New Books Network

S. Lochlann Jain, “Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us” (U of California Press, 2013)
Cancer pervades American bodies–and also habits of mind. Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (University of California Press, 2013) is a sharp, adventurous book by the established legal anthropologist, S. Lochlann Jain. The book simultaneously complicates and clarifies the multiple ways in which cancer and patient-hood gets appropriated, embodied and reproduced through... Read More
Matt Tomlinson, “Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance” (Oxford UP, 2014)
Religious ritual has been a staple of anthropological study. In his latest monograph, Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance (Oxford University Press 2014), cultural anthropologist Matt Tomlinson takes up the topic anew through a set of four case studies drawn from his fieldwork in Fiji. Each one illustrates a... Read More
Joseph D. Hankins, “Working Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan” (U of California Press, 2014)
Joseph D. Hankins‘s marvelous new ethnography of the contemporary Buraku people looks at the labor involved in “identifying, dismantling, and reproducing” the Buraku situation in Japan and beyond. Taking readers on a journey from Lubbock, Texas to Tokyo, India, and back again, Working Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan (University... Read More
Alex Nading, “Mosquito Trails: Ecology, Health and the Politics of Entanglement” (University of California Press, 2014)
Dengue fever is on the rise globally. Since it is transmitted by mosquitoes which reside and reproduce in human environments, eradication efforts involve households and the people who keep them clean as well as moral and persuasive campaigns of surveillance and invigilation. In his new book Mosquito Trails: Ecology, Health and... Read More
Daniel Cloud, “The Domestication of Language” (Columbia UP, 2014)
One of the most puzzling things about humans is their ability to manipulate symbols and create artifacts. Our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom–apes–have only the rudiments of these abilities: chimps don’t have language and, if they have culture, it’s extraordinarily primitive in comparison to the human form. What we... Read More
Thom Scott-Phillips, “Speaking Our Minds” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
I hope I’m not being species-centric when I say that the emergence of human language is a big deal. John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary rate it as one of the “major transitions in evolution”, placing it in exalted company alongside the evolution of multicellularity, sociality, sexual reproduction, and various... Read More
Jamie Cross, “Dream Zones: Anticipating Capitalism and Development in India” (Pluto Books,
Dream Zones: Anticipating Capitalism and Development in India (Pluto Press, 2014), the excellent new book by Jamie Cross, explores the ways in which dreams of the future shape the present. Centring in and around a large Special Economic Zone in south India, the book analyses anticipation amongst politicians, managers, workers,... Read More
Lisa L. Gezon, “Drug Effects: Khat in Biocultural and Socioeconomic Perspective” (Left Coast Press, 2012)
Khat, the fresh leaves of the plant Catha edulis, is a mild psycho-stimulant. It has been consumed in Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia for over one thousand years. Khat consumption is an important part of Yemeni social and political life. During the early part of the twentieth century, Yemeni dockworkers... Read More
Pamela Klassen, “Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity” (University of California Press, 2011)
Liberal Protestants are often dismissed as reflecting nothing more than a therapeutic culture or viewed as a measuring rod for the decline of Christian orthodoxy. Rarely have they been the subjects of anthropological inquiry. Pamela Klassen, Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto, wants to change that. Her recent... Read More