Recent Faculty Publications

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    Living Faithfully in an Unjust World: Compassionate Care in Russia

    "How and why do people engage with social problems and injustices?” asks UC Santa Cruz anthropology professor Melissa Caldwell in her new book, Living Faithfully in an Unjust World: Compassionate Care in Russia. “What does it mean to care for or to love another person, especially a complete stranger?” To find answers, Caldwell turned to Russia’s faith-based communities where she met people caring for some of Moscow’s most vulnerable populations. In the absence of state-sponsored welfare programs, Caldwell found that members of faith-based communities have become de facto social workers: delivering meals, providing shelter, offering care, and giving counsel to those in need. Essentially, church organizations now provide the public service that the socialist state had previously filled.

    © University of California Press, 2016

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    Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability

    Nancy Chen looks at the intersection of food and medicine to engage concepts of culture and citizenship. Her most recent research explores the transforming food landscape in China, and more specifically, issues related to food safety and biosecurity. In Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability, she explores how China’s recent history with food safety is both a troubling and perplexing situation. Food is the frontline of medicine (this is something Chen explores in her 2009 book Food, Medicine and the Quest for Good Health). Chen writes, “It is hard to escape survivalist accounts in which science and technology rescue China from a Malthusian fate of too many people and not enough food. Over the next three decades, it is estimated that the population will increase to 1.6 billion and food production must increase by at least 60 percent to match this growth [...] Such framings of necessity help to locate biotechnology as a savior rather than a problem.”

    © 2014 School for Advanced Research Press

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    Indigeneity, Collected Essays, Edited by Guillermo Delgado-P and John Brown Childs

    Indigeneity: Collected Essays is an original and provocative reader that provides new understandings of indigeneity for the 21st century.  The essays take as point of departure John Brown Childs' concept of "transcommunality," defined as a dialogue between communities that emphasizes respect for diverse histories yet acknowledges at the same time that there exist shared linkages involved the struggle over the right to territory and control of resources, knowledge production, and self-determination.  The essays create transcommunal dialogues by underscoring the importance of international ties between Indigenous Peoples and communities due to shared histories of resistance and resilience in the face of violent colonialisms, modernity's homogenizing narratives, and the ongoing challenges produced by increasing (neo)globalization.

    © 2012 CRG Publications

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    Potters and Communities of Practice edited by Linda S. Cordell and Judith A. Habicht-Mauche

    The peoples of the American Southwest during the 13th through the 17th centuries witnessed dramatic changes in settlement size, exchange relationships, ideology, social organization, and migrations that included those of the first European settlers. Concomitant with these world-shaking events, communities of potters began producing new kinds of wares—particularly polychrome and glaze-paint decorated pottery—that entailed new technologies and new materials. The contributors to this volume present results of their collaborative research into the production and distribution of these new wares, including cutting-edge chemical and petrographic analyses. They use the insights gained to reflect on the changing nature of communities of potters as they participated in the dynamic social conditions of their world. 

    © 2012 The University of Arizona Press

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    Laughing at Leviathan by Danilyn Rutherford

    For West Papua and its people, the promise of sovereignty has never been realized, despite a long and fraught struggle for independence from Indonesia. In Laughing at Leviathan, Danilyn Rutherford examines this struggle through a series of interlocking essays that drive at the core meaning of sovereignty itself—how it is fueled, formed, and even thwarted by pivotal but often overlooked players: those that make up an audience. Whether these players are citizens, missionaries, competing governmental powers, nongovernmental organizations, or the international community at large, Rutherford shows how a complex interplay of various observers is key to the establishment and understanding of the sovereign nation-state.
    Drawing on a wide array of sources, from YouTube videos to Dutch propaganda to her own fieldwork observations, Rutherford draws the history of Indonesia, empire, and postcolonial nation-building into a powerful examination of performance and power. Ultimately she revises Thomas Hobbes, painting a picture of the Leviathan not as a coherent body but a fragmented one distributed across a wide range of both real and imagined spectators. In doing so, she offers an important new approach to the understanding of political struggle.

