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Interviews with Anthropologists about their New Books
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Interviews with Anthropologists about their New Books
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    J. Andrew Bush, "Between Muslims: Religious Difference in Iraqi Kurdistan" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    J. Andrew Bush, "Between Muslims: Religious Difference in Iraqi Kurdistan" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    Between Muslims Religious Difference in Iraqi Kurdistan (Stanford UP, 2020) by J. Andrew Bush asks what it means to be Muslim, yet not pious, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Though Islam is often represented in terms of either daily devotion, such as prayer and fasting, or abandonment of faith, there are many who turn away from tradition without departing from Islam. J. Andrew Bush offers us a new way to understand religious difference in Islam, one that invites questions about divine texts and rejects easy answers about political or sectarian identities. 
    Exploring the lives of irreligious Muslims, Bush highlights the paradoxes of their ethical orientation. While profoundly averse to many aspects of Islamic traditions, irreligious Muslims nonetheless harbor attractions to other aspects--such as Sufi poetry. Exploring this complex weave of attraction and aversion, the book provides intimate portraits of irreligious Kurdish Muslims in everyday life and the historical conditions that have allowed such paradoxical religious orientations to appear very ordinary in contemporary Kurdistan. 
    Whether readers approach the book as Muslims with a commitment to Islam, or as Muslims with ambivalence to Islam, or as non-Muslims who bear their own forms of certainty or ambivalence about Islam, the book will open to the door to thinking about the relationship between commitment and ambivalence in Islamic traditions.
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    M. Vollman Makris and M. Gatta, "Gentrification Down the Shore" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

    M. Vollman Makris and M. Gatta, "Gentrification Down the Shore" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

    In Gentrification Down the Shore (Rutgers University Press, 2020), Molly Vollman Makris and Mary Gatta engage in a rich ethnographic investigation of Asbury Park to better understand the connection between jobs and seasonal gentrification and the experiences of longtime residents in this beach-community city. They demonstrate how the racial inequality in the founding of Asbury Park is reverberating a century later. This book tells an important and nuanced tale of gentrification using an intersectional lens to examine the history of race relations, the too often overlooked history of the postindustrial city, the role of the LGBTQ population, barriers to employment and access to amenities, and the role of developers as the city rapidly changes. Makris and Gatta draw on in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic observation, as well as data analysis to tell the reader a story of life on the West Side of Asbury Park as the East Side prospers and to point to a potential path forward.
    Molly Vollman Makris is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Urban Studies at Guttman Community College, City University of New York.
    Mary Gatta is as an Associate Professor of Sociology at Guttman Community College, City University of New York.
    Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com.
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    Michael L. Siciliano, "Creative Control: The Ambivalence of Work in the Culture Industries" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    Michael L. Siciliano, "Creative Control: The Ambivalence of Work in the Culture Industries" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    How should we understand creative work? In Creative Control: The Ambivalence of Work in the Culture Industries (Columbia UP, 2021), Michael Siciliano, an assistant professor of sociology at Queen's University, Canada, explores this question through a comparison of a recording studio and a digital content creation company. The book considers the meaning and practice of ‘creative’ labour, considering its ambivalences, the passions and commitments, as well as the compromises and alienations associated with this area of economy and society. It represents a crucial intervention to the literature on cultural production, as well as offering an important understanding of the impact of digital modes of distribution and production on creative industries. A rich and fascinating comparative ethnography, the book is essential reading across humanities and social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in understanding contemporary culture.
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    Dilara Yarbrough, "Nothing About Us Without Us: Reading Protests against Oppressive Knowledge Production as Guidelines for Solidarity Research" (2019)

    Dilara Yarbrough, "Nothing About Us Without Us: Reading Protests against Oppressive Knowledge Production as Guidelines for Solidarity Research" (2019)

