300 episodes

Interviews with Anthropologists about their New Books

New Books in Anthropology New Books Network

    • Social Sciences

Interviews with Anthropologists about their New Books

    Angela Jones, "Camming: Money, Power, and Pleasure in the Sex Work Industry" (NYU Press, 2020)

    Angela Jones, "Camming: Money, Power, and Pleasure in the Sex Work Industry" (NYU Press, 2020)

    In her new book, Camming: Money, Power, and Pleasure in the Sex Work Industry (NYU Press, 2020), Dr. Angela Jones engages readers in a five-year mixed-methods study she conducted on the erotic webcam industry where she tells a pornographic story about the multibillion-dollar online sex industry that is colloquially known as “camming.”
    Through camming, millions of people from all over the globe have found decent wages, friendship, intimacy, community, empowerment, and pleasure. This interview is full of stories from a diverse sample of cam models from all over the world whom Jones interviewed and observed as part of her five-year mixed-methods study. Cam models, like all sex workers, must grapple with exploitation, discrimination, harassment, and stigmatization. Using an intersectional lens, Jones was attentive to how the overlapping systems of neoliberal capitalism, White supremacy, patriarchy, cissexism, heterosexism, and ableism shape all cam models’ experiences in camming as a new global sex industry.
    This thorough examination of the camming industry provides a unique vantage point from which to understand and theorize around gender, sexuality, race, and labor in a time when workers globally face increasing economic precariousness and worsened forms of alienation, and desperately desire to recapture pleasure in work. Despite the serious issues cam models face, Jones’s focus on pleasure will help people better understand the motivations for engaging in online sex work, as well as the complex social interactions between cam models and customers. In Camming, Jones pioneers an entirely new subfield in sociology—the sociology of pleasure. The sociology of pleasure can provide new insights into the motivation for social behavior and assist sociologists in analyzing social interactions in everyday life.
    Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He earned his doctoral degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Walden University. He researches place and the process of place making as it presents in everyday social interactions. You can find more about him on his website, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst or email him at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu.
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    • 52 min
    Matthew Gutmann, "Are Men Animals? How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short" (Basic Books, 2019)

    Matthew Gutmann, "Are Men Animals? How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short" (Basic Books, 2019)

    In Are Men Animals? How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short (Basic Books, 2019), Matthew Gutmann examines how cultural expectations viewing men as violent and sex driven becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dubious interpretations of the scientific study of the effects of testosterone, comparisons to the animal kingdom and the persistence of sex segregation reinforces ideas about what is natural. The idea that masculinity is the result of biology allows the “boys will be boys” excuse and reinforces patriarchal values harmful to women and setting false limits for male behavior. Presenting a cross-cultural survey Gutmann demonstrates how the variations across culture from Mexico to China contradict notions of a fixed masculinity. Seeing masculinity as a product of culture and malleable allows us to reimagine fathering, who is capable of leadership and offers new possibilities for how men and women will relate to each other.
    Matthew Gutmann is professor of anthropology at Brown University.
    Lilian Calles Barger, www.lilianbarger.com, is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her most recent book is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her current writing project is on the intellectual history of feminism seen through the emblematic life and work of Simone de Beauvoir.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Charlene Makley, "The Battle for Fortune: State-led Development, Personhood, and Power among Tibetans in China" (Cornell UP, 2018)

    Charlene Makley, "The Battle for Fortune: State-led Development, Personhood, and Power among Tibetans in China" (Cornell UP, 2018)

