January 2018

Congratulations are in order for Keith Hart (CSSH 49-2, 2007, “Marcel Mauss: In Pursuit of the Whole. A Review Essay“) who recently published a new edited volume, Money in a Human Economy. From Berghahn’s website:

A human economy puts people first in emergent world society. Money is a human universal and now takes the divisive form of capitalism. This book addresses how to think about money (from Aristotle to the daily news and the sexual economy of luxury goods); its contemporary evolution (banking the unbanked and remittances in the South, cross-border investment in China, the payments industry and the politics of bitcoin); and cases from 19th century India and Southern Africa to contemporary Haiti and Argentina. Money is one idea with diverse forms. As national monopoly currencies give way to regional and global federalism, money is a key to achieving economic democracy.

CSSH congratulates Lara Deeb (CSSH 52-2, 2008, “Exhibiting the ‘Just-Lived Past​’​: Hizbullah’s Nationalist Narratives in Transnational Political Context“) on her new edited volume, co-edited with Jessica Winegar, Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East.​ Stanford UP’s description of the book reads as follows:

U.S. involvement in the Middle East has brought the region into the media spotlight and made it a hot topic in American college classrooms. At the same time, anthropology—a discipline committed to on-the-ground research about everyday lives and social worlds—has increasingly been criticized as “useless” or “biased” by right-wing forces. What happens when the two concerns meet, when such accusations target the researchers and research of a region so central to U.S. military interests?
This book is the first academic study to shed critical light on the political and economic pressures that shape how U.S. scholars research and teach about the Middle East. Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar show how Middle East politics and U.S. gender and race hierarchies affect scholars across their careers—from the first decisions to conduct research in the tumultuous region, to ongoing politicized pressures from colleagues, students, and outside groups, to hurdles in sharing expertise with the public. They detail how academia, even within anthropology, an assumed “liberal” discipline, is infused with sexism, racism, Islamophobia, and Zionist obstruction of any criticism of the Israeli state. Anthropology’s Politics offers a complex portrait of how academic politics ultimately hinders the education of U.S. students and potentially limits the public’s access to critical knowledge about the Middle East.

CSSH author and co-editor Paul Christopher Johnson is the co-author of a forthcoming book, Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State. Here is Chicago University Press’s description of the book which will be released in March 2018:

Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State offers a New World rejoinder to the largely Europe-centered academic discourse on church and state. In contrast to what is often assumed, in the Americas the relationship between church and state has not been one of freedom or separation but one of unstable and adaptable collusion. Ekklesia sees in the settler states of North and South America alternative patterns of conjoined religious and political power, patterns resulting from the undertow of other gods, other peoples, and other claims to sovereignty. These local challenges have led to a continuously contested attempt to realize a church-minded state, a state-minded church, and the systems that develop in their concert. The shifting borders of their separation and the episodic conjoining of church and state took new forms in both theory and practice.

The first of a closely linked trio of essays is by Paul Johnson, and offers a new interpretation of the Brazilian community gathered at Canudos and its massacre in 1896–97, carried out as a joint churchstate mission and spectacle. In the second essay, Pamela Klassen argues that the colonial churchstate relationship of Canada came into being through local and national practices that emerged as Indigenous nations responded to and resisted becoming “possessions” of colonial British America. Finally, Winnifred Sullivan’s essay begins with reflection on the increased effort within the United States to ban Bibles and scriptural references from death penalty courtrooms and jury rooms; she follows with a consideration of the political theological pressure thereby placed on the jury that decides between life and death. Through these three inquiries, Ekklesia takes up the familiar topos of “church and state” in order to render it strange.