cocaine's history from its origins as a medical commodity in the nineteenth century to its repression during the early twentieth century and its dramatic reemergence as an illicit good after World War II. Connecting the story of the drug's transformations is a host of people, products, and processes: Sigmund Freud, Coca-Cola, and Pablo Escobar all make appearances, exemplifying the global influences that have shaped the history of cocaine. But Gootenberg decenters the familiar story to uncover the roles played by hitherto obscure but vital Andean actors as well--for example, the Peruvian pharmacist who developed the techniques for refining cocaine on an industrial scale and the creators of the original drug-smuggling networks that decades later would be taken over by Colombian traffickers.

Andean Cocaine proves indispensable to understanding one of the most vexing social dilemmas of the late twentieth-century Americas: the American cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and, in its wake, the seemingly endless U.S. drug war in the Andes.

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Another Arabesque

Offering a novel approach to the study of ethnicity in the neoliberal market, Another Arabesque is the first full-length book in English to focus on the estimated seven million Arabs in Brazil. With insights gained from interviews and fieldwork, John Tofik Karam examines how Brazilians of Syrian-Lebanese descent have gained greater visibility and prominence as the country has embraced its globalizing economy, particularly its relations with Arab Gulf nations. At the same time, he recounts how Syrian-Lebanese descendents have increasingly self-identified as "Arabs." Karam demonstrates how Syrian-Lebanese ethnicity in Brazil has intensified through market liberalization, government transparency, and consumer diversification. Utilizing an ethnographic approach, he employs current social and business phenomena as springboards for investigation and discussion. Uncovering how Arabness appears in places far from the Middle East, Another Arabesque makes a new and valuable contribution to the study of how identity is formed and shaped in the modern world.

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Another Country

Queer Anti-Urbanism

Scott Herring, 0, 0

“Scott Herring presents an exquisitely detailed road atlas of the complicated intersection between topography and destiny.”

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Another Mother

Co-Parenting with the Foster Care System

Sarah Gerstenzang

One night after midnight social workers brought a baby girl to the author's home, and her life as a foster mother began. A social worker herself, Gerstenzang discovered that raising Cecilia, deespite all the personal joys, would be a complex and frustrating process of "co-parenting" with the foster care system in New York City. Foster parents are in great demand, but they are not necessarily treated well. We follow the author through the home visits, the Early Intervention evaluation, the WIC program that (with much bureaucratic hassle) provides free formula and cereal, and the mandatory parenting training sessions. She comments, "When Michael and I became foster parents, we learned how stigmatizing, demoralizing, and just plain inconvenient and time-consuming being part of the 'unentitled' population can be. With the exception of Early Intervention, we often felt that the programs were more concerned with regulating our behavior than with providing services."

Regular meetings with the birth family were also part of the process. Not only were they awkward for all concerned, but each visit involved a commute of several hours. One social worker admitted that she preferred a foster parent who didn't work because that person could more easily comply with the time-consuming regulations. Sarah and her husband Michael also agonize over complying with special regulations about hiring babysitters or traveling ("anytime we left New York State we needed to ask the agency's permission, which in turn had to get the signed consent from the birth mother").

Central to Another Mother is the issue of transracial placement. Sarah remembers, "That first day the contrast between my pale skin and Cecilia's brown skin seemed glaring. Not only did I feel that I had someone else's child, I felt that I had a child from another culture. Would I owe someone an explanation?" (Gerstenzang is recalling the 1972 opposition of the National Association of Black Social Workers.) Her account is full of anecdotes and reflections about race: acceptance and prejudice from others; the feelings of her two children about having a sibling of a different race; and culture keeping, beginning with skin and hair care.

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Answer the Call

Virtual Migration in Indian Call Centers

Aimee Carrillo Rowe

What happens over time to Indians who spend their working hours answering phone calls from Americans—and acting like Americans themselves? To find out, the authors of Answer the Call conducted long-term interviews with forty-five agents, trainers, managers, and CEOs at call centers in Bangalore and Mumbai from 2003 to 2012. For nine or ten hours every day, workers in call centers are not quite in India or America but rather in a state of “virtual migration.” Encouraged to steep themselves in American culture from afar, over time the agents come to internalize and indeed perform Americanness for Americans—and for each other.

