Revisiting Solnit: Mansplaining in the Kyriarchy

By Beth U In 2008, Rebecca Solnit published an article in the LA Times entitled “Men Explain Things to Me.” In it, Solnit describes a conversation she had with a stranger at a party.  During their brief chat, the man tells her about book that, in fact, Solnit herself wrote.  When she finally gets through to him that she, indeed, wrote the book, he is momentarily stunned, then continues to explain her own book to her.  Solnit writes:
Men explain thing...

Reflecting on Twenty Years of Sensuous Scholarship

By Beth & Laurian We are presenting a paper and co-chairing a panel at the upcoming American Anthropology Meetings to celebrate the twenty-year publication of Paul Stoller's Sensuous Scholarship.  Read below to see what we are up to! ________________ Panel Abstract Since its publication twenty years ago, Paul Stoller’s Sensuous Scholarship has informed not just what we write but how we write as ethnographers. In it, Sto...

Reading Stoller’s YaYa’s Story: On Mourning & Well-being

By Beth U Recently, I lost a close friend to cancer. She was forty-two years old when she died. Since her death, I have been reading Paul Stoller’s most recent book Yaya’s Story: The Quest for Well-Being in the World. This book and his prior one, The Power of the Between: An Anthropological Odyssey,are personal meditations on resilience in the long shadow of cancer. Not long after his mentor and teacher, the Songhay sorcerer Adamu Jenitongo, passed away from...

The Fantasy of Ethical Capitalism

laurian blog 2
By Laurian B. For many years, Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place was a staple text for my introductory course in cultural anthropology. A fast, and unsettling read for anyone who has traveled to the Caribbean with a beach vacation forefront on their minds, Kincaid peels the beauty of Antigua to deliver prescient critiques of the privatization-of-everything that continues to devour the few remaining public-enterprises in the world. Kincaid gut punches both natives and tour...

Marge Piercy, life as work and words

Phyllis Chesler and Marge Piercy in Cape Cod, Summer 1973.
By Beth U. I just put down poet/writer Marge Piercy's memoir Sleeping with Cats. In it, Piercy explains that she had no role models while coming of age in the 1950s. “Resistant to sex roles,” she “wanted something larger and deeper and darker” than the lives of women she knew (67).   So she became her own role model. She cast herself as “odd” and in search of “fringe types”—“others with writing ambitions, left politics—misfits and rebels and intellectuals” (89).   Ye...

See Now Then: Jamaica Kincaid’s Tidal Force

By Beth U. Reading Jamaica Kincaid is like immersion in a sea, not a lake, not a brook but a sea or an ocean—perhaps the Atlantic which bangs against Africa and also against islands in the West Indies. You stand on the shore. It takes a long time for her words to arrive, a sentence that starts somewhere beyond the horizon but ends with you. Her words catch you—off guard, despite the waiting—around the ankles and tug. So you walk in, you begin to swim, slowly at first: the wat...

Murals, Museums and the Mexican State

By Beth U My review of Mary Coffey's excellent book on revolutionary art in Mexico has been published in Visual Studies. Mary Coffey’s book is an evaluation of how, despite its assumed commitment to popular struggle, Mexican muralism became ‘official’ and in doing so helped to legitimize an authoritarian state. In three bulky chapters, Coffey examines murals in state funded and managed public museums: the Palace of Fine Arts, the National History Museum, and the National Anthr...