Congratulations are in order for CSSH’s Editorial Committee Member, Paolo Squatriti, who was selected to receive a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work on the impact on plant communities of such deeply human activities as barbarian invasions, state formation, and conversion to Christianity. Read more.
In 1995, Sherry Ortner published an essay in CSSH that continues to attract readers today. “Resistance and the Problem of Ethnographic Refusal” (37/1: 173-193), explored a trend, emergent at the time, in which resistance-oriented scholars were abandoning fine-grained accounts of local, subaltern worlds for critical analysis of external, impinging powers: the empire, the state, the global economy. The outcome, Ortner claimed, was superficial work inadequate to its own political ambitions. In the following exchange with Andrew Shryock, Ortner discusses the positions she took in this essay, giving us a sense of where her ideas came from and how they have changed during two decades of subsequent scholarship.
Thing theories, object-human recursion, and materiality already seem familiar and domesticated. All to the good, as it’s often not until the fickle winds of theoretical fashion shift that the most serious work can begin. We are still just scratching the surface in discerning and understanding the agencies or other capacities of things, and their limits—whether theorizing them, understanding their implications from different disciplinary perspectives, or documenting their configurations in the world. Many of this issue’s essays undertake the reckoning of things and the challenges they pose of value, risk, calculation, and commensurability. None of the essays are predictable, none follow well-worn paths.
CSSH would like to extend belated but nonetheless heartfelt congratulations to Jessica M. Marglin (CSSH 59-4, “Written and Oral in Islamic Law: Documentary Evidence and Non-Muslims in Moroccan Shari‘a Courts“) for winning the Baron Book prize for 2016 for her book, Across Legal Lines: Jews and Muslims in Modern Morocco (Yale University Press). Congratulations to Tarak…