    © 2012 Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning
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    Power & Landscape in Atlantic West Africa edited by J. Cameron Monroe & Akinwumi Ogundiran

    This volume examines the archaeology of precolonial West African societies in the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Using historical and archaeological perspectives on landscape, this collection of essays sheds light on how involvement in the commercial revolutions of the early modern period dramatically reshaped the regional contours of political organization across West Africa. The essays examine how social and political transformations occurred at the regional level by exploring regional economic networks, population shifts, cultural values, and ideologies. The book demonstrates the importance of anthropological insights not only to the broad political history of West Africa, but also to an understanding of political culture as a form of meaningful social practice.

    © 2012 Cambridge Univeristy Press 

  • Recuerdos de Ayer — (Yesterday's Memoirs), Introduction Written editing by Guillermo Delgado

    recuerdos de ayer cover"Recuerdos de Ayer"—Yesterday's Memoirs, is based on a manuscript that was completed in 1961. A coming of age story, the text is a mixture of memoir, mining history, and politics in Andean Bolivia from 1916 to 1929. The Bolivian historian Magdalena Cajías (UMSA) said that "Delgado Gonzales (1910-1977) allows mining historians to learn intricate daily life details such as the price of things, meals, wages, distances, and the social stratification of mining camps," and the publisher and Literature Professor Mauricio Souza (UMSA- Plural), states that: "This book portrays a cosmopolitan mining camp and the author let us flavor through his prose the languages, cultures and literatures available at the time." Guillermo Delgado-P., offers an introduction to the text and served as its editor.
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    Instituting Nature: Authority, Expertise, and Power in Mexican Forests by Andrew S. Mathews

    Greater knowledge and transparency are often promoted as the keys to solving a wide array of governance problems. In Instituting Nature, Andrew Mathews describes Mexico's efforts over the past hundred years to manage its forests through forestry science and biodiversity conservation. He shows that transparent knowledge was produced not by official declarations or scientists' expertise but by encounters between the relatively weak forestry bureaucracy and the indigenous people who manage and own the pine forests of Mexico. Mathews charts the performances, collusions, complicities, and evasions that characterize the forestry bureaucracy. He shows that the authority of forestry officials is undermined by the tension between local realities and national policy; officials must juggle sweeping knowledge claims and mundane concealments, ambitious regulations and routine rule breaking. Moving from government offices in Mexico City to forests in the state of Oaxaca, Mathews describes how the science of forestry and bureaucratic practices came to Oaxaca in the 1930s and how local environmental and political contexts set the stage for local resistance. He tells how the indigenous Zapotec people learned the theory and practice of industrial forestry as employees and then put these skills to use when they become the owners and managers of the area's pine forests--eventually incorporating forestry into their successful claims for autonomy from the state. Despite the apparently small scale and local contexts of this balancing act between the power of forestry regulations and the resistance of indigenous communities, Mathews shows that it has large implications--for how we understand the modern state, scientific knowledge, and power and for the global carbon markets for which Mexican forests might become valuable.

    © 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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    Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia's Countryside by Melissa L. Caldwell

    Dacha Idylls is a lively account of dacha life and how Russians experience this deeply rooted tradition of the summer cottage amid the changing cultural, economic, and political landscape of postsocialist Russia. Simultaneously beloved and reviled, dachas wield a power that makes owning and caring for them an essential part of life. In this book, Melissa L. Caldwell captures the dacha's abiding traditions and demonstrates why Russians insist that these dwellings are key to understanding Russian life. She draws on literary texts as well as observations from dacha dwellers to highlight this enduring fact of Russian culture at a time when so much has changed. Caldwell presents the dacha world in all its richness and complexity--a "good life" that draws inspiration from the natural environment in which it is situated.

    © 2011 The Regents of the University of California