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Uncertainty as a Driving Force for Geoscientific Development

Hendrik Paasche, Katja Paasche, and Peter Dietrich

Abstract

Geoscientists invest significant effort to cope with uncertainty in Earth system observation and modeling. While general discussions exist about uncertainty and risk communication, judgment and decision-making, and science communication with regard to Earth sciences, in this article, we tackle uncertainty from the perspective of Earth science practitioners. We argue different scientific methodologies must be used to recognize all types of uncertainty inherent to a scientific finding. Following a discovery science methodology results in greater potential for the quantification of uncertainty associated to scientific findings than staying inside hypothesis-driven science methodology, as is common practice. Enabling improved uncertainty quantification could relax debates about risk communication and decision-making since it reduces the room for personality traits when communicating scientific findings.

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What Makes a Panther a Panther?

Genetics, Human Perceptions, and the Complexity of Species Categorization

Catherine Macdonald and Julia Wester

Abstract

Species categorizations can involve both scientific input and conservation questions about what should be preserved and how. We present a case study exploring the social construction of species categories using a real-life example of a cougar subspecies (Puma concolor stanleyana) purposefully introduced into Florida to prevent the functional extinction of a related subspecies of panther (P. c. coryi). Participants in an online sample (n = 500) were asked to make categorization decisions and then reflect on those decisions in an open format. Analysis of coded responses suggest people may experience “species” as both a social and biological construct, and that the question of what species people think an animal belongs to cannot be answered in isolation from questions about how that animal fits into larger social and biological systems.

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Adjudicating Religious Intolerance

Afro-Brazilian Religions, Public Space, and the National Collective in Twenty-First-Century Brazil

Elina I. Hartikainen

Abstract

Allegations of religious intolerance push courts to deliberate on questions that are constitutive of the problem space of secularism. In addition to legal opinions on the character and scope of religious freedom vis-à-vis conflicting rights, these arbitrations result in authoritative statements on what constitutes religion, how it may inhabit public space, and, ultimately, what interests and values underpin the national collective. This article analyzes three high-profile court cases alleging religious intolerance against Afro-Brazilian religions that were tried in Brazil during the first two decades of the 2000s. It demonstrates how at this time of rapid religious transformation the adjudication of such cases acted as a key site for the Brazilian legal establishment to redefine the place of religion in the broader context of rights and laws that regulate religion in public spaces.

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Becoming an Agricultural Growth Corridor

African Megaprojects at a Situated Scale

Serena Stein and Marc Kalina

Abstract

Agricultural growth corridors (AGCs) have begun proliferating across the actual and policy landscapes of southeastern Africa. Cast as an emerging megaproject strategy, AGCs combine the construction of large-scale logistics (i.e., roads, railways, ports) with attracting investment in commercial agribusiness and smallholder farming. While scholars have long attended to spatial development schemes in the Global South, literature on the rising AGCs of Africa's eastern seaboard has only recently shifted from anticipatory to empirical studies as policy implementation reaches full force. The article reflects on a new crop of studies that confront the problem of tracing policy imaginaries to the people, places, practices, and ecologies shaped by AGC schemes. In contrast to scholarship that accepts corridors as given entities, we explore directions for research that interrogate the grounded yet provisional becoming of these megaprojects. At such sites, the return of high modernist development logics encapsulated by the corridor concept may be questioned.

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Biomimicry as a Meta-Resource and Megaproject

A Literature Review

Veronica Davidov

Abstract

This literature review of biomimicry and related models of treating nature as a meta-resource on a mega-scale integrates concepts of resources and abundance. Biomimicry, which lies at the intersection of biosciences and industrial design, is a praxis for drawing on designs and processes found in nature and using them as inspirational sources for technologies. Environmental anthropology often focuses on processes such as extraction and commodification that position nature as governed by an economy of scarcity with its existential state characterized by attenuation. The paradigm of biomimicry, on the other hand, construes nature as an infinitely renewable and generative mega-resource and meta-resource, one that is governable by an economy of abundance rather than scarcity. This literature review analyzes intellectual and epistemological trends and frameworks that have served as precursors to and have emerged around biomimicry across disciplines that treat the paradigm of biomimicry as a highly variable epistemological object.

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Book Reviews

Marcos Mendoza, Sierra Ramirez, Antonia Sohns, Alex Souchen, Marcus Hamilton, and Erika Techera

Barandiarán, Javiera. 2018. Science and Environment in Chile: The Politics of Expert Advice in a Neoliberal Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 284 pp. ISBN: 978-0-262-53563-2.

Hoover, Elizabeth. 2017. The River Is in Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 360 pp. ISBN: 978-1-51790-303-9.

McKenzie, Matthew. 2018. Breaking the Banks: Representations and Realities in New England Fisheries, 1866–1966. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 224 pp. ISBN: 978-1-625-34391-8.

Sarathy, Brinda, Vivien Hamilton, and Janet Farrell, eds. 2018. Inevitably Toxic: Historical Perspectives on Contamination, Exposure, and Expertise. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. 317 pp. ISBN: 978-0-822-94531-4.

Scott, James C. 2018. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 336 pp. ISBN: 978-0-300-24021-4

Westbrook, Vivienne, Shaun Collin, Dean Crawford and Mark Nicholls. 2018. Sharks in the Arts: From Feared to Revered. London: Routledge. 188 pp. ISBN: 978-1-138-92966-1.

