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Erasing the Foreskin

The “Excess Skin” Myth, Male Genital Mutilation, and Foreskin Trafficking in the United States

Shawn Welch

Despite growing criticism from human rights scholars and international medical experts, non-therapeutic penile circumcision of newborns in the United States continues to be widely accepted among American healthcare practitioners. While a wealth of literature exists on the topic, it can leave out cultural depictions of the foreskin as aesthetically displeasing, unhygienic, or as extra skin, presumptions that normalize its physical and psychological erasure. Highlighting how a cultural attitude treats a healthy body part as worthy only of excision, I show how this vilification rationalizes the wide-scale performance of a practice that in any other context is seen as grossly unethical: the painful and unnecessary modification of the sexual anatomy of a non-consenting person. I also discuss how this rationalization enables profit-driven trafficking in infant sexual tissue.

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Financing the Climate

How the Process of Financialization Changes the Relationship between CO2 Emissions and GDP per Capita

Patrick Trent Greiner, Julius Alexander McGee, and Ethan P. Gibbons


Financial processes have changed how economic growth is carried out, yet little research has been done examining how financialization affects the well-established association between economic activity and emissions. We construct fixed effects regression analyses with robust standard errors for 172 nations between 1960 and 2014. In this article, we estimate financial processes’ moderation of the association between GDP per capita and CO2 emissions per capita, as well as whether or not such processes reduce the environmental intensity of manufacturing activities. We find that financialization decouples total GDP per capita from emissions per capita but fails to do so for growth from manufacture. Noting the absolute rise in manufacturing activity, we argue that the economic reorganization that financialization represents may obfuscate the ongoing pressure that economic growth places on the environment.

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“God's Mighty Arm Makes the French Victorious”

The French Revolutionary Deists Who Believed in Miracles

Joseph Waligore


The deists have commonly been characterized as irreligious thinkers who believed in a distant and inactive deity. This characterization of deism is undermined by the large number of French Revolutionary deists who believed that God worked miracles. Some French Revolutionary deists claimed that God continually led the French armies to victory, while others said that God worked a single miracle. After eliminating the French Revolutionaries who were following the party line when Maximilien Robespierre was in power, there were 72 French Revolutionary deists who believed God worked miracles to help the French Revolution. The French Revolutionary deists shared a common theology with the earlier deists, and many earlier deists also believed that God worked miracles. The Enlightenment deists were much more religious than commonly thought.

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Is civilizational primordialism any better than nationalist primordialism?

Denys Gorbach

The ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war seems to have prompted a return to anthropology's origins: the armchair. Claiming authority based on status and knowledge accumulated elsewhere and extrapolated to Ukraine, public scholars have proffered takes, op-eds, and geopolitical phantasies. Slow research in the full ethnographic mode, studying actors and subjectivities in fast shifting contexts, would have been preferable. In a context of war, complex and dynamic political phenomena easily become tokens in political debates that do not go much beyond statements of political identity.

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Making Sense of Increasing Physical Touch in Australian Men’s Friendships

A Feminist Poststructuralist Dialogue with Inclusive Masculinity Theory

Brittany Ralph and Steven Roberts

The increasing incidence of platonic hugging and kissing among men has sparked considerable debate in scholarly literature, particularly surrounding Eric Anderson’s articulation of inclusive masculinity theory (IMT). Aiming to move productively beyond Anderson’s critics, we propose a feminist poststructuralist reframing of IMT that emphasizes the discursive dynamics underpinning men’s uptake of “feminized” practices. Drawing on data from interviews with 14 pairs of fathers and sons living in Australia, we conceptualize their increasing engagement in platonic physical intimacy with other men as an assertion of queer-inclusion discourse and contestation of masculinist discourse that is neither linear nor necessarily consistent. Ultimately, we argue this approach allows scholars to retain some of Anderson’s key theoretical contentions, while better accounting for change, continuity, and contradiction in men’s gender practice.

