The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), a railroad in East Siberia and the Russian Far East, became the last large Soviet industrial project. Its construction in the 1970s and 1980s attracted migrants from across the USSR, who formed the bamovtsy, or group of BAM builders. They share a history of working and living along the BAM and constitute the majority population in the region. The article argues that emotionally charged social memory of the BAM construction plays the central role in reproducing and reinforcing the bamovtsy identity in the post-Soviet period. Drawing on in-depth interviews and focus groups, the article examines the dynamics of both individual and collective remembering of the socialist BAM. It forms a vibrant discursive and emotional field, in which memories and identities are reconstructed, relived, and contested. Commemorative ceremonies such as the fortieth anniversary of the BAM serve as forums of public remembering and arenas for the politics of emotions.
Memories and Emotions of a Socialist Construction Project
Domesticating Democracy: The Politics of Conflict Resolution in Bolivia Susan Helen Ellison. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018, ISBN: 9780822371083, 296 pp., Pb. $25.95.
Reviewed by Nico Tassi
Negotiating between Stereotypical Femininity and Self-expression in Patriarchal Japan
In this article, I focus on the childhood and adolescent life experiences of dansō (female-to-male crossdressers) who work as escorts in contemporary Japan, and on the process that led to their presentation of self as gendered masculine in their private and working lives. During their childhood and adolescence, dansō have to negotiate their identity and self-presentation to adhere to the gendered pressures of Japanese society. Through an analysis of interviews undertaken with 14 dansō informants, I explore dansō’s construction of a male identity before adulthood, highlighting the societal impositions they experienced and the coping strategies to which they resorted in order to create and maintain a space in which to express their queer selves.
This issue includes our First Book Symposium, a new feature for Social Analysis that replaces the book reviews section we have had for a number of years. In each regular issue of the journal, we shall be devoting this feature to a single book written by a first-time author, which in one way or another develops new potentials for anthropological analysis (this being the core intellectual mission of our journal). The book will be subjected to sustained critique by relevant scholars, to which the author will then respond. We hope that this more focused approach will allow for a deeper engagement with emerging currents of analysis than what the shorter book review format allows, providing also a platform for books by scholars who are not already established and well known.
Matthew P. Romaniello
Our new volume begins with a departure. Tatiana Argounova-Low, following a long term as an associate editor, has left the journal to focus on other projects. We owe her a great debt of thanks for all her work for the journal, which included numerous translations over the years. Most recently, she and Jenanne Ferguson translated the entirety of our last issue on “Indigenous Methodology in the Study of the Native Peoples of Siberia.” The project was an enormous undertaking. We know that Tatiana’s contributions will continue to be valuable for the field and for Sibirica and wish her the best with her future endeavors.
I am very grateful to Barbara Brickman, the guest editor of this Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for her term “dislodging girlhood” in the context of heteronormativity. Repeatedly in this issue Marnina Gonick’s pivotal question, “Are queer girls, girls?” (2006: 122) is cited. In the 13 years since she posed this question, we have not seen enough attempts made to address it. To mix my metaphors I see this issue of Girlhood Studies as helping to break the silence and simultaneously to open the floodgates to a ground-breaking collection of responses to Gonick’s question. Given the rise of the right in the US and in so many other countries, queer girls— trans, lesbian, gender non-conforming, non-binary to mention just a few possibilities—are at even greater risk than before. Girlhood Studies has always been concerned with social justice, so this special issue is a particularly important one in our history. It is also worth noting that many of the articles are written or co-authored by new scholars, signaling an encouraging trend in academic work that has social justice at its core. I thank Barbara Brickman, the authors, and the reviewers for their history-making contributions to the radical act of dislodging girlhood.
Gabriel Josipovici first contributed to European Judaism during its third year of publication in the Summer 1968 issue. In his role as Managing Editor, Rabbi Michael Goulston z’l sought to use the journal to provide, among other things, a place for outreach and dialogue between those who represented the religious leadership of the Jewish people, in this case rabbis of his own generation who belonged to ‘progressive’ movements in the UK, and Jewish ‘intellectuals’ perceived as being alienated from, indifferent to or somewhat marginal within their own Jewish tradition. Thus, the same issue includes the proceedings of a symposium on ‘Judaism and Marxism: The First European Dialogue’.
This special issue of the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology is entitled ‘Experiencing Anticipation’, guest edited by Devin Flaherty and Christopher Stephan. The collection proceeds from an assumption that although contemporary anthropology is enriched by many studies of temporality, hope and the future, the discipline lacks a sufficient engagement with the difficult object of ‘anticipation’.
Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham
We write this in early February 2019, as the parties in the upcoming Israeli elections (due to take place on 9 April) are still sorting themselves out before the deadline for submission of party lists. Social media and ordinary conversations are full of speculations, such as “will Benny and Bogie run with Yair, and will Gabi join them?” and “will Orly, Tami, Yvet, or even Avi fail to make the threshold?” Of course, the ultimate question is, “will Benny topple Bibi?”