The Erotics of History challenges long-standing notions of sexuality as stable and context-free—as something that individuals discover about themselves. Rather, Donald L. Donham argues that historical circumstance, local social pressure, and the cultural construction of much beyond sex condition the erotic. Donham makes this argument in relation to the centuries-old conversation on the fetish, applied to a highly unusual neighborhood in Atlantic Africa. There, local men, soon to be married to local women, are involved in long-term sexual relationships with European men. On the African side, these couplings are motivated by the pleasures of cosmopolitan connection and foreign commodities. On the other side, Europeans tend to fetishize Africans’ race, while a few search to become slaves in master/ slave relationships. At its most wide ranging, The Erotics of History attempts to show that it is history, both personal and collective, in reversals and reenactments, that finally produces sexual excitement.
“Don Donham’s new book is a stunning achievement—written in a condensed/synoptic/ telescoped form about a daring topic, it achieves its aim and then some. For me, it was a page turner, hard to put down.” CHARLES PIOT, Duke University, author of Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War
“An amazing book that combines detailed and convincing ethnography with wide ranging knowledge and ambitious theoretical analysis. The sophisticated rethinking of representation, exchange, power, and culture is smart and riveting.” CAROLE S. VANCE, Yale University, author of Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality
DONALD L. DONHAM is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. His previous books include Marxist Modern: An Ethnographic History of the Ethiopian Revolution and Violence in a Time of Liberation: Murder and Ethnicity at a South African Gold Mine, 1994.
Virtuous Waters is a pathbreaking and innovative study of bathing, drinking and other everyday engagements with a wide range of waters across five centuries in Mexico. Casey Walsh uses political ecology to bring together an analysis of shifting scientific, religious and political understandings of waters and a material history of social formations, environments, and infrastructures. The book shows that while modern concepts and infrastructures have come to dominate both the hydrosphere and the scholarly literature on water, longstanding popular understandings and engagements with these heterogeneous liquids have been reproduced as part of the same process. Attention to these dynamics can help us comprehend and confront the water crisis that is coming to a head in the twenty-first century.
“Reminds us that, within wider homogenizing discourses, there are multiple unique waters, whose particular ‘virtues’ are central in defining how people have imagined, understood, and interacted with them over time.” VERONICA STRANG, author of Gardening the World: Agency, Identity, and the Ownership of Water
“Plunges readers into seldom explored depths of the cultural world of water in central Mexico, providing a refreshing approach that goes beyond infrastructure to immerse readers in in routine practices of bathing, washing, and drinking water and their links to colonialism, public health, sexuality, tourism, and neoliberalism.” JOHN SOLURI, author of Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States
CASEY WALSH is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara. He is the author of Building the Borderlands: A Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border.
In a time when conservative politicians challenge the irrefutability of scientific findings such as climate change, it is more important than ever to understand the conflict at the heart of the “religion vs. science” debates unfolding in the public sphere. In this groundbreaking work, John H. Evans reveals that, with a few limited exceptions, even the most conservative religious Americans accept science’s ability to make factual claims about the world. However, many religious people take issue with the morality implicitly promoted by some forms of science. Using clear and engaging scholarship, Evans upends the prevailing notion that there is a fundamental conflict over the way that scientists and religious people make claims about nature and argues that only by properly understanding moral conflict between contemporary religion and science will we be able to contribute to a more productive interaction between these two great institutions.
“John H. Evans successfully relocates religious concerns about science from the realm of knowledge to that of moral value. He is by far the most sophisticated of the sociologists.” RONALD L. NUMBERS, Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin–Madison
“This is just the kind of volume that academics, journalists, and policymakers who are concerned about the future of science need. The kind of synthetic fi eld-building work that Evans does is necessary in this burgeoning area.” ELAINE HOWARD ECKLUND, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Rice University
JOHN H. EVANS is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego.
The Stranger at the Feast is a pathbreaking ethnographic study of one of the world’s oldest and least-understood religious traditions. Based on long-term ethnographic research on the Zege peninsula in northern Ethiopia, Tom Boylston tells the story of how people have understood large-scale religious change by following local transformations in hospitality, ritual prohibition, and feeding practices. Ethiopia has undergone radical upheaval in the transition from the imperial era of Haile Selassie to the modern secular state, but the secularization of the state has been met with the widespread revival of popular religious practice. For Orthodox Christians in Zege, everything that matters about religion comes back to how one eats and fasts with others. Boylston shows how practices of feeding and avoidance have remained central even as their meaning and purpose have dramatically changed from a means of marking class distinctions within Orthodox society to a marker of the difference between Orthodox Christians and other religions within the contemporary Ethiopian state.
