The Docile Ethnographer?

On Self-Censure and Fieldwork “Looking forward to reading more in this series. Would have liked to retweet it, but I’m not touching anything critical until I’m done with fieldwork and out of the country. Some informants follow me on twitter. So, yeah…” This was one of the several messages I received following the publication of […]

Ethnography and Street Photography

Two Arts of Serendipity Street photography, notes Magnum photographer Alex Webb, is a practice of harnessing serendipity. Photographers never know what they are going to find when they go out on the streets. They have to stay open to what comes their way and be ready for it when it does. They have to let […]

Grounded Dreams?

Hong Kong and Hollywood face the challenges of a globalizing movie economy. Hortense Powdermaker’s analysis of a Hollywood movie industry driven by extreme uncertainty, anxiety, and crisis in Hollywood, the Dream Factory (1950), remains just as relevant to today’s industry marked by increasing post-Fordist production and globalization. The offshoring of production jobs from the dream […]

Watching Movies in Ghana

Re-presenting the stuff of dreams and invisible forces, films feed the popular imagination. “It’s true, it’s true. All these things happen, all these things happen in real life. In reality,” Paulina, a fan of Ghanaian movies, told me at the beginning of my research on Ghana’s emergent local film industry in the fall of 1996. […]

The Accidental Celebrity

Achieving media stardom takes more than luck. It requires hard work and perseverance. City of stars Are you shining just for me? City of stars You never shined so brightly —Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, “City of Stars,” from the film La La Land (2016) Being a celebrity is hard work. This observation […]

Film for Good

Can cinema produce social justice? Six decades separate the #OscarsSoWhite movement and the publication of Hortense Powdermaker’s ethnography on Hollywood’s inner workings Hollywood, the Dream Factory: An Anthropologist Looks at the Movie-Makers (1950). Yet Powdermaker’s analysis presents a clear diagnosis of the structures the contemporary movement struggles against. Powdermaker writes about the power of the […]

Influential Women of and for Anthropology

AN’s contributing editors were asked to identify the ethnographies (and other works) most influential to them, their careers, and their work. Below are descriptions of those ethnographies, ethnographers, other works, and their impact. Precarious Japan by Anne Allison Kelly Alexander is author of “What’s Your Beef” and an upcoming Opinion column on anthropology of food One afternoon […]

Defend and Transform

The Fight Forward for Public Education In the aftermath of the US presidential election, policy pundits and even some activists have suggested that diverse schools can help heal the nation from the hatred that Trump’s victory represents. A lack of diversity, they argue, breeds hatred; conversely, diversity is supposed to trump hate, and contact with […]

Awkward Objects of Genocide

The Holocaust and Vernacular Arts in and beyond Polish Ethnographic Museums   Eastern Europe witnessed 14 million deaths in a period of little more than a decade between 1933 and 1945. The local impact of such widespread and wanton killing as it reverberated in towns, villages, and communities over the subsequent decades is only just […]

CFP=Call for Problems

Should I take another adjunct position? How do I get through this mound of exam marking? Graduate student healthcare in the era of Donald Trump—what do I need to know? I think my senior colleague is trying to blackball my tenure process. How do I find out? What is the appropriate amount of alcohol to consume […]