In rural China funerals are conducted locally, on village land by village elders. But in urban areas, people have neither land for burials nor elder relatives to conduct funerals. Chinese urbanization, which has increased drastically in recent decades, involves the creation of cemeteries, state-run funeral homes, and small private funerary businesses. The Funeral of Mr. Wang examines social change in urbanizing China through the lens of funerals, the funerary industry, and practices of memorialization. It analyzes changes in family life, patterns of urban sociality, transformations in economic relations, the politics of memorialization, and the echoes of these changes in beliefs about the dead and ghosts.
“This book is highly original and addresses a topic of central importance to understanding Chinese family life and the limits of a party-state’s regulatory power over the society and individual citizens. Original and systematic fieldwork is expertly used to illustrate core arguments. To my knowledge there is no competing ethnography.” — Deborah Davis, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Yale University
“The Funeral of Mr. Wang is a vivid portrait of how the transition from life to death is negotiated in the midst of a rapidly transforming urban Chinese society. Showing how death in contemporary China generates interconnected processes of cultural recombination among family members, funeral service providers, bureaucratic regulators, strangers, and ghosts, this book will be critical reading for all students of China and of death in contemporary societies.” — David A. Palmer, coauthor of The Religious Question in Modern China
ANDREW B. KIPNIS is Professor of Anthropology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, coeditor of Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, and author of From Village to City: Social Transformation in a Chinese County Seat.
How might queer theory transform our interpretations of medieval Japanese literature and how might this literature reorient the assumptions, priorities, and critical practices of queer theory? Through a close reading of The Tale of Genji, an eleventh-century text that depicts the lifestyles of aristocrats during the Heian period, A Proximate Remove explores this question by mapping the destabilizing aesthetic, affective, and phenomenological dimensions of experiencing intimacy and loss. The spatiotemporal fissures Reginald Jackson calls “proximate removes” suspend belief in prevailing structures. Beyond issues of sexuality, Genji queers in its reluctance to romanticize or reproduce a flawed social order. An understanding of this hesitation enhances how we engage with premodern texts and how we question contemporary disciplinary stances.
“A brave and groundbreaking work. Jackson’s queer reading of The Tale of Genji— where ‘queer’ does not index a particular sexual identity or mode of erotic exchange but, rather, provides a provocative critical lens—throws into sharp relief practices of Heian sexual politics. Intimately researched and engagingly written.” CHARLOTTE EUBANKS, author of Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan
“A Proximate Remove offers a bold and provocative reading of the eleventh-century classic The Tale of Genji. It begins the much-needed task of exposing the ideological limitations that define the parameters of existing premodern Japanese studies.” ATSUKO UEDA, author of Language, Nation, Race: Linguistic Reform in Meiji Japan (1868–1912)
REGINALD JACKSON is Associate Professor of Premodern Japanese Literature and Performance at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Textures of Mourning: Calligraphy, Mortality, and the Tale of Genji Scrolls.
To produce the song sequences that are central to Indian popular cinema, singers’ voices are first recorded in the studio and then played back on the set to be lip-synced and danced to by actors and actresses as the visuals are filmed. Since the 1950s, playback singers have become revered celebrities in their own right. Brought to Life by the Voice explores the distinctive aesthetics and affective power generated by this division of labor between onscreen body and offscreen voice in South Indian Tamil cinema. In Amanda Weidman’s historical and ethnographic account, playback is not just a cinematic technique, but a powerful and ubiquitous element of aural public culture that has shaped the complex dynamics of postcolonial gendered subjectivity, politicized ethnolinguistic identity, and neoliberal transformation in South India.
“This book is a major contribution to South Asian Studies, sound and music studies, anthropology, and film and media studies, offering original research and new theoretical insights to each of these disciplines. There is no other scholarly work that approaches voice and technology in a way that is both as theoretically wide-ranging and as locally specific.” NEEPA MAJUMDAR, author of Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s–1950s
“Brought to Life by the Voice provides a detailed and highly convincing exploration of the varying links between the singing voice and the body in the Tamil film industry since the mid-twentieth century. The historical and ethnographic analysis the book presents is meticulous and excellent.” PATRICK EISENLOHR, author of Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World
AMANDA WEIDMAN is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College and the author of Singing the Classical, Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India.