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Owning Bodies, Owning Lands

Property Formation in the Early Plantation Colonies

Allan Greer


This article presents a broad and comparative examination of property formation in the French and English plantation colonies of the Caribbean and the southern North American mainland. It considers the connections between claims to exclusive control over human beings and claims to portions of the earth's surface. In the two early modern empires, planters pushed consistently and successfully to remove social, legal, and ecological constraints that limited their full control over their human and terrestrial property. Moreover, they insisted on legally fusing fields and workers, assimilating slaves to the category of real estate for purposes of inheritance and legal liability for debt. By the mid-eighteenth century, the French and British colonies had developed precociously modern capitalist property forms. In the Age of Revolutions, ideologues from plantation colonies, such as Thomas Jefferson and Michel-René Hilliard d'Auberteuil, emerged as radical advocates of absolute private property rights.

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Planning, state building, and the days after in Palestine

Kareem Rabie


Drawn from ethnographic fieldwork and documentary research, this article examines three shifts in national-scale planning in Palestine. In the period after the Oslo accords, Palestinian planners were tasked with the responsibility to create formal structures of governance and build for a future, eventual state there. Through that process and especially after the second intifada, national planning came to focus almost exclusively on market openness, privatization, and capitalistic development as part of a state and economy building project. Increasingly since 2015, planners have attempted to re-take some kind of formal authority. This article argues that such regimes show how Palestine is increasingly crafted at the state-scale as a node in wider global political economies in order to ostensibly stabilize the political situation, and in ways that have wide consequences for Palestine.

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Poesis, God, and the Connectedness of All Beings

J. G. Herder's Comparative Method

Tanvi Solanki


The article examines the significance of J. G. Herder's analogical thinking in the history of comparative practices. It shows how Herder's comparative method, of positing one phenomenon as another in its own singular and inimitable manner, emerges from his concept of God and nature as informed by Baruch Spinoza, as well as his study of scientific and cultural phenomena, including the active mechanisms of poesis as sensory perception. While Herder's concept of comparison and his analogical practices influenced prominent thinkers contemporary to him such as J.W. Goethe, the specificity of his comparative method has been overlooked by scholars past and present, such as Michel Foucault, as Herder's approach resists assimilation in histories of comparativism centered on nineteenth-century projects of comparison. Yet his outlook on the tension between difference and identity offers fresh insight into relations between distinct cultures and entities without effacing their particularity or placing them in static hierarchies. Herder's comparative method provides new perspectives on contemporary debates on the benefits of and dangers of historical analogies.

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Postcolonial Studies Meets Global History

Rendez-vous in the Francophone World

Burleigh Hendrickson


In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Georg W. F. Hegel labeled it a “world-historical” event. Just a few decades later, Karl Marx was equally fascinated by this Revolution, contributing to the notion that it served as a global turning point that would bend European society toward a post-feudal, modern world. Though scholars of postcolonial studies have long scrutinized these nineteenth-century thinkers’ narratives of progress, they played a large part in cementing the French Revolution's place in world history. Scholars of French studies have recently challenged long-held notions of French exceptionalism. This article explores the relationship between postcolonial studies and global history, both tenuous and complementary, as they relate to the emerging field of global French studies. Providing a reading of these intersecting methods in the historiography of both the French Revolution and 1968 in France, I contend that postcolonial studies is a form of global history.

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Property and Pa-Tree-Archy

A Cross-National Analysis of Gendered Rights and Forest Loss in Low- and Middle-Income Nations

Jamie M. Sommer, Rebekah Burroway, and John M. Shandra


Although previous studies have examined the causes of deforestation from a cross-national, quantitative perspective, these studies tend to neglect the role of women in mitigating forest loss. Yet, evidence from case studies shows that when women own land they tend to protect forests, replant trees, and engage in agricultural practices that place less pressure on forests. Building on this work, we use ordinary least squares regression models to analyze data on forest loss derived from satellite imagery for a sample of 67 low- and middle-income nations. The results suggest that improving gender equality in immovable property rights does help save trees. Furthermore, our analysis also suggests that men and women have different priorities when it comes to forest sustainability. Women's rights have a protective effect on forests, while men's rights have no statistically significant effect. Given the extent to which we rely on forests for health, environmental, and economic reasons, these findings imply that when women's rights are curtailed, the consequences extend beyond women themselves.