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Ethnographies of Naturalism

Matei Candea and Lys Alcayna-Stevens

'Naturalism' is invoked with increasing frequency by anthropologists as a distinctively Western ontology which posits a shared unitary nature, upon which are overlain multiple 'cultures', 'perspectives', or 'worldviews'. But where, if at all, is this ontology to be found? Anthropologists working outside Europe and America have in various ways been urging colleagues to challenge 'our' naturalism in order to be able to take seriously alternative ethnographic realities. In the meantime, anthropologists and STS scholars who study European or American settings ethnographically have increasingly been arguing that 'we' were never (quite) naturalist to begin with. This double move shores 'naturalism' up as a conceptual object, but renders it ethnographically elusive, a perpetually receding horizon invoked in accounts of something else. This introduction explores this paradox and presents the subsequent articles' various experiments with what might seem an impossible task: the ethnography of naturalism itself.

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Oneness and ‘the church in Taiwan’

Anthropology Is Possible without Relations but Not without Things

Gareth Paul Breen

church’ as a thing, who understand themselves to be ‘inside’ it, and who I refer to collectively as ‘the church in Euro-America’ (CEA), and (b) those who are also concerned with ‘the church’ as a thing but see themselves as being ‘outside’ of it, whose

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Leshaba Lechaba

hundred years of coloniality/modernity. And if decolonial interventions are enacted in bad faith, they are doomed to failure because one cannot promote freedom through a project that denies freedom. Euro-American Modernity and Its Implications for

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Teaching National Identity and Alterity

Nineteenth Century American Primary School Geography Textbooks

Bahar Gürsel

farmlands—in the creation of civilization. By contrast, when presenting regions outside the Euro-American territory (Asia, Africa, and Latin America), Mitchell emphasizes, via his illustrations and the information he provides, the wild, untamed nature of

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The Angry Earth

Wellbeing, Place and Extractivism in the Amazon

Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti

what it means to ‘live well’, is a necessary reconceptualisation to enhance the utility of the concept in policy and practice. I make this case because the mainstream Euro-American version of wellbeing, with its associated views of humanity and nature

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'Everything is still before you'

The irony of youth discourse in Siberia

David G. Anderson

Russians often use slogans to triangulate themselves between state and society, and slogans about youth are no exception. This article conducts a cultural historical analysis of how the concept of 'youth' has been applied both to young people and to the idea of a nation in Siberia. The author argues that categories of youth in Russia, and in Siberia, are very different from their Euro-American cousins. Citing survey data, and material from historical and contemporary movements for self-determination, he argues that youth discourse is future-oriented, collectivist, and is often used in an ironic register in order to carry moral messages.

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Imperial Mobility

Circulation as History in East Asia under Empire

Kate McDonald

Histories of modern mobility often assume that modern forms of movement arrived in East Asia as part of a universal process of historical development. This article shows that the valorization of modern mobility in East Asia emerged out of the specific context of Euro-American imperial encroachment and Japanese imperial expansion. Through an examination of the tropes of opening and connecting, the article argues that the mobility of the modern can be understood as an “imperial” mobility in two senses: one, as a key component in European, American, and Japanese arguments for the legitimacy of empire; and two, as a global theory of history that constituted circulation as a measure of historical difference.

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Market Forces, Political Violence, and War

The End of Nation-States, the Rise of Ethnic and Global Sovereignties?

Caroline Ifeka

In the post–Cold War era, political violence associated with wars of gain is key to economic and political transformations across nation-states.1 Under the ‘Pax Americana’ multinational corporations interacting in ‘old boy’ networks of the global capitalist class control armaments, oil production, and cyberspace. Industrial and military multinationals as well as global financial institutions, are extending their decision-making structures while becoming more concentrated; 2 there is a “hyperconcentration of (unregulated) economic and military power” predominantly Euro-American (Virilio 1997: 99). Global militarization legitimized in discourses of ‘protecting freedom’ secures world oil and gas resources for Euro-American and Sinic industrial use, promotes corporate profits, and supports the post-2000 Pax Americana. The Pax’s ‘command and control’ system seeks to checkmate Muslim control of 60 percent of world crude oil supplies by destroying ‘rogue’ regimes and investing in multinational corporations exploiting oil, diamonds, coltan, and other (finite) industrial resources in non-Muslim controlled African states (Meacher 2003). Preparation for total war is economic war.

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Fancy Some Cobra?

Exploring Vietnamese Cuisine in Contemporary Culinary Travelogues

Jopi Nyman

This article focuses on the representation of Vietnam and its foods in contemporary travel narratives, with particular reference to two culinary travelogues, Anthony Bourdain’s bestselling book A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal (2001) and Keith Floyd’s travelogue/recipe book Far Flung Floyd (1994). What unites the two volumes is their protagonists’ attempts to map the space of the Other through culinary experiences. In these texts, both Floyd and Bourdain travel in Vietnamese settings to convey their culinary traditions to Euro-American audiences, occasionally foregrounding cultural differences in culinary practices and ways of eating to construct images of the Vietnamese Other, something that calls for urgent critical attention, not least because of the high popularity of these texts.

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Inalienable Worlds

Inter-species Relations, Perspectives and 'Doublethink' in a Catalonian Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Lys Alcayna-Stevens

This article draws on ethnographic research conducted in a chimpanzee sanctuary in Catalunya, and contributes to contemporary theoretical debates surrounding Viveiros de Castro's recent injunction for anthropologists to 'take seriously' the worlds of their ethnographic interlocutors. Taking seriously apparent contradictions in keepers' reflections on the care of chimpanzees, the concept of 'doublethink' is introduced as a heuristic in order to appreciate both their practices of boundary maintenance and the strong inter-species relationships which proliferate at the sanctuary. Anthropologies of Euro-American naturalism must be ready to appreciate both the apparently unbridgeable dualisms utilized and enacted by their interlocutors, and the simultaneous disappearance, dissolution and intermittent irrelevance of these dualisms in their interlocutors' encounters and reflections. The article concludes with a rethinking of the alienability/inalienability of others' worlds.