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Book Reviews

Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni, and George Wu Bayuga

BIELO, James, Materializing the Bible. Digital project. http://www.materializingthebible.com.

CASSELBERRY, Judith, The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism, 240 pp., notes, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017. Paperback, $25.95. ISBN 9780822369035.

CLARK, Emily Suzanne, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, 280 pp., notes, index. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. Hardback, $34.95. ISBN 9781469628783.

COWAN, Douglas E., America´s Dark Theologian: The Religious Imagination of Stephen King, 272 pp., notes, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Hardback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479894734.

DARIEVA, Tsypylma, Florian MüHLFRIED, and Kevin TUITE, eds., Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces: Religious Pluralism in the Post-Soviet Caucasus, 246 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2018. Hardback, $90.00. ISBN 9781785337826.

DASWANI, Girish, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost, 280 pages, figures, notes, index. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Paperback, $30.95. ISBN 9781442626584.

GIRALDO HERRERA, César E., Microbes and Other Shamanic Beings, 274 pp., index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Paperback, $99.99. ISBN 9783030100414.

KAELL, Hillary, ed., Everyday Sacred: Religion in Contemporary Quebec, 356 pp., figures, notes, index. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2017. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9780773550940.

KRIPAL, Jeffrey J., Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions, 448 pp., appendix, notes, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9780226679082.

CABOT, Zayin, Ecologies of Participation: Agents, Shamans, Mystics and Diviners, 352 pp., preface, index. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9781498568159.

LAUTERBACH, Karen, Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana, 221 pp., appendix, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Paperback, $119.99. ISBN 9783319815299.

LIBERATORE, Giulia, Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain, 304 pp., figures, index. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. Paperback, $32.50. ISBN 9781350094628.

MANSUR, Marcia, and Marina THOMé, dirs., The Sound of Bells (O Som dos Sinos), documentary film, Portuguese, 70 min. Estúdio Crua, 2016. $320.00. https://store.der.org/the-sound-of-bells-p1012.aspx.

OOSTERBAAN, Martijn, Transmitting the Spirit: Religious Conversion, Media, and Urban Violence, 264 pp., notes, bibliography, index. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017. Paperback, $39.95. ISBN 9780271078441.

SRINIVAS, Tulasi, The Cow in the Elevator: An Anthropology of Wonder, 296 pp., notes, references, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. Paperback, $26.95. ISBN 9780822370796.

TANEJA, Anand Vivek, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi, 336 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781503603936.

WILCOX, Melissa M., Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody, 336 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479820368.

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Commentary on “Siting Pluralism”

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

There are some things we seem to need to learn over and over and over. Among them are the ways in which modern legal efforts to expel the sacred—or, perhaps more pointedly, as Neena Mahadev shows in her article, interventions to end it—condemn us to its constant reproduction. State secularism results not in the evacuation of the sacred but in an almost neurotic picking at the scab of the wound—and the continuous management of what Hussein Agrama (2012: 186) has called the “problem-space of secularism.”

The four articles collected here are exemplary in their fine-grained analysis of this reality, both of the often pathetic inadequacy of regulatory efforts and, even more interestingly, of the glimpses we have of religious life lived in the in-between spaces of formal policing efforts, whether of church or state. The spatial gesture uniting this collection—siting pluralism—proves particularly potent. Sometimes imagined as uncompromisingly singular (i.e., spatial ‘locative’ religion as opposed to utopian portable religion) and at other times as spatial in a plural, less exclusive sense, the spaces/places of these articles are teeming with contradiction and multiplicity.

Free access

Contemporary Megaprojects

An Introduction

Seth Schindler, Simin Fadaee, and Dan Brockington

Abstract

There is renewed interest in megaprojects worldwide. In contrast to high- modernist megaprojects that were discrete projects undertaken by centralized authorities, contemporary megaprojects are often decentralized and pursued by a range of stakeholders from governments as well as the private sector. They leverage cutting-edge technology to ‘see’ complex systems as legible and singular phenomena. As a result, they are more ambitious, more pervasive and they have the potential to reconfigure longstanding relationships that have animated social and ecological systems. The articles in this issue explore the novel features of contemporary megaprojects, they show how the proponents of contemporary megaprojects aspire to technologically enabled omnipresence, and they document the resistance that megaprojects have provoked.

Open access

Francis, a Criollo Pope

Valentina Napolitano

Abstract

This article explores the tension between Pope Francis as a ‘trickster’ and as a much-needed reformer of the Catholic Church at large. He is an exemplar of the longue durée of an embodied ‘Atlantic Return’ from the Americas to the ‘heart’ of Catholicism (Rome and the Vatican), with its ambivalent, racialized history. Through the mobilization of material religion, sensuous mediations, and the case of the Lampedusa crosses in particular, I engage with an anthropological analysis of Francis as a Criollo and the first-ever Jesuit pope. Examining Francis's papacy overlapping racial and ethico-political dimensions, I identify coordinates around which the rhetorical, affective, and charismatic force of Francis as a Criollo has been actualized—between, most crucially, proximity and distance, as well as pastoral versus theological impulses. This article advances an understanding of Francis that emerges from a study of the conjuncture of affective fields, political theology, racialized aesthetics, and mediatic interface.