We invite contributors to the column to pull back the curtain and share snapshots of the anthropologist at work.
In the moment when I thought tarps were solar panels, I felt the water between the island and the states. It was an affective moment that leads me to wonder, what is the emotional dexterity required of those of us who are insider-outsider ethnographers? Or what are the feelings required of those of us living in diaspora?
In adoption, the child is an imagined future that is produced not only through the investment and circulation of money, but also through practices of observation, waiting, and worry, involving tremendous investments of time and affective energy too. Adoptive kinship is thus highly speculative, in more ways than one. My hope is that within the contemporary climate of neoliberalism, a multivalent concept like intimate speculation can help us think through various social formations beyond adoption.
Following in a black feminist epistemological tradition, a key element of my work is to insert black people, who are often subjugated in ALS knowledge production, as both objects of knowledge production and producers of knowledge. What is ALS like for black people? Are they being diagnosed? Are they being misdiagnosed? What social and political structures are in place that make access to care challenging?
I have a quite uncomfortable visceral reaction when I am asked to speak to how I experience anthropology—and the academy more broadly—as a Black woman. I resent the feeling that the questioner believes that they know the answer before they ask—that they are actually looking for some kind of confirmation of their belief in the promise that a change is gon’ come, within the reality that it ain’t here yet.
This conversation takes place with two ethnographers of Los Angeles: Juli Grigsby and Damien Sojoyner. In this short piece, we discuss the impact of gentrification and its insidious process removing of Black communities through the building of rail infrastructure.