Atelier: Ethnographic Inquiry in the Twenty-First Century

by Kevin Lewis O’Neill, series editor

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Art Studio” by Elmira College is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Atelier is a new book series in anthropology designed to take a ground-up approach to the acquisition and publication of new ethnographic works. The aim is to set the conditions for collaboration at each stage of a book’s development, from the earliest draft through publication, providing not just meaningful feedback but also constructive engagement from peers and publishers. Rather than considering only those manuscripts in their finished state, this series sets out to curate a cohort of scholars committed to the idea that ethnographic writing is itself a form of intellectual work.

An Atelier book will set itself apart in at least two ways. The first is by addressing the problems and possibilities of ethnographic inquiry in the twenty-first century. These will include the matter of evidence, conceptual reach, and thematic urgency, as well as narrative voice and analytical innovation. The second is by self-consciously constructing a sociality of sustained, critical reflection. The aim of this series is to generate a group of scholars from all career stages working together towards the completion of each author’s respective book project. To this end, following a call for proposals, three to five authors will be selected to attend a one-day workshop held at the annual conference for the American Anthropological Association. There authors will have an opportunity to develop their book manuscripts in conversation with fellow participants, series editors, press editors and past series authors. A combination of early and advanced drafts will be exchanged, considered, and discussed. Rigorous engagement shall be paramount.

Atelier is proud to announce it’s 2016 finalists. These four authors were selected from over 50 submissions,  and will have the opportunity to workshop their manuscripts at the AAA in  Minneapolis this coming November:

  • Jacob Doherty (Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Wesleyan University) “Waste Worlds” is based on fieldwork in and around Kampala, Uganda’s diverse waste streams. It details how disposability is produced in the name of a clean city and asks how lives that are cast as disposable are, nonetheless, lived.
  • Jatin Dua (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) “A Sea of Protection” examines maritime piracy in the Western Indian Ocean within frameworks of protection, risk and regulation by moving between the worlds of coastal communities in northern Somalia, maritime insurance adjustors in London, and the global shipping industry.
  • Anthony W. Fontes (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison) “Mortal Doubt” crisscrosses the blurred boundary between world and underworld to trace the maras’ (transnational gangs) evolution in Central America and the tangled skein weaving them into collective nightmares about urban violence and suffering across the region.
  • Kathryn Mariner (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of
    Rochester) “Contingent Kinship,” based on ethnographic fieldwork at a Chicago adoption agency, charts entrenched yet precarious institutional structures and entangled ideologies of kinship, race, and class to suggest that adoption has powerful implications for the question of who can have a future in the twenty-first century United States, and who cannot.