UC Press is thrilled to be publishing a number of new groundbreaking books in Anthropology.
The United States of War
A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State
by David Vine
In The United States of War, David Vine traces this pattern of bloody conflict from Columbus’s 1494 arrival in Guantanamo Bay through the 250-year expansion of a global US empire. Drawing on historical and firsthand anthropological research in fourteen countries and territories, The United States of War demonstrates how US leaders across generations have locked the United States in a self-perpetuating system of permanent war by constructing the world’s largest-ever collection of foreign military bases—a global matrix that has made offensive interventionist wars more likely. Beyond exposing the profit-making desires, political interests, racism, and toxic masculinity underlying the country’s relationship to war and empire, The United States of War shows how the long history of U.S. military expansion shapes our daily lives, from today’s multi-trillion–dollar wars to the pervasiveness of violence and militarism in everyday U.S. life.
How a Mexican Village Built Its Own Cell Phone Network
by Roberto J. González
Anthropologist Roberto J. González paints a vivid and nuanced picture of life in a Oaxaca mountain village and the collective tribulation, triumph, and tragedy the community experienced in pursuit of getting connected. In doing so, this book captures the challenges and contradictions facing Mexico’s indigenous peoples today, as they struggle to wire themselves into the 21st century using mobile technologies, ingenuity, and sheer determination.
The Past and Future of Tea
by Sarah Besky
Pairing rich historical data with ethnographic research among agronomists, professional tea tasters and traders, and tea plantation workers, Sarah Besky shows how the meaning of quality has been subjected to nearly constant experimentation and debate throughout the history of the tea industry. Working across fields of political economy, science and technology studies, and sensory ethnography, Tasting Qualities argues for an approach to quality that sees it not as a final destination for economic, imperial, or post-imperial projects but as an opening for those projects.
Anthropologies of Revolution
Forging Time, People, and Worlds
by Igor Cherstich, Martin Holbraad, and Nico Tassi
A free open access ebook is available. Learn more at www.luminosoa.org.
What can anthropological thinking contribute to the study of revolutions? The first book-length attempt to develop an anthropological approach to revolutions, Anthropologies of Revolution proposes that revolutions should be seen as concerted attempts to radically reconstitute the worlds people inhabit. Viewing revolutions as all-embracing, world-creating projects, the authors ask readers to move beyond the idea of revolutions as acts of violent political rupture, and instead view them as processes of societal transformation that penetrate deeply into the fabric of people’s lives, unfolding and refolding the coordinates of human existence.
Cartographies of Youth Resistance
Hip-Hop, Punk, and Urban Autonomy in Mexico
by Maurice Rafael Magaña
In his exciting new book, based on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork, Maurice Magaña considers how urban and migrant youth in Oaxaca embrace subcultures from hip-hop to punk and adopt creative organizing practices to create meaningful channels of participation in local social and political life. In the process, young people remake urban space and construct new identities in ways that directly challenge elite visions of their city and essentialist notions of what it means to be indigenous in the contemporary era. Cartographies of Youth Resistance is essential reading for students and scholars interested in youth politics and culture in Mexico, social movements, urban studies, and migration.
The breathless pace of China’s economic reform has brought about deep ruptures in socioeconomic structures and people’s inner landscape. Faced with increasing market-driven competition and profound social changes, more and more middle-class urbanites are turning to Western-style psychological counseling to grapple with their mental distress. This book offers an in-depth ethnographic account of how an unfolding “inner revolution” is reconfiguring selfhood, psyche, family dynamics, sociality, and the mode of governing in post-socialist times. Li Zhang shows that anxiety—broadly construed in both medical and social terms—has become a powerful indicator for the general pulse of contemporary Chinese society.
A Party for Lazarus
Six Generations of Ancestral Devotion in a Cuban Town
by Todd Ramón Ochoa
A Party for Lazarus is the story of a Cuban family, six generations removed from slavery, struggling to honor its ancestors amid changing fortunes and a crumbling state. This intimate intergenerational account centers on an annual feast celebrating ancestors and orisás—the life-changing spirits at the heart of Black Atlantic religious life. Based on twenty years of fieldwork, Todd Ramón Ochoa’s masterful ethnography shows how orisá praise and everyday life have changed in revolutionary Cuba over two decades of economic hardship.
The Spirit Ambulance
Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand
by Scott Stonington
The Spirit Ambulance is a journey into decision-making at the end of life in Thailand, where families attempt to craft good deaths for their elders in the face of clashing ethical frameworks, from a rapidly developing universal medical system, to national and global human-rights politics, to contemporary movements in Buddhist metaphysics. Scott Stonington’s gripping ethnography documents how Thai families attempt to pay back a “debt of life” to their elders through intensive medical care, followed by a medically assisted rush from the hospital to home to ensure a spiritually advantageous last breath. The result is a powerful exploration of the nature of death and the complexities arising from the globalization of biomedical expertise and ethics around the world.
Fires of Gold
Law, Spirit, and Sacrificial Labor in Ghana
by Lauren Coyle Rosen
Fires of Gold is a powerful ethnography of the often shrouded cultural, legal, political, and spiritual forces governing the gold mining industry in Ghana, one of Africa’s most celebrated democracies. Lauren Coyle Rosen argues that significant sources of power have arisen outside of the formal legal system to police, adjudicate, and navigate conflict in this theater of violence, destruction, and rebirth. These authorities, or shadow sovereigns, include the transnational mining company, collectivized artisanal miners, civil society advocacy groups, and significant religious figures and spiritual forces from African, Islamic, and Christian traditions. Often more salient than official bodies of government, the shadow sovereigns reveal a reconstitution of sovereign power—one that, in many ways, is generated by hidden dimensions of the legal system.
The Unexpected Consequences of Permanent War Readiness
by Joshua O. Reno
In Military Waste, Joshua O. Reno offers a unique analysis of the costs of American war preparation through an examination of the lives and stories of American civilians confronted with what is left over and cast aside when a society is permanently ready for war. Using ethnographic and archival research, Reno demonstrates how obsolete military junk in its various incarnations affects people and places far from the battlegrounds that are ordinarily associated with warfare. Using a broad swath of examples—from excess planes, ships, and space debris that fall into civilian hands, to the dispossessed and polluted island territories once occupied by military bases, to the militarized masculinities of mass shooters—Military Waste reveals the unexpected and open-ended relationships that non-combatants on the home front form with a nation permanently ready for war.