African American Studies
Customs, Traditions, and Everyday Life
Emigration and Immigration
Native American Studies
Poverty and Homelessness
Prostitution and Sex Trade
Race and Ethnicity
Slavery and Slave Trade
Social Science Essays
Social Science, Methodology
Sociology of Religion
Violence in Society
Taking everyday practices and interactions as their focus, contributors draw on various theoretical perspectives to examine how tensions between humanitarianism and security are negotiated at the local level. They thus show how asylum seekers are produced as suspicious subjects by the very systems to which they appeal for protection.
Pursuing Justice in Africa focuses on visions of justice across the African continent, featuring essays that engage with topics at the cutting edge of contemporary scholarship across a wide range of disciplines including activism, land tenure, international legal institutions, and post-conflict reconciliation.
In recent years, anthropologists, historians, and others have been drawn to study the profuse and creative usages of digital media by religious movements. At the same time, scholars of Christian Africa have long been concerned with the history of textual culture, the politics of Bible translation, and the status of the vernacular in Christianity.
Though often associated with foreigners and refugees, many Somalis have lived in Kenya for generations, in many cases since long before the founding of the country. Despite their long residency, foreign and state officials and Kenyan citizens often perceive the Somali population to be a dangerous and alien presence in the country, and charges of civil and human rights abuses have mounted against them in recent years.
In articles for the newspaper O Brado Africano in the mid-1950s, poet and journalist José Craveirinha described the ways in which the Mozambican football players in the suburbs of Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) adapted the European sport to their own expressive ends. Through gesture, footwork, and patois, they used what Craveirinha termed “malice”—or cunning—to negotiate their places in the colonial state.
Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader. Recently, women have begun to study and perform in this traditionally male role, an innovation that has triggered resistance and controversy.
Why do female genital cutting practices persist? How does circumcision affect the rights of girls in a culture where initiation forms the lynchpin of the ritual cycle at the core of defining gender, identity, and social and political status? In Making the Mark, Miroslava Prazak follows the practice of female circumcision through the lives and activities of community members in a rural Kenyan farming society as they decide whether or not to participate in the tradition.
Preaching Prevention examines the controversial U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative to “abstain and be faithful” as a primary prevention strategy in Africa. This ethnography of the born-again Christians who led the new anti-AIDS push in Uganda provides insight into both what it means for foreign governments to “export” approaches to care and treatment and the ways communities respond to and repurpose such projects.
Scholarship on the musical traditions of Indonesia has long focused on practices from Java and Bali, including famed gamelan traditions, at the expense of the wide diversity of other musical forms within the archipelago. Jennifer A. Fraser counters this tendency by exploring a little-known gong tradition from Sumatra called talempong, long associated with people who identify themselves as Minangkabau.
Twins Talk is an ethnographic study of identical twins in the United States, a study unique in that it considers what twins have to say about themselves, instead of what researchers have written about them. It presents, in the first person, the grounded and practical experiences of twins as they engage, both individually and together, the “who am I” and “who are we” questions of life. Here, the twins themselves are the stars.
The helmet-shaped mapiko masks of Mozambique have garnered admiration from African art scholars and collectors alike, due to their striking aesthetics and their grotesque allure. This book restores to mapiko its historic and artistic context, charting in detail the transformations of this masquerading tradition throughout the twentieth century.
Written in an accessible, engaging style and drawing on collaborative ethnographic research that the girls themselves helped conduct, Thinking Outside the Girl Box tells the true story of an innovative program determined to challenge the small, disempowering “boxes” girls and women are so often expected to live in.
Global Health in Africa is a first exploration of selected histories of global health initiatives in Africa. The collection addresses some of the most important interventions in disease control, including mass vaccination, large-scale treatment and/or prophylaxis campaigns, harm reduction efforts, and nutritional and virological research. The chapters in this collection are organized in three sections that evaluate linkages between past, present, and emergent.
Making and Unmaking Public Health in Africa explores how medical professionals and patients, government officials, and ordinary citizens approach questions of public health as they navigate contemporary landscapes of NGOs and transnational projects, faltering state services, and expanding privatization.