Latin American Studies

Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer on Writing a Duograph

howeboyerCymene Howe and Dominic Boyer are the authors of Wind and Power in the Anthropocene, a duograph in two volumes: Ecologics and Energopolitics. In this guest post, they explain just what a duograph is and how they came to write one.

 Winds of Desire

Few people realize that the wind that cuts across southern Mexico is among the best in the world for generating immense quantities of renewable electricity. Nor is it common knowledge that Oaxaca’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec has become home to the densest concentration of wind parks anywhere in the world. In our research, we wanted to understand the powers of that wind—its ability to shape political debates, to twist the direction of species, to designate economic prospects, to carve out new relations between indigenous peoples, to overturn semitrucks and to condition the future. In the Isthmus there is no escaping the wind. But, there are divergent ideas about how to best capture it, mold its kinetic intensities, and harness its potential. There are also real questions as to whether the wind, in itself, can or should be captured at all.

Our anthropological research set out to address a central question of Anthropocenic times: How will low-carbon energy transition take place and what occurs in those transitions? Who is allowed to set the agenda and who—human and otherwise—is affected? And finally, what are the political, social and elemental forces that shape the imaginaries for low-carbon energy futures?  Over the course of sixteen months of fieldwork, we spoke with representatives of every group of “stakeholders” in wind development in Mexico: community members and corporate executives; federal, state, and local government officials and NGO staff; industry lobbyists and anti-wind power activists; conservationists and media professionals; indigenous rights advocates, bankers, and federal judges.

We arrived at and left fieldwork as committed advocates for low-carbon energy transition. But our experiences in Mexico taught us that renewable energy can be installed in ways that do little to challenge the extractive logics that have undergirded petromodernity. Renewable energy matters, but it matters how it is brought into being and what forms of consultation and cooperation are used. We came to see that “wind power” has no singular form or meaning. Everywhere it was a different ensemble of force, matter, and desire—inherently multiple and turbulent.

To (try to) capture wind and power: a duograph

The traditional academic monograph is familiar to many readers. With Wind and Power in the Anthropocene we wanted to try something different. We call it a “duograph”: two single-authored volumes that draw from a shared research project and archive. Each volume of the duograph details different case studies and follows distinct lines of inquiry and theoretical travel. Collaborative research and writing are nothing new in anthropology and while coauthoring offers many opportunities to learn through dialogue, it also involves compromises and ultimately, a synthetic voice and direction. We wanted to experiment with a new form. Our two volumes of the duograph speak in parallel, but not always in unison.

Ecologics Ecologics, by Cymene Howe, follows the aspirations of a giant wind park destined for the isthmus, one that would have been the largest of its kind in all of Latin America, promising immense reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities for local development. Between the distinct imaginaries of environmental care and environmental harm the deeply relational qualities of energy and environment come into focus, illustrating that the dynamics of energy transition cannot be captured without understanding how human aspirations for energy articulate with or against nonhuman beings, technomaterial objects, and the geophysical forces that are at the center of wind power.

EnergopoliticsEnergopolitics, by Dominic Boyer, engages the case of Mexican wind power to develop an anthropological theory of political power for use in the Anthropocene anchored by discussions of “capital,” “biopower,” and Dominic’s own neologism, “energopower.” At the same time, the volume emphasizes the analytic limitations of these conceptual minima when confronted with the epistemic maxima of a situation of anthropological field research on political power. Those maxima not only exceed the explanatory potential of any given conceptual framework, they also resolutely demand the supplementary analytic work of history and ethnography. Energopolitics is thus an urgent invitation for Anthropocene political theory to un-make and remake itself through the process of fieldwork and ethnographic reflection.

We invite our readers to read these volumes synchronously, or not—to think of them as a Choose-your-own-Adventure trip, or to follow a character, human or otherwise. You are invited to riddle through the knots of aeolian politics or become absorbed in the meaning of trucks. Or, to perhaps pause for a minute to see the istmeño sky: filled with birds by day, bats by night and turbines for the foreseeable future.

Cymene Howe is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and author of Intimate Activism: The Struggle for Sexual Rights in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua. Dominic Boyer is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University, Founding Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS), and author of The Life Informatic: Newsmaking in the Digital Era. They also co-host a weekly podcast, Cultures of Energy, featuring discussions on innovative scholarship, activism and art making around issues of environment and energy.