Established in Ramallah in 1979, al-Haq was the first Palestinian human rights organization and one of the first such organizations in the Arab world. This inside history explores how al-Haq initiated methodologies in law and practice that were ahead of its time and that proved foundational for many strands of today’s human rights work in Palestine and elsewhere. Lynn Welchman looks at both al-Haq’s history and legacy to explore such questions as: Why would one set up a human rights organization under military occupation? How would one go about promoting the rule of law in a Palestinian society deleteriously served by the law and with every reason to distrust those charged with implementing its protections? How would one work to educate overseas allies and activate international law in defense of Palestinian rights? This revelatory story speaks to the practice of local human rights organizations and their impact on international groups.
“This book is a godsend. A perfect example of precisely the kind of research that is most needed now, at a moment when human rights have never been more delegitimized on the international stage and abuses more rampant across the Middle East and North Africa.” — MARK LEVINE, author of Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam
“Clear, concise, accessible, and detailed, this unique book sheds extensive light on how and why al-Haq developed as it did. And in doing so it offers original material on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the development of the human rights movement in Palestine and globally, and the creation and management of civil society organizations.” — MOUIN RABBANI, coeditor of Jadaliyya and former Senior Analyst and Special Advisor on Palestine, International Crisis Group
LYNN WELCHMAN is Professor of Law in the Middle East and North Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has worked in different capacities with al-Haq since the early 1980s.
Language, Nation, Race explores the various language reforms at the onset of Japanese modernity, a time when a “national language” (kokugo) was produced to standardize Japanese. Faced with the threat of Western colonialism, Meiji intellectuals proposed various reforms to standardize the Japanese language in order to quickly educate the illiterate masses. This book liberates these language reforms from the predetermined category of the “nation,” for such a notion had yet to exist as a clear telos to which the reforms aspired. Atsuko Ueda draws on, while critically intervening in, the vast scholarship of language reform that engaged with numerous works of postcolonial and cultural studies. She examines the first two decades of the Meiji period, with specific focus on the issue of race, contending that no analysis of imperialism or nationalism is possible without it.
“Language, Nation, Race is an exceptional book. It not only provides a cogent interpretation of Meiji-era linguistic and literary reform movements but also productively challenges the current scholarly consensus regarding the meaning of these movements. Atsuko Ueda makes an entirely original and convincing argument about the relevance of ‘whiteness’ to the understanding of linguistic, aesthetic, and cultural values within these movements.”—JAMES REICHERT, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University
“A remarkable accomplishment, bound to have a lasting impact in the field of Japan studies and beyond. Ueda’s compelling reading of Meiji period literary and linguistic debates opens new avenues for a philosophical questioning of phoneticism and its significance to the formation of the geopolitical categories of ‘West’ and ‘non- West.’”—PEDRO ERBER, author of Breaching the Frame: The Rise of Contemporary Art in Brazil and Japan
ATSUKO UEDA is Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Literature at Princeton University. She is author of Concealment of Politics, Politics of Concealment: The Production of “Literature” in Meiji Japan and coeditor of The Politics and Literature Debate in Postwar Japanese Criticism, 1945–1952.
Situated at the disciplinary boundary between prehistory and history, this book presents a new synthesis of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Greece, from the rise and fall of Mycenaean civilization to the emergence of city-states in the Archaic period. These centuries saw the growth and decline of varied political systems and the development of networks across local, regional, and Mediterranean scales. As a groundbreaking study of landscape, interaction, and sociopolitical change, Societies in Transition in Early Greece systematically bridges the divide between the Mycenaean period and the Archaic Greek world to shed new light on an often-overlooked period of world history.
