Social and Chemical Life in Mexico City

The most prevalent form of lead exposure in Mexico City today is culinary; lead glazed ceramic dishes that are prized within families. Lead glaze makes the dishes shine and the food taste sweeter, and the enormous ollas (pots) that hang on kitchen walls connect current generations to past and future family celebrations. What if anthropology could tell the broader story of what these pots do, and their effects, by intertwining their social and chemical lives? Our bioethnographic project, Mexican Exposures (MEXPOS), seeks to do just that; we insist that, to understand lead exposure and working-class life in Mexico City, we need to keep glaze, sweetness, celebrations, and toxicity together.

Anthropology and the Rashomon Effect

A reflection on group fieldwork. There is a high-fever-pitch limbic sensation of simultaneously registering something you heard or read as wrong, and the antsy, itchy, compulsion to raise your hand, right there, everyone in the room as your witness. You might write a comment or review, maybe draft an article, or even embark on a […]

Insightful Fieldwork

Trust, Humility, and Personal Transformation Notes from the Field, a series by the Culture & Agriculture section of AAA Drawing on the experiences and expertise of our members, Culture and Agriculture introduces its “Notes from the Field” series. Our intent is to make space for creative, thoughtful reflections on the process of fieldwork that, while not […]