New Books in July

Our Spring 2019 season may be drawing to a close, but we’ve got some exciting new titles this month to help keep your summer reading in full swing. Check out our new releases for July!

HoweBoyerTogetherCymene Howe and Dominic Boyer have written a duograph subtitled “Wind and Power in the Anthropocene.” In Ecologics, Cymene Howe traces the complex relationships between humans, nonhuman beings and objects, and geophysical forces that shaped the Mareña Renovables project in Oaxaca, Mexico, which had it been completed, would have been Latin America’s largest wind power installation. In Energopolitics, Dominic Boyer examines the politics of wind power and how it is shaped by myriad factors—from the legacies of settler colonialism and indigenous resistance to state bureaucracy and corporate investment—while outlining the fundamental impact of energy and fuel on political power. The two books can be read together or separately and are available for purchase as a set at a special price.

978-1-4780-0485-1_pr

In Blood Work, Janet Carsten traces the multiple meanings of blood as it moves from donors to labs, hospitals, and patients in Penang, Malaysia, showing how those meanings provide a gateway to understanding the social, political, and cultural dynamics of modern life.

Leah Zani considers how the people and landscape of Laos have been shaped and haunted by the physical remains of unexploded ordnance from the CIA’s Secret War in Bomb Children.

Florence Bernault retells the colonial and postcolonial history of present-day Gabon from the late nineteenth century to the present in Colonial Transactions, showing how colonialism shaped French and Gabonese obsessions about fetish, witchcraft, and organ trafficking for ritual murders.

978-1-4780-0467-7_prIn The Uncaring, Intricate Worldedited by Todd Meyers, anthropologist Pamela Reynolds shares her fieldwork diary from her time spent in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi valley during the 1980s, in which she recounts the difficulties, pleasures, and contradictions of studying the daily lives of the Tonga people three decades after their forced displacement.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

 

 

Popular Protests in Venezuela

This spring, we’re excited to spotlight the Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), a field-defining journal of Latin American history. This week, HAHR offers a thematic reading list curated by Scott Doebler. All articles are freely available online through the end of August.

Venezuela’s ongoing political drama, popular protests, sustained humanitarian crisis, and growing diaspora have captured the world’s attention. The starkness of the current crisis contrasts markedly with what was until recently a wealthy economy buoyed by colossal oil reserves.

The current political convulsions are far from singular in Venezuela’s history; HAHR has published numerous articles about popular protests throughout Latin America, including many in Venezuela’s history. Presented here are four such articles that explore different outpourings of popular protest in Latin America against the powers that be—some violent, some peaceful, and some a complicated mixture.

The authors investigate the individual conditions that provoked the contestations, often placing them within larger national and global contexts. The articles not only showcase varied local situations spaced over centuries, thus transcending the “colonial” and “modern” divide, but they also represent changing interpretations of popular protests themselves and their role in society.

Civil Disorders and Popular Protests in Late Colonial New Granada” by Anthony McFarlane (1984)
Written as the social history turn was in full swing, McFarlane investigates who participated in “civil disorders” and why by focusing on lesser-known (at the time) challenges to aspects of colonial rule.

Indian Rebellion and Bourbon Reform in New Granada: Riots in Pasto, 1780–1800” by Rebecca Earle (1993)
This study of two rebellions at the turn of the nineteenth century looks at the weakness of state control over distant populations and their continued expectation of autonomy.

Public Land Settlement, Privatization, and Peasant Protest in Duaca, Venezuela, 1870–1936” by Doug Yarrington (1994)
Focusing on understudied Duaca, Venezuela, Yarrington follows changing land ownership patterns and its consequences.

‘A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978–1983” by Alejandro Velasco (2010)
This article examines how popular sectors held democracy accountable for representing their interests by hijacking public property.

For additional background reading on Venezuela, check out some of our books on its history and politics. We Created Chávez by George Ciccariello-Maher tells the history of Venezuelan politics from below, explaining how militants, students, women, Afro-indigeneous peoples, and the working-class brought about Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and, ultimately, brought Hugo Chávez to power. In Channeling the State, Naomi Schiller explores how community television in Venezuela created openings for the urban poor to embrace the state as a collective process with the potential for creating positive social change. Looking beyond Hugo Chávez and the national government, contributors to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy, edited by David Smilde and Daniel Hellinger, examine forms of democracy involving ordinary Venezuelans: in communal councils, cultural activities, blogs, community media, and other forums. The Enduring Legacy by Miguel Tinker Salas is a history of the oil industry’s rise in Venezuela focused especially on the experiences and perceptions of industry employees, both American and Venezuelan.