“This book reconfigures our understanding of early Greece on a regional level, beyond Mycenaean ‘palaces’ and across temporal boundaries. Alex Knodell’s sophisticated arguments enable a fresh reading of the emergence of early Greek polities, revealing the microregions that put to the test overarching ‘Mediterranean’ models. His detailed study makes a convincing return to a comparative framework, integrating a ‘small world’ network and its trajectory with the larger picture of ancient complex societies.” SARAH MORRIS, Steinmetz Professor of Classical Archaeology and Material Culture, University of California, Los Angeles
“A comprehensive, thoughtful treatment of the time period before the crystallization of the ancient Greek city states.” WILLIAM A. PARKINSON, Curator and Professor, The Field Museum and University of Illinois at Chicago
“An important and must-read account. The strength of this book lies in its close analysis of the important different regional characteristics and evolutionary trajectories of Greece as it transforms into the Archaic and, later, the Classical world.” DAVID B. SMALL, author Ancient Greece: Social Structure and Evolution
ALEX R. KNODELL is Associate Professor of Classics and Director of the Archaeology Program at Carleton College. In Greece, he codirects the Small Cycladic Islands Project and the Mazi Archaeological Project.
How do victim and perpetrator peoples generate conflicting knowledge about genocide? Using a sociology of knowledge approach, Joachim J. Savelsberg answers this question in the context of the Armenian genocide committed during the First World War. Focusing on Armenians and Turks, Savelsberg examines strategies of silencing, denial, and acknowledgment in everyday interactions, public rituals, law, and politics. He draws on interviews, ethnographic accounts, documents, and eyewitness testimony to illuminate the social processes that drive dueling versions of history. Ultimately, this study reveals the counterproductive consequences of denial in an age of human rights hegemony, demonstrating the implications for populist disinformation campaigns against overwhelming evidence.
“This pioneering book is critical for understanding the background to Turkish denial as the final stage of genocide. Savelsberg’s epistemic study is a warning against a revived shade of an Orwellian order, with its ‘alternative realities’ and ‘post-truths.’” CLAIRE MOURADIAN, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris
“Knowledge denial is a deadly phenomenon and an urgent problem. Through painstaking research, unrivaled expertise, and ethical commitment, Joachim J. Savelsberg illuminates how mass harm has been negated or acknowledged.” LOIS PRESSER, author of Inside Story: How Narratives Drive Mass Harm
“Savelsberg has done a brilliant job in this unique work that for the first time analyzes the Armenian genocide from the vantage point of knowledge construction. A must-read for all interested in collective violence, social movements, and sociology of knowledge.” FATMA MÜGE GÖÇEK, author of Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and Collective Violence against the Armenians, 1789–2009
JOACHIM J. SAVELSBERG is Professor of Sociology and Law and Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair, University of Minnesota. He is the author of Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur.
From fashion sketches of Shanghai dandies in the 1920s, to phantasmagoric imagery of war in the 1930s and 1940s, to panoramic pictures of anti-American propaganda rallies in the 1950s, the cartoon-style art known as manhua helped define China’s modern experience. Manhua Modernity offers a richly illustrated and deeply contextualized analysis of these illustrations from the lively pages of popular pictorial magazines that entertained, informed, and mobilized a nation through a half century of political and cultural transformation.
“An innovative reconceptualization of manhua. John Crespi’s meticulous study shows the many benefits of interpreting Chinese comics and other illustrations not simply as image genres but rather as part of a larger print culture institution. A must-read for anyone interested in modern Chinese visual culture.” CHRISTOPHER REA, author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China
“A rich media-centered reading of Chinese comics from the mid-1920s through the 1950s, Manhua Modernity shifts the emphasis away from ideological interpretation and demonstrates that the pictorial turn requires examinations of manhua in its heterogenous, expansive, spontaneous, and interactive ways of engaging its audience’s varied experiences of fast-changing everyday life.” YINGJIN ZHANG, author of Cinema, Space, and Polylocality in a Globalizing China
JOHN A. CRESPI is Associate Professor of Chinese and Asian Studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Colgate University. He is the author of Voices in Revolution: Poetry and the AuditoryImagination in Modern China
The Scarcity Slot is the first book to critically examine food security in Africa’s deep past. Amanda L. Logan argues that African foodways have been viewed through the lens of “the scarcity slot,” a kind of othering based on presumed differences in resources. Weaving together archaeological, historical, and environmental data with food ethnography, she advances a new approach to building long-term histories of food security on the continent in order to combat these stereotypes. Focusing on a case study in Banda, Ghana that spans the past six centuries, The Scarcity Slot reveals that people thrived during a severe, centuries-long drought just as Europeans arrived on the coast, with a major decline in food security emerging only recently. This narrative radically challenges how we think about African foodways in the past, with major implications for the future.