“Tom Boylston demonstrates the power of ethnography at its best: engaging, challenging, with a superb sense of history and place. He uses close observations of the rhythms of life and of ritual among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to make illuminating points about mediation, boundaries, systems of knowledge, and trajectories of change.” SIMON COLEMAN, Chancellor Jackman Professor, University of Toronto
“Offers unique insights into themes of fasting and feasting, of ritual prohibition, mediation, and hierarchy in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. For the first time, the Ethiopian case is placed within the wider anthropology of Christianity. A major achievement.” DONALD L. DONHAM, author of Marxist Modern: An Ethnographic History of the Ethiopian Revolution
TOM BOYLSTON is a lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
This exciting volume presents the work and research of the Rivers of the Anthropocene Network, an international collaborative group of scientists, social scientists, humanists, artists, policymakers, and community organizers working to produce innovative transdisciplinary research on global freshwater systems. In an attempt to bridge disciplinary divides, the essays in this volume address the challenge in studying the intersection of biophysical and human sociocultural systems in the age of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch of humans’ own making. Featuring contributions from authors in a rich diversity of disciplines—from toxicology to archaeology to philosophy— this book is an excellent resource for students and scholars studying both freshwater systems and the Anthropocene.
“Shows how human relationships with river systems changed along with transformations in society and culture. This book compels us to understand the historical perspectives on our relationship with nature that are so important in shaping our attitudes about both the environment and our own societies.” ANIK BHADURI, Executive Director of Future Earth’s Sustainable Water Future Programme and Associate Professor, Griffith University, Australia
JASON M. KELLY is Director of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and Associate Professor of History at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.
PHILIP SCARPINO is Director of the Public History Program and Professor of History at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.
HELEN BERRY is Reader in British History and Dean of Postgraduate Studies at Newcastle University.
JAMES SYVITSKI is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System and Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.
MICHEL MEYBECK is Emeritus Senior Scientist at the French National Center for Scientific Research and at the METIS laboratory at the University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris 6).
Building Green explores the experience of environmental architects in Mumbai, one of the world’s most populous and population-dense urban areas and a city iconic for its massive informal settlements, extreme wealth asymmetries, and ecological stresses. Under these conditions, what does it mean to learn, and try to practice, so-called green design? By tracing the training and professional experiences of environmental architects in India’s first graduate degree program in Environmental Architecture, Rademacher shows how environmental architects forged sustainability concepts and practices and sought to make them meaningful through engaged architectural practice. The book’s focus on practitioners offers insights into the many roles that converge to produce this emergent, critically important form of urban expertise. At once activists, scientists, and designers, the environmental architects profiled in Building Green act as key agents of urban change whose efforts in practice are shaped by a complex urban development economy, layered political power relations, and a calculus of when, and how, their expert skills might be operationalized in service of a global urban future.
“Highly germane to our times, Building Green examines the role of urban ecology in envisioning new kinds of sustainable cities.” CHRISTINA SCHWENKEL, University of California, Riverside
“A lucid and rich ethnography of environmental architects in Mumbai.” NIKHIL ANAND, author of Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai
ANNE RADEMACHER is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Anthropology at New York University. Her books include Reigning the River: Urban Ecologies and Political Transformation in Kathmandu, Ecologies of Urbanism in India: Metropolitan Civility and Sustainability, and the edited volume Places of Nature in Ecologies of Urbanism.
Outcasts of Empire unveils the causes and consequences of capitalism’s failure to “batter down all Chinese walls” in modern Taiwan. Adopting micro- and macrohistorical perspectives, Paul D. Barclay argues that the interpreters, chiefs, and trading-post operators who mediated state-society relations on Taiwan’s “savage border” during successive Qing and Japanese regimes rose to prominence and faded to obscurity in concert with a series of “long nineteenth century” global transformations.
Superior firepower and large economic reserves ultimately enabled Japanese statesmen to discard mediators on the border and sideline a cohort of indigenous headmen who played both sides of the fence to maintain their chiefly status. Even with reluctant “allies” marginalized, however, the colonial state lacked sufficient resources to integrate Taiwan’s indigenes into its disciplinary apparatus. The colonial state therefore created the Indigenous Territory, which exists to this day as a legacy of Japanese imperialism, local initiatives, and the global commodification of culture.
“Sophisticated and engaging. This highly original narrative of a formative period will be of great interest to all those concerned with comparative colonial history.” NICHOLAS THOMAS, Professor of Historical Anthropology, University of Cambridge
“A multisided and multiscale analysis—incorporating global, regional, and local scales— embedded in a coherent and compelling narrative.” PRASENJIT DUARA, Oscar Tang Professor of East Asian Studies, Duke University
“Analytically precise and theoretically ambitious. A must-read for anyone interested in the fate of indigenous peoples under modern colonialism.” LOUISE YOUNG, author of Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism
PAUL D. BARCLAY is Professor of History at Lafayette College. He is also general editor of the East Asia Image Collection, an open-access online digital repository of historical materials.
Few things make Japanese adults feel quite as anxious today as the phenomenon called the “child crisis.” Various media teem with intense debates about bullying in schools, child poverty, child suicides, violent crimes committed by children, the rise of socially withdrawn youngsters, and forceful moves by the government to introduce a more conservative educational curriculum. These issues have propelled Japan into the center of a set of global conversations about the nature of children and how to raise them. Engaging both the history of children and childhood and the history of emotions, contributors to this volume track Japanese childhood through a number of historical scenarios. Such explorations—some from Japan’s early modern past—are revealed through letters, diaries, memoirs, family and household records, and religious polemics about promising, rambunctious, sickly, happy, and dutiful youngsters.
