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“Containers, Carriers, Vehicles”

Three Views of Mobility from Africa

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Jeroen Cuvelier and Katrien Pype


This introduction launches the new portfolio of articles on African mobilities and situates the three articles of this special section within the portfolio’s approach. This could be summarized in three key objectives. First, it seeks to highlight the inadequacy of enthusing in Africa simply as a venue where the itineraries of things and people from outside take place. Second, African mobilities is a way to signal the mobilities of Africans and things “African” in the world. Third, African mobilities is a theoretical standpoint. It serves as a critique of Western notions of mobility that have been universalized, built on nostalgia about what one, following Western ethnocentric assumptions, readily concludes are the technological and scientific wonders.

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The Ontological Turn

Taking Different Worlds Seriously

Andrew Pickering

, and will be, according to ANT. Non-modern ontologies (in the plural) typically recognize an ANT-style entanglement of the human and the non-human (while dressing it up in all sorts of ways). We moderns are equally entangled, but processes of

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The anthropology of human-environment relations

Materialism with and without Marxism

Penny McCall Howard

, intransitive process. However, the deficiency of Marx and Engels, as he sees it, is in not being able to “close the gap between the human and the nonhuman worlds” (2005: 502). Ingold’s 1986 works and his essays reprinted in 2000 do address the question of

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Lest We Forget (Matter)

Posthumanism, Memory, and Exclusion

Matthew Howard

than it deserves and she considers the obscuring of differential boundaries,—between the human and the nonhuman—to be an integral basis for challenging liberalism and the notion of a world “composed of individuals with separately attributable properties

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Teachings of Tara

Sacred Place and Human Wellbeing in the Shimla Hills

Jonathan Miles-Watson

destroys the rigid (and largely unhelpful) boundaries of formal religious categories, replacing them with a series of complex relationships between the human and the non-human that are essential for a community’s wellbeing. Policy-makers and town planners

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Frauke Mennes, John P. Hayes, David Kloos, Martha Lagace, Morten Koch Andersen, Somdeep Sen, Matthew Porges and Sa’ed Atshan

different way. Along the way, the book destabilizes a range of well-established dichotomies like the rational and the supernatural, the erotic and the divine, the human and the nonhuman, and the aspects of the state pertaining to contract (mitra) and force