Alan Klima’s Ethnography #9 (Duke University Press, 2019) was co-written by a ghost. And that’s just the start of what’s going on in this eerie, singular book. It’s a discussion of finance in post-crash Thailand, a study of non-material histories, and an examination of the limits of anthropological writing. It’s also at once a complex and textured challenge to ethnographic realism and a compelling story about the life and death (and etc) of a young girl.
The book was a co-winner of 2020’s Gregory Bateson Prize and is available open access here. In today’s conversation, I do my best to ask Professor Klima about the status of ghosts in anthropology, tensions between narrative and theory, and how anthropologists can get weird with their writing. Alan Klima is Professor of Anthropology at UC Davis, his previous works include the book The Funeral Casino (Princeton University Press 2002) and the film Ghosts and Numbers (2010).
Lachlan Summers is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, where he researches Mexico City’s repeating earthquakes. He is a Contributing Editor at Cultural Anthropology, a member of the Emergent Futures CoLab, and can be found on Twitter.