    Today I talked to Dilara Yarbrough about her article "Nothing About Us Without Us: Reading Protests against Oppressive Knowledge Production as Guidelines for Solidarity Research," published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (2019).
    Dilara Yarbrough is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Studies at San Francisco State University. Dilara’s research focuses on how different types of governmental responses to poverty perpetuate or interrupt racial, gender and economic inequalities. Her book manuscript Abolitionist Care describes how poverty relief services provided by and for sex workers and transgender women of colour incorporate radical harm reduction and grassroots organizing to disrupt carceral logics. In this podcast, Dilara discusses anti-oppressive approaches to the production and dissemination of knowledge, including Participatory Action and Solidarity.
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    Anthropologist Wade Davis Discusses His Life and Work

    Anthropologist Wade Davis Discusses His Life and Work

    "… I am an axe; And my son a handle, soon; To be shaping again, model; And tool, craft of culture; How we go on."
    - Gary Snyder, Axe Handles (1983)
    "… wisdom comes to those who understand the student is more important than the teacher in the lineage of knowledge."
    - Wade Davis, New Books Network (2021)
    Of the three major influences on Wade Davis’ life and work one of the most important is the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gary Snyder, and in this interview the professor shares how foundational that connection remains. This is just one highlight of many he shares about his thinking and writing as Wade indulges my interest in his ‘craft of culture’ on his path to becoming a renowned storyteller.
    This professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, former Explorer-in-Residence for the National Geographic Society, and award-winning author, Davis shares the interesting back stories of his best-selling first book, The Serpent and The Rainbow, about his research into Haitian ‘zombie poison’, how his hypothesis was publically challenged, and how the Hollywood movie version was just the kind of cultural distortion he was trying to overcome with his book.
    In the course of talking about this first book which helped launch his writing career he shares thoughts about academic writing more generally and in particular how his PhD thesis, Passage of Darkness, is really a sterile version of the richer and more textured narrative of the first book even though the latter is preferred by academics. For that matter, Wade has something to say about academic objectivity before we move on to talk about his influential One River, his CBC lectures-inspired The Wayfinders, and his award-winning Into The Silence. He also speaks at length about the influence of his Harvard mentors – the British anthropologist David May Ray Lewis, and the botanist and plant explorer Richard Evan Schultes, and how he and the late botanical explorer Tim Plowman made up the ‘coca project’ and the significance of ‘the divine leaf of immortality’.
    Keith Krueger teaching business and academic communication in the SILC Business School at Shanghai University - can be reached at: keith.krueger@uts.edu.au
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    Patrick Vitale, "Nuclear Suburbs: Cold War Technoscience and the Pittsburgh Renaissance" (U Minnesota Press, 2021)

    Patrick Vitale, "Nuclear Suburbs: Cold War Technoscience and the Pittsburgh Renaissance" (U Minnesota Press, 2021)

    From submarines to the suburbs--the remaking of Pittsburgh during the Cold War During the early Cold War, research facilities became ubiquitous features of suburbs across the United States. Pittsburgh's eastern and southern suburbs hosted a constellation of such facilities that became the world's leading center for the development of nuclear reactors for naval vessels and power plants. The segregated communities that surrounded these laboratories housed one of the largest concentrations of nuclear engineers and scientists on earth. 
    In Nuclear Suburbs: Cold War Technoscience and the Pittsburgh Renaissance (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), Patrick Vitale uncovers how the suburbs shaped the everyday lives of these technology workers. Using oral histories, Vitale follows nuclear engineers and scientists throughout and beyond the Pittsburgh region to understand how the politics of technoscience and the Cold War were embedded in daily life. At the same time that research facilities moved to Pittsburgh's suburbs, a coalition of business and political elites began an aggressive effort, called the Pittsburgh Renaissance, to renew the region. For Pittsburgh's elite, laboratories and researchers became important symbols of the new Pittsburgh and its postindustrial economy. Nuclear Suburbs exposes how this coalition enrolled technology workers as allies in their remaking of the city. Offering lessons for the present day, Nuclear Suburbs shows how race, class, gender, and the production of urban and suburban space are fundamental to technoscientific networks, and explains how the "renewal" of industrial regions into centers of the tech economy is rooted in violence and injustice.
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