We also have some titles on Venezuela’s culture. Marcia Ochoa’s Queen for a Day considers how femininities are produced, performed, and consumed on the runways of the Miss Venezuela contest and on the well-traveled Caracas avenue where transgender women (transformistas) project themselves into the urban imaginary. Sujatha Fernandes’s Who Can Stop the Drums is a vivid ethnography of social movements in the barrios, or poor shantytowns, of Caracas, Venezuela. And The Fernando Coronil Reader is a posthumous collection of the Venezuelan anthropologist’s most important work that highlights his deep concern with the global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach.

Top image: A protester wearing an Anonymous mask and lifting a Venezuelan flag, March 16, 2014. Photo by Jamez42. Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. (Find the original here.)

New Books in June

Looking for some compelling reads this summer? Check out these new titles coming out in June!

Presenting ethnographic case studies from across the globe, the contributors to Anthropos and the Material, edited by Penny Harvey, Christian Krohn-Hansen and Knut G. Nustad, question and complicate long-held understandings of the divide between humans and things by examining encounters between the human and the nonhuman in numerous social, cultural, technological, and geographical contexts.

In Anti-Japan Leo T. S. Ching traces the complex dynamics that shape persisting negative attitudes toward Japan throughout East Asia, showing how anti-Japanism stems from the failed efforts at decolonization and reconciliation, the U.S. military presence, and shifting geopolitical and economic conditions in the region.

The contributors to Captivating Technology, edited by Ruha Benjamin, examine how carceral technologies such as electronic ankle monitors and predictive-policing algorithms are being deployed to classify and coerce specific populations and whether these innovations can be appropriated and reimagined for more liberatory ends.

Focusing on Costa Rica and Brazil, Andrea Ballestero’s A Future History of Water examines the legal, political, economic, and bureaucratic history of water in the context of the efforts to classify it as a human right, showing how seemingly small scale devices such as formulas and lists play large role in determining water’s status.

In Making the World Global, Isaac A. Komola examines how the relationships between universities, the American state, philanthropic organizations, and international financial institutions inform the academic understanding of the world as global in ways that frame higher education as a commodity, private good, and source of human capital.

Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due in Black Madness :: Mad Blackness to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive.

In Entre Nous, Grant Farred examines the careers of international soccer stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, along with his own experience playing for an amateur township team in apartheid South Africa, to theorize the relationship between sports and the intertwined experiences of relation, separation, and belonging.

In The Fixer, Charles Piot follows Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a visa broker in the West African nation of Togo as he helps his clients apply for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery program. The lively stories shed light on current immigration debates.

In The African Roots of Marijuana, an authoritative history of cannabis in Africa, Chris S. Duvall challenges what readers thought they knew about cannabis by correcting widespread myths, outlining its relationship to slavery and colonialism, and highlighting Africa’s centrality to knowledge about and the consumption of one of the world’s most ubiquitous plants.

In Experiments with Empire, Justin Izzo examines how twentieth-century writers, artists, and anthropologists from France, West Africa, and the Caribbean experimented with ethnography and fiction in order to explore new ways of making sense of the complicated legacy of imperialism and to imagine new democratic futures.

Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey traces how indigenous and postcolonial peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands grapple with the enormity of colonialism and anthropogenic climate change through art, poetry, and literature by using allegorical narratives in Allegories of the Anthropocene.

The Romare Bearden Reader, edited by Robert G. O’Meally, brings together a collection of newly written essays and canonical writings by novelists, poets, historians, critics, and playwrights, as well as Bearden’s most important writing, making it an indispensable volume on one of the giants of twentieth-century American art.

Terry Adkins: Infinity is Less Than One, which we are distributing for ICA Miami, accompanies the first institutional posthumous exhibition of the sculptural work of Terry Adkins (1953–2014), one of the great conceptual artists of the twenty-first century renowned for his pioneering work across numerous mediums. The catalogue is edited by Gean Moreno and Alex Gartenfeld.

