Making Kinship Bigger: Andrew Shryock in Conversation with Golfo Alexopoulos, Nadav Samin, David Henig, and Gísli Pálsson

One of the tall tales of modernity goes like this: as human societies become more complex — more industrial, urban, mass mediated, and public — the importance of kinship as an organizing principle decreases. The rule is invoked in multiple settings, often with a judgmental spin. Seldom does an identity narrative seem so self-evidently true and false at the same time. If we were to flip it, keeping its exaggerated feel but reversing the implications, the story might sound like this: claims about the diminishing significance of kinship (and its radically changing forms) have ethical weight because they are contested, very often inaccurate, and based on aspirations that are hard to realize in everyday life because ideas of relatedness are so important to us. Is this an improved version of the tall tale, or evidence that we need to tell a different kind of story altogether?


How does one do scholarship in dialogue with the dead? After reading Chris Moffat’s essay, “Politics and the Work of the Dead in Modern India,” we thought he might have good answers to that question. So we asked him. Read on for his intriguing response.

March 2018

Congratulations to CSSH authors Alireza Doostdar, Graham M. Jones, and Begüm Adalet on the publication of their new monographs.

Registers of Indigeneity

CSSH has a longstanding tradition of juxtaposing essays for comparative effect. Our readers enjoy this ritual, but we often wonder what our authors think of it. Under the Rubric gives CSSH authors a chance to respond directly to each other’s work, drawing additional insight and inspiration from their arguments. REGISTERS OF INDIGENEITY Uditi Sen, Developing Terra Nullius: Colonialism, Nationalism, and…

Authoritarianism and Trump

In his CSSH review essay, “On Authoritarianism,” Michael Meng investigates the history of authoritarianism and provides a comparative study of authoritarian regimes. In his reflections below, he turns his attention to the nature of current presidential politics in the United States. A number of historians have attempted to place Donald Trump’s presidency in historical perspective. Most…

January 2018

Congratulations to CSSH authors Keith Hart and Lara Deeb, and to CSSH editor Paul Christopher Johnson, on the publication of their new books.