“I do not know of any collection like this in English, dealing so comprehensively and from so many angles with the topic of the history of children and childhood in Japan.” PETER CAVE, author of Schooling Selves and Primary School in Japan
“In Child’s Play, ‘childhood’ assumes many roles and guises, and many points of departure. The authors demonstrate the significance of Japanese cultural institutions and practices for a more comprehensive, and sobering, understanding of the artifice and operations alike of ‘childhood.’” JENNIFER ROBERTSON, author of Robo sapiens japanicus: Robots, Gender, Family, and the Japanese Nation
SABINE FRÜHSTÜCK is Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her publications include Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan and Uneasy Warriors: Gender, Memory, and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army. ANNE WALTHALL is Professor Emerita of Japanese History at the University of California, Irvine. Her publications include The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration, and Japan: A Cultural, Social, and Political History.
Language of the Snakes traces the history of the Prakrit language as a literary phenomenon, starting from its cultivation in courts of the Deccan in the first centuries of the common era. Although little studied today, Prakrit was an important vector of the kāvya movement and once joined Sanskrit at the apex of classical Indian literary culture. The opposition between Prakrit and Sanskrit was at the center of an enduring “language order” in India, a set of ways of thinking about, naming, classifying, representing, and ultimately using languages. As a language of classical literature that nevertheless retained its associations with more demotic language practices, Prakrit both embodies major cultural tensions—between high and low, transregional and regional, cosmopolitan and vernacular—and provides a unique perspective onto the history of literature and culture in South Asia.
“Andrew Ollett’s book is one of those scholarly breakthroughs that happen, with luck, once or twice in a generation. It reveals the richness of Prakrit language and literary modes with a precision and depth of insight never seen before.” DAVID SHULMAN, Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University
“Ollett offers a brilliant, original, and thoroughly engaging investigation of the complex language order of premodern India. Bringing to the fore the less-studied role of the literary Prakrits, his work makes a major contribution to our understanding of the history of language and literature in early India and beyond.” R. P. GOLDMAN, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor in Sanskrit and India Studies, University of California, Berkeley
ANDREW OLLETT works on the literary and intellectual traditions of premodern India.
China’s relation to Taiwan has been in constant contention since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 and the creation of the defeated Kuomintang (KMT) exile regime on the island two months later. The island’s autonomous sovereignty has continually been challenged, initially because of the KMT’s insistence that it continue to represent not just Taiwan but all of China—and later because Taiwan refused to cede sovereignty to the then-dominant power that had arisen on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. One thing that makes Taiwan so politically difficult and yet so intellectually fascinating is that it is not merely a security problem, but a ganglion of interrelated puzzles. The optimistic hope of the Ma Ying-jeou administration for a new era of peace and cooperation foundered on a landslide victory by the Democratic Progressive Party, which has made clear its intent to distance Taiwan from China’s political embrace. The Taiwanese are now waiting with bated breath as the relationship tautens. Why did détente fail, and what chance does Taiwan have without it? Contributors to this volume focus on three aspects of the evolving quandary: nationalistic identity, social economy, and political strategy.
“Provides essential background for an understanding of both why the issues between Taiwan and China remain difficult to resolve and why that lack of resolution poses a potential threat to peace in the western Pacific area.” STEVEN GOLDSTEIN, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
LOWELL DITTMER is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is editor in chief of the journal Asian Survey and the author of Sino-Soviet Normalization and Its International Implications, China’s Quest for National Identity, China Under Modernization, and South Asia’s Nuclear Crisis.
The Hegemony of Heritage makes an original and significant contribution to our understanding of how the relationship of architectural objects and societies to the built environment changes over time. Studying two surviving medieval monuments in southern Rajasthan—the Ambikā Temple in Jagat and the Śri Ékliṅgjī Temple Complex in Kailāshpurī—the author looks beyond their divergent sectarian affiliations and patronage structures to underscore many aspects of common practice. This book offers new and extremely valuable insights into these important monuments, illuminating the entangled politics of antiquity and revealing whether a monument’s ritual record is affirmed as continuous and hence hoary or dismissed as discontinuous or reinvented through various strategies. The Hegemony of Heritage enriches theoretical constructs with ethnographic description and asks us to reexamine notions such as archive and text through the filter of sculpture and mantra.
Unjust Conditions follows the lives and labors of poor mothers in rural Peru, richly documenting the ordeals they face to participate in mainstream poverty alleviation programs. Championed by behavioral economists and the World Bank, conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs are praised as efficient mechanisms for changing poor people's behavior. While rooted in good intentions and dripping with the rhetoric of social inclusion, CCT programs' successes ring hollow, based solely on metrics for children’s attendance at school and health appointments. Looking beyond these statistics reveals a host of hidden costs for the mothers who meet the conditions. With a poignant voice and keen focus on ethnographic research, Tara Patricia Cookson turns the reader’s gaze to women’s care work in landscapes of grossly inadequate state investment, cleverly drawing out the tensions between social inclusion and conditionality.