E. G. Condé / Steve Gonzalez on Hurricanes, Fiction, and Speculative Ethnography (EF)


In this episode, Elizabeth talks with Steven Gonzalez, anthropologist and author of speculative fiction under the pen name E.G. Condé. They discuss the entanglement of politics, Taíno animism, and weather events in the form of a hurricane named Teddy. Steve describes the suffusion of sound he has experienced in Puerto Rico and the soundlessness at the heart of hurricanes, and tells us about his academic work on data centers, and a collaborative speculative film that imagines a world without clouds.

Steve and Elizabeth reflect on current shifts within anthropology that are opening the discipline to other modes of expression, including speculative fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, in the tradition of Ursula K. Le Guin (the subject of a recent episode and of John's recent book Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea: My Reading) and of Arkady Martine, Byzantine historian and author of A Memory called Empire, and A Desolation Called Peace. As her Recallable Book, Elizabeth offers an anthropological space opera, The Expanse.

Mentioned in the episode:

  • "World without Clouds" by Jia Hui Lee, Luísa Reis Castro, Julianne Yip, Steven Gonzalez, and Gabrielle Robbins.
  • Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City by Vera S. Candiani.
  • Haraway, Donna. "Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective 1." In Women, science, and technology, pp. 455-472. Routledge, 2013.
  • Marcus, George E. "On the unbearable slowness of being an anthropologist now: Notes on a contemporary anxiety in the making of ethnography." Cross Cultural Poetics 12, no. 12 (2003): 7-20.

Read the episode here.

Your Host

Elizabeth Ferry and John Plotz

Free-ranging discussion of books from the past that cast a sideways light on today's world. Recall This Book is hosted by Elizabeth Ferry, Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University and John Plotz, Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative.

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