The contributors to Racism Postrace, edited by Roopali Mukherjee, Sarah Banet-Weiser, and Herman Gray, theorize and examine the persistent concept of post-race in examples ranging from Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” to public policy debates, showing how proclamations of a post-racial society can normalize modes of racism and obscure structural antiblackness.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

LGBTQ+ and Latin American History

Día_de_la_Visibiliad_Lésbica_Santa_Fe-_Argentina_-_Tamara_Zentner-7This spring, we’re excited to spotlight the Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), a field-defining journal of Latin American history.

We’re pleased to make “LGBTQ+ and Latin American History,” a curated collection of HAHR articles, freely available through the end of August:

Also check out “Trans Studies en las Américas,” a new issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (volume 6, issue 2), which offers a hemispheric perspective on trans and travesti studies. Read the introduction, freely available, or browse the contents.

Image: Día de la Visibilidad Lésbica Santa Fe, Argentina, 2018. Photo by Tamara Zentner. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Trans Studies en las Américas

coverimageIn honor of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, we’re proud to spotlight “Trans Studies en las Américas,” the newest issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.

Trans and travesti studies take many forms throughout the Americas: as scholarly work, interventions into state practices, activist actions, and eruptions of creative energies. These approaches are regionally inflected by flows of people, ideas, technologies, and resources.

Trans Studies en las Américas,” edited by Claudia Sofía Garriga-López, Denilson Lopes, Cole Rizki, and Juana María Rodríguez, offers a hemispheric perspective on trans and travesti issues. Contributors explore how shifts in cultural epistemologies, aesthetics, geographies, and languages enliven theorizations of politics, subjectivity, and embodiment.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, freely available.

Top Ten Most Read Articles From HAHR

HAHR_picThis spring, we’re excited to spotlight the Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), a field-defining journal of Latin American history.

HAHR publishes vital work across thematic, chronological, regional, and methodological specializations, with articles featuring original, innovative research and path-breaking analysis.

Interested in reading more? Here are the top ten most frequently read articles from HAHR from the past year, freely available through August:

Want to keep up to date on the latest cutting-edge articles from HAHR? Sign up for email alerts when new issues are published.

Learn more about the journal in “Celebrating 100 Years of the Hispanic American Historical Review,” produced last year in honor of HAHR’s centennial:

Spotlight on the Hispanic American Historical Review

This spring, we’re excited to spotlight the Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), a field-defining journal of Latin American history.

991

Founded in 1918, HAHR pioneered the study of Latin American history and culture in the United States. In fact, HAHR‘s first issue published a letter from then-president Woodrow Wilson expressing his interest in the journal:

My dear Professor Chapman:

I learn with a great deal of interest of the plans for an Ibero-American Historical Review and beg that you will express to all those interested my very sincere approval of the project. It is a most interesting one and ought to lead to very important results both for scholarship and for the increase of cordial feeling throughout the Americas.

Cordially and sincerely yours,

Woodrow Wilson

984Today, HAHR publishes rigorous scholarship on every facet of Latin American history and culture. It is edited by Martha Few, Zachary Morgan, Matthew Restall, and Amara Solari.

“My dream for this journal … is to just continue the excellence that has already been established by the previous editors going back decades now,” said Solari.

“It has become the flagship journal of the field, and I think that’s one of the reasons why the field of Latin American history is so much more dynamic than many others,” said former coeditor Jocelyn Olcott.

HAHR covers a wide range of topics, including environmental history, science and medicine, drug history, reproduction, race, immigration, and many more. The journal’s website offers two thematic collections of articles: LGBTQ+ and Latin American History and The Environment and Modernity in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Latin America.

“It has been central now for a hundred years in helping establish the field and really point to the absolute best scholarship within Latin American history,” said Gisela Fosado, editor at Duke University Press and member of the HAHR Board of Editors. “It’s always going to be pushing the field, defining the field, bringing out a really wide range of voices.”

Want to keep up to date on the latest cutting-edge articles from HAHR? Sign up for email alerts when new issues are published. You can also browse the journal’s current contents here.

Learn more about the journal in “Celebrating 100 Years of the Hispanic American Historical Review,” produced last year in honor of HAHR’s centennial:

New Books in April

We’ve got great new reads in April in anthropology, religious studies, sociology, feminism and women’s studies, and much more.

