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AJEC

Investigating European Cultures, Bridging Disciplines

Gabriela Kiliánová and Tatiana Podolinská

The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, initiated by German scholar Ina-Maria Greverus together with Christian Giordano in 1990, played a central role in the fundamental changes that the hitherto more or less nationally confined European ethnologies have undergone since then. The journal mediated the intensifying exchange between eastern and western Europe, while its attempt to cross boundaries in particular between an anthropology of Europe and European ethnology remains key.

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Representing the Sensory Home

Ethnographic Experience and Anthropological Hypermedia

Sarah Pink

In this article I draw from my research about gender, identity, and the home, to discuss the visual and the other senses in ethnographic experience and anthropological representation. First, I discuss how visual ethnographic research might appreciate the sensory nature of experience. Seeing the home as both the context and subject of field- work, I shall introduce the idea of the ‘sensory home’. This refers to the home as a domain composed of different sensory elements (smell, touch, taste, vision, sound) that is simultaneously understood and created through the sensory experience and manipulation of these elements. I then explore how such visual and sensory research might best be represented as text that is conversant with mainstream anthropology. I shall suggest that while film and writing have both tackled this theme, hypermedia offers new possibilities that might bridge the gap between written and visual anthropology.

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Stephanie Bunn

This article is an exploration of how the interdisciplinary relationship between art and anthropology can contribute to teaching anthropology in schools. The argument is made that through practical engagement with the environment - whether 'natural', social or built - one can develop important and complementary approaches to teaching and thinking about anthropology. Three specific areas of activity are examined: skill and practical work with materials, doing children's ethnographies and 'playing house'. The author draws upon her own experience of working both as an artist and an anthropologist.

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Canon Fire

Decolonizing the Curriculum

Andrew Sanchez

Despite sustained critical attention to the politics of knowledge, contemporary anthropology disproportionately engages with ideas produced by academics based in European and North American universities. The ‘decolonizing the curriculum’ movement speaks to core areas of anthropological interest while making a critical comment on the academic structures in which anthropologists produce their work. The articles in this collection interrogate the terms on which academic work engages with its own history, and ask how the production of knowledge relates to structures of race, gender and location. The collection considers the historical, political and institutional context of the ‘decolonizing the curriculum’ movement, the potential impact that the movement might make on education and research, and the major challenges facing it.

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Imagining globalization in anthropology

Diversity, equality, and the politics of knowledge

Thomas A. Reuter

Over the last century anthropological studies have served as a testimony to human cultural diversity, as well as highlighting the existential challenges we all share, but the discipline has failed to provide an undistorted mirror of this unity in diversity. Critics from postcolonial studies and within anthropology have argued that anthropological knowledge cannot be universal so long as representatives of only a few privileged nations participate in the process of its construction, and so long as there are significant power differentials among those who do participate. From the perspective of a performance theory of truth, there are two necessary conditions if we wish for anthropology to genuinely reflect the human condition. The first step is to improve global participation in the social production of anthropological knowledge by creating equality within the discipline. The second is to help create a more level playing field in the world at large by challenging abuses of power in contemporary societies. In this article I discuss recent efforts by international organizations in anthropology to satisfy some of these conditions.

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Speaking Back, Striking Back

Calls for Local Agency and Good Fieldwork in Development Encounters

Eugenie Reidy

This article explores local agency in development anthropology, a prominent form of applied anthropology that has encouraged refl ection on the practice of anthropology itself (Mosse 2013). Drawing on specifi c fieldwork experiences from time the author spent working for the United Nations and international NGOs in East Africa, it discusses several complexities and moral questions that arose. In particular, it focuses on the challenges for local perspectives to be represented, given the subjective interests in which development encounters are embedded. It also looks at instances where ‘speaking back’ does occur, and where it arguably becomes ‘striking back’. In light of this, the article discusses what can be mutually exchanged between development and anthropology, with a particular focus on the accommodation of local agency and participation, and the need for fieldwork approaches based on suffi cient time, trust and positionality.

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Wine Tourism in the Temecula Valley

Neoliberal Development Policies and Their Contradictions

Kevin A. Yelvington, Jason L. Simms and Elizabeth Murray

Wine tourism is a growing phenomenon, with tourists enjoying not only wine but a rural lifestyle that is associated with winegrowing areas and the elusive essence of terroir. The Temecula Valley in southern California, a small wine-producing region and wine tourism destination, is experiencing state-led plans for a vast expansion of production and tourism capacity. This article traces the challenges inherent in this development process, and questions the sustainability of such plans regarding the very environment the wine tourists seek out, especially regarding the availability of natural resources, mainly water, needed to fulfil these plans. The article concludes with a call for an applied anthropology of policy that is centred on the articulations of the state and neoliberal capitalism.

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Reflections on Fieldwork in Yemen

The Genealogy of a Diary in Response to Rabinow's Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco

Daniel Martin Varisco

In preparation for writing an ethnographic monograph on fieldwork in Yemen, I compare and contrast my field diary, written in 1978–9, with Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco (1977). The underlying question is what post-fieldwork reflections reflect meaningfully about the immediacy of ethnographic fieldwork? I criticise the reflexivist trope of privileging ‘writing culture’ over the significance of ‘being there’ in the field. Point by point, I examine the implications of graduate training in anthropology, culture shock, health problems, language skills, the unreflective male voice, visual ethnography and the rhetoric of narrative writing.

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Shahla Haeri, Sophie Accolas and Babak Rezvani

PUBLICATIONS

Nadjmabadi, Shahnaz R. (ed.) (2009), Conceptualizing Iranian Anthropology: Past and Present Perspectives (Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books). viii + 278 pp. ISBN 978-1-84545-626-9.

FILMS

Kamal, Mariam Nabil (2009), Le Bruit des pas, Afghanistan, vidéo couleur, 24 minutes, Ateliers Varan, avec le soutien des Service culturel de l’Ambassade de France, du Centre culturel français, du Goethe Institut et la Direction des Relations Internationales d’Arte France, en partenariat avec Afghan films, la Faculté des Beaux Arts, Kabul University, Radio Television Afghanistan, the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society.

CONFERENCES

‘Central Eurasia: Islam, Culture and Conflict’, May 2010, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

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The Return of the Animal

Posthumanism, Indigeneity, and Anthropology

Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

The vectors by which the question of the animal has confronted the discipline of anthropology are both diverse—from paleoarchaeological fascination with the transition from ape to man to sociocultural accounts of human-animal conflict—and fraught insofar as they tend to loop back into one another. For instance, while posthumanism is intellectually novel, to take its line of critique seriously is to recognize that the science of man has depended on the philosophical animal from the start. A still tighter loop could be drawn around Lévi-Strauss's foundational interest in animal symbolism and the Amazonian ontologies undergirding Latour's amodern philosophy. Three related interdependencies pull hard on these loops: 1) philosophy and anthropology; 2) the human and the animal; 3) modernity and indigeneity. This last interdependency is notably undertheorized in the present efflorescence of human-animal scholarship. This article attends to some of the consequences of modernity/indigeneity's clandestine operations in the literature.