December 2021

We are delighted to continue our celebration of Amy Chazkel, who’s CSSH article,  “Toward a History of Rights in the City at Night: Making and Breaking the Nightly Curfew in 19th-Century Rio de Janeiro” (62-1, 2020) was recently awarded the Berkshire Conference of Women Historian’s Article Prize in the category of “any field of history other than the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality.” The Berkshire Article Award Committee writes of her essay:

Amy Chazkel’s work uses temporality as a lens to explore the historical experience of Rio’s residents in the nineteenth century.  Night criminalized activities for certain inhabitants–slaves or people who could be taken for slaves, women, foreigners–that were perfectly legal during the daytime.   Her creative approach gave a literary flair to the piece, and the committee were particularly impressed with the way her tools could be used by other scholars.

She refers to her sources, police notebooks, as “glimpses through a tiny keyhole at nocturnal public culture before the era of Rio’s famed nightlife, before there was supposed to be any.” Scholars teasing out what existed where it wasn’t “supposed to” is a significant way of reading “across the archival grain”, and Chazkel shows how we can extrapolate a broader understanding of the field. In her case, this is an urban environment evolving alongside, and through, the development of modern policing, transport and technology.

Chazkel’s article was also recognized by CSSH this year, with a 2021 Jack Goody Award Honorable Mention.

CSSH also congratulates Niko Besnier (“Rethinking Masculinity in the Neoliberal Order: Cameroonian Footballers, Fijian Rugby Players, and Senegalese Wrestlers” (with Daniel Guinness, Mark Hand, and Uroš Kovač, CSSH 60-4, 2018)) on the publication of his new textbook, Social and Cultural Anthropology for the 21st Century: Connected Worlds, with Marzia Balzani (Routledge, 2022). The text is described thusly:

Social and Cultural Anthropology for the 21st Century: Connected Worlds is a lively, accessible, and wide-ranging introduction to socio-cultural anthropology for undergraduate students. It draws on a wealth of ethnographic examples to showcase how anthropological fieldwork and analysis can help us understand the contemporary world in all its diversity and complexity.

The book is addressed to a twenty-first-century readership of students who are encountering social and cultural anthropology for the first time. It provides an overview of the key debates and methods that have historically defined the discipline and of the approaches and questions that shape it today. In addition to classic research areas such as kinship, exchange, and religion, topics that are pressing concerns for our times are covered, such as climate change, economic crisis, social media, refugees, sexuality, and race. Foregrounding ethnographic stories from all over the world to illustrate global connections and their effects on local lives, the book combines a focus on history with urgent present-day social issues. It will equip students with the analytical tools that they need to negotiate a world characterized by unprecedented cross-cultural contact, ever-changing communicative technologies and new forms of uncertainty.

The book is an essential resource for introductory courses in social and cultural anthropology and as a refresher for more advanced students.

Congratulations as well to Michael Christopher Low, whose book Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj (Columbia University Press, 2020) has just been awarded the 2021 Albert Hourani Book Award by the Middle East Studies Association! Low explored these topics in his 2015 CSSH essay, “Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State: The Technopolitics of Pilgrimage and Potable Water in the Hijaz” (57-4). The Middle East Studies Association writes of the book:

Michael Christopher Low’s study of late nineteenth-century Mecca is a fascinating account of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca amid the transformations wrought by Ottoman modernity and European colonial ambitions. Drawing on a wide range of archives in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, Low delves into bureaucratic practices, surveillance, disease control, and global transportation in rich and engaging detail. The book manages to be both a local history of Mecca and a global history that foregrounds non-Western institutions and actors. This is a page-turner that weaves together several fields of modern history, particularly practices of state formation and the interaction between Western and non-Western forms of empire.

We are also excited to share a new book series entitled Mediterranean Counterpoints (Malta University Press and Berghahn Publishers). The series will be edited by CSSH authors Jessica M. Marglin (“Written and Oral in Islamic Law: Documentary Evidence and Non-Muslims in Moroccan Shari‘a Courts” (59-4, 2017)) and Naor Ben-Yehoyada (“Transnational Political Cosmology: A Central Mediterranean Example” (56-4, 2014)).