Queering Knowledge: Analytics, Devices and Investments after Marilyn Strathern – Paul Boyce (Sussex), EJ Gonzalez-Polledo (Goldsmiths), and Silvia Posocco (Birkbeck), Editors, forthcoming.
This collection of essays draws on the significance of Marilyn Strathern’s work in respect of its potential to queer anthropological analysis and foster the reimagining of the object of anthropology. Strathern’s ethnographic contributions to studies of personhood, kinship, gender relations and reproduction in Melanesia and Britain have achieved wide recognition in anthropology, gender and science studies. Strathern’s analytic devices, rhetorical forms, figurations, and strategies to conflate conceptual and empirical ontologies have had profound effects on anthropologists’ responses to the crisis of representation. Queering Knowledge focuses on how Strathern’s analytic forms might inform, reverberate and refract the object of anthropology through and against the constitution of queer subjects and objects, nature-cultures and forms of desire – rendering these as ‘newly’ unfamiliar. The volume asks: What forms of anthropological thinking do the analytic forms that we propose conjure up? How, and in what contexts, do they become relevant to figuring intimacies, desires and the politics of sexual and gender diversity? How do knowledge practices of composition and decomposition and contextualization and out-contextualisation of queer objects, subjects and relations operate, and to what effect? How do these conceptual/analytic devices queer how anthropology knows?
Difference and Ethnography in Roy Wagner: The Names of Others — Iracema Dulley (Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning), forthcoming.
How is one to account for difference within difference in anthropology? A Derridean reading of Wagner’s work, the book interrogates the status of the emic in anthropology. The emic gesture consists of the designation of alterity, as well as its constitution and emplacement, by means of names. Through such gestures, difference can be circumscribed and described. If Wagner’s work is only one of its possible iterations, why should one draw on it to discuss the emic gesture and its effects on ethnography? The answer to this question is both analytical and contextual. In questioning the foundations of the emic gesture, in which totalization takes the form of alterity, The Names of Others contributes to an interrogation of alterity as a form of circumscribing difference. In so doing, it places Wagner’s work in reference to the reflexive move in anthropology in the 1980s while discussing Wagnerian concepts that have been appropriated by the ‘ontological turn.’ As Wagner defends the emic gesture explicitly at a moment when anthropology is engaged in overcoming Eurocentrism without radically questioning the foundations of alterity, this provocative analysis argues that it is possible to build on it deconstructively in order to displace totalization.
Trans Vitalities: Mapping Ethnographies of Trans Social and Political Coalitions – Elijah Adiv Edelman (Rhode Island College), forthcoming.
This monograph rethinks the notion of ‘trans community’ through an ethnographically anchored exploration of trans coalitional labor and activism in Washington, DC. This text considers how trans social justice work at the local level questions the category ‘trans’ as well as the notion of ‘community.’ Building from some of the few ethnographic texts that directly address trans lives (Blackwood and Wieringa, 1999, Kulick 1998, Sinnot 2004, Wieringa et al., 2007, Valentine 2007), Edelman considers how reworkings of space, as expressed in trans community map making, and ‘needs,’ as expressed in a community-produced needs assessment survey, render visible trans coalitional life in DC. Ultimately, Trans Vitalities links historical productions of race, class, and gender to present day inequality, necropolitical landscapes and spaces of queer and trans vitalities.
Stories, Senses and the Charismatic Relation: A Reflexive Ethnography of Christian Experience – Jamie Barnes (Sussex), forthcoming.
This book offers an intimate and auto-ethnographic exploration of Christian experience. Starting from a reflexive exploration of the author’s own experiences of the divine, broadening to explore the spiritual journeys of other close members of his immediate family and the ‘spiritual community’ of which he was a part between 1998-2012, and finally drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the southern Balkans where the community was based, this book renders a deep, phenomenological account of how devotional worlds become real – how they are experienced, shaped, constituted and performed by those who live them. Drawing on anthropological work on the senses, it examines the role that sensory aspects of experience play in constituting one’s lived world and one’s ideas about the kinds of beings inhabiting it. Drawing on sociological, psychological and anthropological work on myth and narrative, it examines how stories and metaphors are tactically employed in shaping and forming both desired worlds and future pathways. And drawing on sociological and anthropological work on charisma, it examines how such sensed, narrated and lived worlds are tentatively held together – in hope, trust and love – through charismatic relationships of devotion with a divine Other. This unusual and innovative ethnography offers a unique and reflexive view from within the world of Christian experience, intervening in recent material, ecological and ontological debates that question the adequacy of long-established anthropological tools (such as ‘culture’) to express alterity and offering a unique phenomenological standpoint to an anthropology of Christianity grappling with the lived realities of Christian ‘others’.