978-1-4780-0390-8_prIn Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border.

In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia in the second half of the twentieth century, showing democracy to be a historically unstable and contentious practice.

978-1-4780-0387-8_pr

 

Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers in Mumbai—who are assumed to not exist—to live during a period of deindustrialization, showing in The Archive of Loss how mills and workers’ bodies constitute an archive of Mumbai’s history that challenge common thinking about the city’s past, present, and future.

Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century polar explorers, showing in The News at the Ends of the Earth how ship newspapers and other writing shows how explores wrestled with questions of time, space, and community while providing them with habits to survive the extreme polar climate.

978-1-4780-0309-0_pr

In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical conditions for the persistence of art’s autonomy from the realm of the commodity by showing how an artist’s commitment to form and by demanding interpretive attention elude the logic of capital.

In a revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

Exploring a wide range of sonic practices, from birdsong in the Marshall Islands to Zulu ululation, the contributors to Remapping Sound Studies, edited by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes, reorient the field of sound studies toward the global South in order to rethink and decolonize modes of understanding and listening to sound.

978-1-4780-0378-6_pr

In Dance for Me When I Die—first published in Argentina in 2004 and appearing here in English for the first time—Cristian Alarcón tells the story and legacy of seventeen year old Víctor Manuel Vital, aka Frente, who was killed by police in the slums of Buenos Aires.

The contributors to Spirit on the Move, edited by Judith Casselberry and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, examine Pentecostalism’s appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community, access to power, and way to challenge social inequalities.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

New Books in February

Got the winter blues? Cheer yourself up with one of the great new titles we have coming out in February.

978-1-4780-0300-7

Chicano and Chicana Artan anthology edited by Jennifer Gonzalez, C. Ondine Chavoya, Chon Noriega, and Terezita Romowhich, includes essays from artists, curators, and critics who provide an overview of the history and theory of Chicano/a art from the 1960s to the present, emphasizing the debates and vocabularies that have played key roles in its conceptualization.

Bloodflowers by W. Ian Bourland is the first book-length examination the photography of  Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989), whose art is a touchstone for cultural debates surrounding questions of gender and queerness, race and diaspora, aesthetics and politics, and the enduring legacy of slavery and colonialism.

Jeffrey Sconce’s The Technical Delusion traces the history and continuing proliferation of psychological delusions that center on suspicions that electronic media seek to control us from the Enlightenment to the present, showing how such delusions illuminate the historical and intrinsic relationship between electronics, power, modernity, and insanity. Read an excerpt from The Technical Delusion in Bookforum.

Thomas Grisaffi’s Coca Yes, Cocaine No traces the political ascent and transformation of the Movement toward Socialism (MAS) from an agricultural union of coca growers into Bolivia’s ruling party, showing how the realities of international politics hindered MAS leader Evo Morales from scaling up the party’s form of grassroots democracy to the national level.

978-1-4780-0181-2In Second World, Second Sex Kristen Ghodsee recuperates the lost history of feminist activism from the so-called Second World, showing how women from state socialist Bulgaria and socialist-leaning Zambia created networks and alliances that challenged American women’s leadership of the global women’s movement.

The contributors to Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthropocene, edited by Kregg Hetherington, chart the shifting conceptions of environment, infrastructure, and both human and nonhuman life in the face of widespread uncertainty about the planet’s future.

978-1-4780-0307-6.jpg

In Jugaad Time Amit S. Rai shows how urban South Asians employ low-cost technological workarounds and hacks known as jugaad to solve problems, navigate, and resist India’s neoliberal ecologies.

In Surrealism at Play Susan Laxton writes a new history of surrealism in which she traces the centrality of play to the movement and its ongoing legacy, showing how its emphasis on chance provided the means to refashion artistic practice and everyday experience.

Jinah Kim’s Postcolonial Grief explores Asian and Asian American texts from 1945 to the present that mourn the loss of those killed by U.S. empire building and militarism in the Pacific, showing how the refusal to heal from imperial violence may help generate a transformative antiracist and decolonial politics.

978-1-4780-0160-7

In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation David L. Eng and Shinhee Han draw on psychoanalytic case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore how first- and second-generation Asian American young adults deal with difficulties such as depression, suicide, and coming out within the larger social context of race, immigration, and sexuality.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for Subject Matters, our e-mail newsletter, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.