Call center agents “migrate” through time and through the virtual spaces generated by voice and information sharing. Drawing from their rich interviews, the authors show that the virtual migration agents undergo has no geographically distant point of arrival, yet their perception of moving is not merely abstract. Over the duration of the job, agents’ sense of place and time changes: agents migrate but still remain, leaving them somewhere in between—between India and America, experience and imagination, class mobility and consumption, tradition and modernity, here and there, then and now, past and future.

However tangible and elastic their virtual mobility might seem in these relatively lucrative jobs, it is also suspended within the confines of the very boundaries they migrate across. Having engaged with these vivid and often poignant interviews, readers will never again be indifferent to an Indian agent’s greeting at the other end of a toll-free call: “Hello, my name is Roxanne. How may I help you?”

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Anthropologies of Unemployment

New Perspectives on Work and Its Absence

edited by Jong Bum Kwon and Carrie M. Lane

Anthropologies of Unemployment offers accessible, theoretically innovative, and ethnographically rich examinations of unemployment in rural and urban regions across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The diversity of case studies demonstrates that unemployment is a pressing global phenomenon that sheds light on the uneven consequences of free-market ideologies and policies. Economic, social, and cultural marginalization is common in the lives of the unemployed, but their experience and interpretation are shaped by local and national cultural particularities. In exploring those differences, the contributors to this volume employ recent theoretical innovations and engage with some of the more salient topics in contemporary anthropology, such as globalization, migration, youth cultures, bureaucracy, class, gender, and race.

Taken together, the chapters reveal that there is something new about unemployment today. It is not a temporary occurrence, but a chronic condition. In adjusting to persistent, longstanding unemployment, people and groups create new understandings of unemployment as well as of work and employment; they improvise new forms of sociality, morality, and personhood. Ethnographic studies such as those found in Anthropologies of Unemployment are crucial if we are to understand the broader forms, meanings, and significance of pervasive economic insecurity and discover the emergence of new social and cultural possibilities.

Contributors
Josh Fisher, High Point University
David Karjanen, University of Minnesota
Ann E. Kingsolver, University of Kentucky
Jong Bum Kwon, Webster University
Carrie M. Lane, California State University, Fullerton
Caitrin Lynch, Olin College
Daniel Mains, University of Oklahoma
John P. Murphy, Gettysburg College
Mariano D. Perelman, University of Buenos Aires
Frances Abrahamer Rothstein, Montclair State University
Claudia Strauss, Pitzer College

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The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South America

Bending and Breaking the Rules

Paul Valentine

"Foremost scholars of indigenous Amazonia explore the vast and interesting gap between rules and practice, demonstrating how sociocultural systems endure and even prosper due to the flexibility, creativity, and resilience of the people within them."--Jeremy M. Campbell, author of Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon "A landmark volume and a major contribution to the study of kinship and marriage in Amazonian societies, an area of the world that has been pivotal to our understanding of the biocultural dimensions of cousin marriage and polygamy."--Nancy E. Levine, author of The Dynamics of Polyandry: Kinship, Domesticity, and Population on the Tibetan Border

This volume reveals that individuals in Amazonian cultures often disregard or reinterpret the marriage rules of their societies--rules that anthropologists previously thought reflected practice. It is the first book to consider not just what the rules are but how people in these societies negotiate, manipulate, and break them in choosing whom to marry.

Using ethnographic case studies that draw on previously unpublished material from well-known indigenous cultures, The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South America defies the tendency to focus only on the social structure of kinship and marriage that is so common in kinship studies. Instead, the contributors to this volume examine the people that conform to or deviate from that structure and their reasons for doing so. They look not only at deviations in kinship behavior motivated by gender, economics, politics, history, ecology, and sentimentality but also at how globalization and modernization are changing the ancestral norms and values themselves. This is a richly diverse portrayal of agency and individual choice alongside normative kinship and marriage systems in a region that has long been central to anthropological studies of indigenous life.

Paul Valentine is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of East London. Stephen Beckerman is adjunct professor at the University of Utah. Together, Valentine and Beckerman have coedited Revenge in the Cultures of Lowland South America and Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America. Catherine Alès is director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, and is the author of Yanomami, l’ire et le désir.

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