My Propinquity Towards Grandiose Narratives

Our book, The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region: Cultural Dynamics and Historical Interactions (Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez and Josiah Heyman, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2017: 401 pp.) is a labor of affection and hopefully a contribution to recasting a region that is often mischaracterized by only the brittle, bifurcating borderline imposed upon a common ecology only two grandmothers ago […]

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 […]

Introduction to “Ethnographer as Activist”

Grappling with ethnography and advocacy in the field. What follows is a transcribed conversation between the authors. It has been edited for length and clarity. Haley Bryant: When we began this discussion it took the form of a conference panel designed to work through some of the challenges associated with bridging the gap between ethnography […]

Engagements with Ethnographic Care

On care and self-care as an anthropologist and rape crisis advocate. I came to my work with survivors of sexual violence, initially, out of care. Care about the individuals who endure the physical, psychic, and social wounds of sexual violence and its attendant traumas, and a desire to provide care for individuals who identify as […]

On Not Being Seen

Visibility in the field can be fraught with methodological and ethical dilemmas. “Go ahead inside. I need to get a few things from the trunk,” I told Destiny as I dropped her off outside the recreation center on a cold, March night last year. She understood the subtext: we shouldn’t be seen coming in together. […]

A Nuclear Advocacy Dilemma

Advocacy anthropology does not always mean aligning oneself with an underdog. Since the establishment of our discipline, anthropologists have fretted over the question of whether they should deploy their own privileged knowledge to intervene in debates and disputes among their subjects. Should they dispassionately take notes on female genital mutilation, or should they advocate against […]

Writing and Research in a Conflict Zone

For the activist-scholar research can mean navigating between different audiences, modes, and ethics of representation. When the Kony 2012 video went viral, it sparked numerous conversations about Western activism and Africa. The video focused on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that started in northern Uganda, and the US-led social movement to end […]

Rust Belt Revolt and the Failure of Big Data

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign season, most people in America—including nearly all political analysts, statisticians, and other experts—were confident that Hillary Clinton would be our next president. The filmmaker Michael Moore was famously one of the only public figures who pushed against this consensus. On Real Time with Bill Maher, Moore insisted that Donald Trump […]