January 2022

CSSH is delighted to celebrate our own Geneviève Zubrzycki (“Nationalism, “Philosemitism,” and Symbolic Boundary-Making in Contemporary Poland” (CSSH 58-1, 2016)), recipient of the 2021 Bronislaw Malinowski Award! The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America bestowed the award in appreciation of her “widely recognized research contributions to the areas of national identity, collective memory and national mythology, and the contested place of religious symbols in the public sphere.” Congratulations!

CSSH congratulates Sarah Abel (“From Enslavement to Emancipation: Naming Practices in the Danish West Indies,” with George F. Tyson and Gisli Palsson (CSSH 61-2, 2019)) on the publication of her new manuscript, Permanent Markers: Race, Ancestry, and the Body after the Genome (University fo North Carolina Press, 2022). The publisher writes of the book,

Over the past twenty years, DNA ancestry testing has morphed from a niche market into a booming international industry that encourages members of the public to answer difficult questions about their identity by looking to the genome. At a time of intensified interest in issues of race and racism, the burgeoning influence of corporations like AncestryDNA and 23andMe has sparked debates about the commodification of identity, the antiracist potential of genetic science, and the promises and pitfalls of using DNA as a source of “objective” knowledge about the past.

This book engages these debates by looking at the ways genomic ancestry testing has been used in Brazil and the United States to address the histories and legacies of slavery, from personal genealogical projects to collective racial politics. Reckoning with the struggles of science versus capitalism, “race-blind” versus “race-positive” public policies, and identity fluidity versus embodied experiences of racism, Permanent Markers seeks to explain why societies that have broadly embraced the social construction of race continue to search for, and find, evidence that our bodies are indelibly marked by the past.

We are excited to share a recent book by two-time CSSH author Albert Schrauwers (“The “Benevolent” Colonies of Johannes van den Bosch: Continuities in the Administration of Poverty in the Netherlands and Indonesia” (CSSH 43-2, 2001) and ““Money bound you—money shall loose you”: Micro-Credit, Social Capital, and the Meaning of Money in Upper Canada” (CSSH 53-2, 2011)): Merchant Kings: Corporate Governmentality in the Dutch Colonial Empire, 1815-1871 (Berghahn Books 2021). The publisher describes the text thusly:

In the nineteenth century, the Netherlands and its colonial holdings in Java were the sites of dramatically increased industrialization. Led by a group of “merchant kings” who exemplified gentlemanly capitalism, this ambitious trading project transformed the small, economically moribund Netherlands into a global power. Merchant Kings offers a fascinating interdisciplinary exploration of this episode and reveals not only the distinctive nature of the Dutch state, but the surprising extent to which its nascent corporate innovations were rooted in early welfare initiatives. By placing colony and metropole into a single analytical frame, this book offers a bracing new approach to understanding the development of modern corporations.

Congratulations to Michael Lambek (“The Value of Coins in a Sakalava Polity: Money, Death, and Historicity in Mahajanga, Madagascar” (CSSH 43-4, 2001)) on the publication of his latest, Concepts and Persons (University of Toronto Press, 2021). The manuscript is described,

The Tanner Lectures are a collection of educational and scientific discussions relating to human values. Conducted by leaders in their fields, the lectures are presented at renowned institutions around the world, including the universities of Oxford, Harvard, and Yale. In January 2019, University of Toronto’s Michael Lambek, professor, former Canada Research Chair, and member of the Royal Society of Canada, delivered the Tanner Lecture at the University of Michigan’s Department of Philosophy on the topic of “Concepts and Persons.”

As well as tracing his career in social and cultural anthropology, Lambek’s Tanner Lecture spoke on the intersection of anthropology and philosophy as a means of articulating the moral basis of human action. Lambek’s lecture is a profound examination of the human condition, and is beautifully captured in this publication.

Concepts and Persons recounts the lecture as delivered during the prestigious event, the commentary of three distinguished respondents, and Lambek’s own response to that commentary. The book’s presentation of the lecture also includes a rich and layered set of notes that augment the lecture significantly and offer additional clarification and thought developed since the event.

The text features responses by Sherry Ortner (“Theory in Anthropology since the Sixties” (CSSH 26-1, 1984) and “Resistance and the Problem of Ethnographic Refusal” (CSSH 37-1, 1995)), Jonathan Lear, and Joel Robbins (“Secrecy and the Sense of an Ending: Narrative, Time, and Everyday Millenarianism in Papua New Guinea and in Christian Fundamentalism” (CSSH 43-3, 2001) and “Evangelical Conversion and the Transformation of the Self in Amazonia and Melanesia: Christianity and the Revival of Anthropological Comparison” (with Bambi B. Schieffelin and Aparecida Vilaça, CSSH 56-3, 2014)).

CSSH congratulates Stuart Earle Strange (““It’s your family that kills you”: Responsibility, Evidence, and Misfortune in the Making of Ndyuka History” (CSSH 60-3, 2018)) on the publication of his new book, Suspect Others: Spirit Mediums, Self-Knowledge, and Race in Multiethnic Suriname (University of Toronto Press, 2021). University of Toronto Press says of the text:

Suspect Others explores how ideas of self-knowledge and identity arise from a unique set of rituals in Suriname, a postcolonial Caribbean nation rife with racial and religious suspicion. Amid competition for belonging, political power, and control over natural resources, Surinamese Ndyuka Maroons and Hindus look to spirit mediums to understand the causes of their successes and sufferings and to know the hidden minds of relatives and rivals alike. But although mediumship promises knowledge of others, interactions between mediums and their devotees also fundamentally challenge what devotees know about themselves, thereby turning interpersonal suspicion into doubts about the self.

Through a rich ethnographic comparison of the different ways in which Ndyuka and Hindu spirit mediums and their devotees navigate suspicion, Suspect Others shows how present-day Caribbean peoples come to experience selves that defy concepts of personhood inflicted by the colonial past. Stuart Earle Strange investigates key questions about the nature of self-knowledge, religious revelation, and racial discourse in a hyper-diverse society. At a moment when exclusionary suspicions dominate global politics, Suspect Others elucidates self-identity as a social process that emerges from the paradoxical ways in which people must look to others to know themselves.

Finally, congratulations to Duncan Money (““A Fundamental Human Right”? Mixed-Race Marriage and the Meaning of Rights in the Postwar British Commonwealth” (CSSH 63-3, 2021, with Jon Piccini) on the publication of White Mineworkers on Zambia’s Copperbelt, 1926-1974 (Brill, 2022). The publishers write,

Life and work on the Zambian Copperbelt – a concentrated industrialised mining region along the border with DR Congo – has been a perennial subject for Africanist historians. In this book, Duncan Money for the first time focusses on the white mineworkers who monopolised skilled jobs on the mines from the 1920s to the 1960s and became one of the most affluent groups of workers on the planet. Money argues that this group was a highly mobile global workforce which constituted, and saw itself as, a racialised working class. For much of the twentieth century, this white working class moved between mining and industrial centres across and beyond the British Empire and their actions and forms of organisation were strongly influenced by their international connections and by their mobility. These transnational connections, and the white working-class militancy they produced, played a crucial role in shaping social categories of race and class on the Copperbelt and determining the evolution of a region which quickly became one of the world’s largest sources of copper.

An open-access version of the text is also available here.