“This book offers a pathbreaking archaeological ethnography of food in a region of West Africa that has experienced some of the most cataclysmic sociopolitical upheavals the world has ever seen. Amanda Logan dismantles the dominant narrative that Columbian Exchange crop introductions rescued a continent long shaped by hunger. This brilliant study elevates archaeology’s contributions to African food history and food insecurity studies.” JUDITH CARNEY, author of In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World
“The Scarcity Slot is an accessible, empirically grounded history demonstrating for students of Africa’s futures the urgent need to understand her pasts.” KATHRYN M. DE LUNA, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor, Georgetown University
“A radical shift from the old ways of doing the archaeology of diet, this book breaks ground for a new food archaeology. A truly innovative and exciting work and a convincing antidote to the popular image of Africa as a continent of famine.” RICHARD WILK, Distinguished Professor and Provost’s Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Indiana University
AMANDA L. LOGAN is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University.
While migration has become a vital issue worldwide, mainstream literature on migrants’ legal adaptation and integration has focused on cases in Western-style democracies. We know relatively little about how migrants adapt in the ever-growing hybrid political regimes that are neither clearly democratic nor conventionally authoritarian. This book takes up the case of Russia—the third largest recipient of migrants worldwide—and investigates how Central Asian migrant workers produce new forms of informal governance and legal order. Migrants use the opportunities provided by a weak rule of law and a corrupt political system to navigate the repressive legal landscape and to negotiate, using informal channels, access to employment and other opportunities that are hard to obtain through the official legal framework of their host country. This lively ethnography presents new theoretical perspectives for studying legal incorporation of immigrants in similar political contexts.
“Not only provides a brilliant analysis of the under-researched Russian case but also significantly adds to the existing knowledge of undocumentedness, informality, and migrant agency.” JOAQUÍN ARANGO, COMPLUTENSE UNIVERSITY OF MADRID
“Rustamjon Urinboyev’s empathetic interviewing style allows him to illuminate complex social relationships, parallel legal orders, and behavioral norms. A remarkable book, rich in stories of extraordinary people, embedded in theoretical analysis.” JUDITH PALLOT, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, RESEARCH DIRECTOR OF GULAGECHOES
“Ethnographically rich and theoretically ambitious, this book reveals the extralegal negotiations through which migrant workers, employers, middlemen, and streetlevel bureaucrats negotiate the Russian migration system. An original and important contribution.” MADELEINE REEVES, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
RUSTAMJON URINBOYEV is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology of Law at Lund University and Senior Researcher in Russian and Eurasian Studies at University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute.
The Endurance of Palestinian Political Factions is an ethnographic study of Palestinian political factions in Lebanon through an immersion in daily home life. Perla Issa asks how political factions remain the center of political life in the Palestinian camps in the face of mounting criticism. Through an examination of the daily, mundane practices of refugees in Nahr el-Bared camp in particular, this book shows how intimate, interpersonal, and kin-based relations are transformed into political networks and offers a fresh analysis of how those networks are in turn metamorphosed into political structures. By providing a detailed and intimate account of this process, this book reveals how factions are produced and reproduced in everyday life despite widespread condemnation.
Jainism, perhaps more so than any other South Asian tradition, focuses strongly on the ethics of birth, life, and death, with regard to both humans and other living beings. Insistent Life is the first full-length interdisciplinary examination of the foundational principles of bioethics within Jain doctrine and the application of those principles in the contemporary sphere. Brianne Donaldson and Ana Bajželj analyze a diverse range of Jain texts and contemporary sources to identify Jain perspectives on bioethical issues while highlighting the complexity of their personal, professional, and public dimensions. The book also features extensive original data based on an international survey the authors conducted with Jain medical professionals in India and diaspora communities of North America, Europe, and Africa.