    Rebgong, in the Northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau (China’s Qinghai Province), is in the midst of a ‘Battle for Fortune.’ That is, a battle to both accumulate as much fortune, but also a battle to decide which definitions of fortune are going to dominate Tibetan society: a material fortune based in ‘authoritarian capitalism’ or a Buddhist form of ‘counterdevelopment’ based in traditional ideas about language, landscapes, and compassion.
    In The Battle for Fortune: State-led Development, Personhood, and Power among Tibetans in China (Cornell University Press, 2018), Charlene Makley, Professor of anthropology at Reed College, intermixes these tensions while also exploring her own experience attempting to conduct fieldwork immediately before and after a series of demonstrations rocked Tibet in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Using a form of multi-sited, ‘dialogic ethnography’ from linguistic anthropology, Charlene Makley considers Tibetans’ encounters with development projects as a historically situated interpretive politics, in which people negotiate the presence or absence of moral and authoritative persons and their associated jurisdictions and powers. Because most Tibetans view the active presence of deities and other invisible and autochthonous beings as the ground of power, causation, and fertile or fortunate landscapes, Makley also takes divine beings as some of the important interlocutors for Tibetans. The Battle for Fortune, therefore challenges readers to grasp the unique reality of Tibetans’ values and fears in the face of their marginalization in China.
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    • 1 hr 27 min
    Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider, "Why Does Patriarchy Persist?" (Polity, 2018)

    Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider, "Why Does Patriarchy Persist?" (Polity, 2018)

    Activists have been working to dismantle patriarchal structures since the feminist and civil rights movements of the last century, and yet we continue to struggle with patriarchy today. In their new book, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? (Polity, 2018), Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider use psychoanalysis and psychology as frameworks for understanding the vexingly enduring power of this social structure. They offer a cogent and eye-opening theory addressing the fear of loss against which patriarchy aims to protect us, and the consequent impingements on our ability to enter into genuine relationships. In our interview, Carol and Naomi talk about how this book came about and what their ideas offer for our understanding of current political events.
    Carol Gilligan is a writer, activist, University Professor at New York University, and the author of In a Different Voice, one of the most influential feminist books of all time.
    Naomi Snider is a research fellow at New York University, co-founder of NYU’s Radical Listening Project, and a candidate in psychoanalytic training at the William Alanson White Institute.
    Eugenio Duarte is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate and faculty of William Alanson White Institute in New York City and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group; and faculty at Florida Psychoanalytic Institute in Miami. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge).
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    • 42 min
    Jonathan A. C. Brown, "Slavery and Islam" (Oneworld Academic, 2019)

    Jonathan A. C. Brown, "Slavery and Islam" (Oneworld Academic, 2019)

    In his majestic and encyclopedic new book Slavery and Islam (Oneworld Academic, 2019), Jonathan A. C. Brown presents a sweeping analysis of Muslim intellectual, political, and social entanglements with slavery, and some of the thorniest conceptual and ethical problems involved in defining and writing about slavery. Self-reflective and bold, Slavery and Islam also offers a remarkable combination of intellectual and social history, anchored in layers of complex yet eminently accessible textual analysis. What makes talking about slavery so difficult? What are the dominant discourses on and attitudes about slavery that have dominated Muslim history? What are some of the major points of overlap and fissure between Western and Muslim understandings of slavery? And how must one confront the ethical and interpretive challenges brought by the presence of slavery in Islam? These are among the questions Brown explores and addresses in this monumental work of scholarship that is sure to spark many conversations and debates, within and outside Islamic Studies.
    SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.
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    • 1 hr 11 min
    Ivan V. Small, "Currencies of Imagination: Channeling Money and Chasing Mobility in Vietnam" (Cornell UP, 2018)

    Ivan V. Small, "Currencies of Imagination: Channeling Money and Chasing Mobility in Vietnam" (Cornell UP, 2018)

    Overseas Vietnamese are estimated to remit 15 billion dollars annually to family that remains in Vietnam. Ivan V. Small moves beyond the numbers to examine how remittances affect sociality and human relations in his book Currencies of Imagination: Channeling Money and Chasing Mobility in Vietnam (Cornell University Press, 2018). Although remittances flow back to Vietnam with relative ease, bodies have more difficulty migrating and tend to remain in place. This condition reorients the gaze towards overseas horizons and opens up imaginative possibilities for labor, expectations about their own country, and desires for physical mobility. Small tracks remittances in Saigon, small coastal towns, and in Southern California, thus producing a transnational ethnography of monetary flows and relations. He notes remittances’ shifting forms from goods, to money, and charitable contributions. Although remittances are often thought of only through economic terms, Small argues that they contribute to ongoing social transformations at individual and social levels.
    Ivan V. Small is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University.
    Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on race, blackness, and visual representation in Brazil. She is on Twitter @ReighanGillam.
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    • 50 min

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