What is the purpose of a church? Who owns a church? Mary K. Farag persuasively demonstrates that three groups in late antiquity were concerned with these questions: Christian leaders, wealthy laypersons, and lawmakers. Conflicting answers usually coexisted, but from time to time they clashed and caused significant tension. In these disputes, juridical regulations and opinions mattered more than has been traditionally recognized. Considering familiar Christian controversies in novel ways, Farag’s investigation shows that scholarship has misunderstood well-known religious figures by ignoring the legal issues they faced. This seminal text nuances vital aspects of scholarly conversations on sacred space, gift giving, wealth, and poverty in the late antique Mediterranean world, making use not only of Latin and Greek sources but also Coptic and Arabic evidence.
Up to the twentieth century, Islamic charitable endowments provided the material foundation of the Muslim world. In Lebanon, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the imposition of French colonial rule, many of these endowments reverted to private property circulating in the marketplace. In contemporary Beirut, however, charitable endowments have resurged as mosques, Islamic centers, and nonprofit organizations. A historical anthropology in dialogue with Islamic law, God’s Property demonstrates how these endowments have been drawn into secular logics—no longer the property of God but of the Muslim community—and shaped by the modern state and modern understandings of charity and property. Although these transformations have produced new kinds of loyalties and ways of being in society, Nada Moumtaz’s ethnography reveals the furtive persistence of endowment practices that perpetuate older ways of thinking of one’s self and one’s responsibilities to family and state.
This sweeping book details the extent to which the legal revolution emanating from the US has transformed legal hierarchies of power across the globe, while also analyzing the conjoined global histories of law and social change from the Middle Ages to today. It examines the global proliferation of large corporate law firms—a US invention—along with US legal education approaches geared toward those corporate law firms. This neoliberal-inspired revolution attacks complacent legal oligarchies in the name of America-inspired modernism. Drawing on the combined histories of the legal profession, imperial transformations, and the enduring and conservative role of cosmopolitan elites at the top of legal hierarchies, the book details case studies in India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and China to explain how interconnected legal histories are stories of both revolution and reproduction. Theoretically and methodologically ambitious, it offers a wholly new approach to studying interrelated fields across time and geographies.
Almost 68.5 million refugees in the world today live in a protection gap, the chasm between protections stipulated in the Geneva Convention and the abrogation of those responsibilities by states and aid agencies. With dwindling humanitarian aid, how do refugee communities solve collective dilemmas, like raising funds for funeral services, or securing other critical goods and services?
In Networked Refugees, Nadya Hajj finds that Palestinian refugees utilize Information Communication Technology platforms to motivate reciprocity—a cooperative action marked by the mutual exchange of favors and services—and informally seek aid and connection with their transnational diaspora community. Using surveys conducted with Palestinians throughout the diaspora, interviews with those inside the Nahr al Bared Refugee camp in Lebanon, and data pulled from online community spaces, these findings push back against the cynical idea that online organizing is fruitless, emphasizing instead the productivity of these digital networks.
Widely studied and hotly debated, the Silk Road is often viewed as a precursor to contemporary globalization, the merchants traversing it as early agents of cultural exchange. Missing are the lives of the ordinary people who inhabited the route and contributed as much to its development as their itinerant counterparts. In this book, Kate Franklin takes medieval Armenia as a compelling case study for examining how global culture and everyday life intertwined along the Silk Road. Guiding the reader through increasingly intimate scales of evidence, she vividly reconstructs how people living in and passing through the medieval Caucasus understood the world and their place within it. With its innovative focus on the far-reaching implications of local practices, Everyday Cosmopolitanisms brings the study of medieval Eurasia into relation with contemporary investigations of cosmopolitanism and globalization, challenging schisms between modern and medieval, global and quotidian.