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2017 | Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): iv

A Note from the Editor

Michael Lambek, University of Toronto

Once again Hau brings you a full basket of fine goods. If there is a dominant theme
to this issue it is that of Haus own subtitle, namely ethnographic theory.
Our debate section, edited by Giovanni da Col, begins with a number of suc-
cinct positions on the nature or state of ethnography by master practitioners of
the discipline, given during an event held at the Centre for Ethnographic Theory
(SOAS, London) in Fall 2016, and titled Two or three things I love or hate about
ethnography. Borrowing from Marshall Sahlins (1999) jocular proposition that
by saying a lot of things about a hackneyed category (culture, ethnography) one
may end up getting two or three things right, the debate involved Rita Astuti, Signe
Howell, Daniel Miller and Tim Ingold, and was inspired by the acclaim received by
Ingolds (2014) HAU article Thats enough about ethnography. Was Ingold really
against ethnography per se? His intervention in this collection attempts a clarifica-
tion as does da Cols introduction, which adds further refinement and epistemo-
logical weight to the idea of ethnographic theory (da Col and Graeber 2011). To
the four main debates we have added two pieces by Maurice Bloch and Alpa Shah
on participant observation as both an odd method (because it entails a practical
and imaginative double-bind to embrace both an inside and an outside point of
view on its objects/subjects) and a revolutionary one.
Ethnography nowadays is shaped by the ethics review process and so it is fitting
to follow with a discussion by Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner, Bob Simpson, Elena
Martinez, and James McMurray on the situation in the UK.
We are very pleased to offer the texts of two lectures delivered in the past year
by anthropologists who have been very influential in the fields of temporality and
cognition respectively (among their other contributions). First, Jane Guyer pres-
ents her Frazer Lecture delivered in the fall of 2016 at Cambridge. This is an honor-
ary and honorable piece of anthropologys own tradition and Guyer, among other

 his work is licensed under the Creative Commons | Michael Lambek.

ISSN 2049-1115 (Online). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau7.1.001
Michael Lambek ii

things in her journey through matters of recuperation, reflects on the origins of the
Frazer Lecture itself and offers further insight on the effects of the First World War
on our discipline. The second, by Rita Astuti, was delivered as the Robert H. Layton
Lecture in the Department of Anthropology, at Durham in 2015. It is a magisterial
exemplification of ethnographic theory that depends both on extremely careful
ethnography and on carefully formulated questions. Whereas theory often elicits
obscure prose, Astuti is outstanding for the clarity with which she sets out and
takes the reader through her argument. Not coincidentally, she makes a major con-
tribution to the study of contradictions, a subject whose appearance in an earlier
issue of Hau (Berliner et al. 2016) has, to judge by the downloads, aroused a great
deal of interest.
Our special section, edited by Niloofar Haeri and based on a number of panels
she has organized, addresses the question of sincerity, speaking to recent discus-
sions concerning interiority, prayer, and the mediation of language. At a work-
shop on Muslim ethics I recently made the mistake of identifying sincerity with
Protestantism. The shocked and quick rebuttal by the Islamic scholars made me
realize how limited the discussion has been in anthropology (or at least my read-
ing within it); whatever the case, the articles in this section, as Haeri says in her
introduction, open up the question of sincerity for comparative examination in
a number of different religious traditions and forms of practice. Haeri shows us
the debate among Muslim theologians as well as among a group of urban Iranian
women whose practice she closely observes, concerning the relations between pro-
fessed intention, sincerity, and concentration in both obligatory prayer and more
open forms of addressing God. The question of subjectivity is continued in Sonja
Luehrmanns compelling account of Russian women who, returning to Orthodoxy
after the Soviet period, perform a kind of self-interrogation and attempt to expi-
ate what they conceive as past sins, notably abortion. Outward and inward states
are brought together in temporary but difficult acts of pilgrimage. Ayala Fader de-
scribes the dilemmas of ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York who try to curtail the
inroads of the Internet on the subjectivity of their congregations. Here a perceived
crisis of doubt is met by intentional public talk aimed to control or cultivate the in-
teriority of community members through what Fader calls discursive interiority,
including a kind of medicalization of religious doubt. Courtney Handman likewise
attends to linguistic mediation of sincerity, examining the language ideology of
the Lutheran missionaries on Papua New Guinea and their concerns about which
languages were adequate to support Christian religious subjectivity and spontane-
ity. Was Pidgin deep enough to plumb the soul? The section is completed with
a thoughtful Afterword by Matt Tomlinson concerning the fractal recursivity of
oppositions between exteriority and interiority evident in each of these contexts.
Among our refereed articles three address questions of ontology in new ways.
The first two are complementary in that they each discuss a form of monism they
uncover in the ethnography. In a masterful essay concerning the Anangu of the
Western Desert of Australia, Ute Eickelkamp not only unravels the complex ways
in which Aboriginal worlds are changing but also draws a comparison between
the Dreaming and the ontological monism of the German romantics. This is remi-
niscent of the essay by Andrew Brandel in our last issue. Central to Eickelkamps
concerns is whether and when nature comes to appear as an external object

2017 | Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): iv

iii A Note from the Editor

in Anangu thought. Working with classical Chinese diviners William Matthews

brings to light a form of ontology he calls homologism that he places in explicit
and insightful conversation with Descolas comprehensive scheme. Andrew Apter
adds an epistemological dimension to these ontological pictures, concerning the
relationship of anthropologists to what they learn in the field. Reflecting on an un-
fortunate experience during his fieldwork among Yoruba in Nigeria, he proposes
a solution to the long-standing question of the anthropologists standpoint with
respect to a foreign ontology.
The next three papers continue with questions of subjects and objects, here
with respect to South Asian refractions of questions of materiality. Each picks up
a very different social context. Jens Zickgraf offers a rich ethnographic description
of an annual ritual of money counting in a small South Indian community and
analyzes what it tells us about the materiality of money and what he calls money-
ness. Sareeta Amrute looks to the world of South Asian computer programmers
in Berlin, illustrating the way humour opens up reflection on their transnational
situation and precarious employment as well as the ambiguous materiality of the
work of programming itself. Piers Locke, in a striking contribution to multispecies
ethnography, offers an account of nonhuman personhood and his affective inter-
actions with an elephant in a government elephant stable in Nepal.
Finally, Daniel Miller offers an intriguing account of how, in the age of Face-
book and choice, kinship comes to be subsumed, at the ideological level, into the
idiom of friendship. Where we once spoke of fictive kinship we can now speak of
fictive friendship. Moreover, Miller argues that this is a global trend.
Our Colloquium section, edited by Donna Goldstein and Kira Hall follows up
their article (with Matthew Ingram) in Issue 6.2 on The hands of Donald Trump
with a set of reflections confronting the successful election of Trump to the presi-
dency of the United States. They raise the aestheticization of transgression in the
campaign and suggest we think about a hypermasculine form of camp. Michael
Silverstein speaks to the role of negative branding in Trumps speeches. Stefka
Hristova compares Trumps hand signals to those of Uncle Sam in their respective
calls to nationalist voters, while Norma Mendoza-Denton looks at Trump from the
other direction, namely via the images produced in Mexico, illustrating the effemi-
nization of President Pea Nieto. Jeff Maskovsky insightfully speaks to the perfor-
mance of white nationalism as addressed to white voters while Kaifa Roland shows
the deeply racialized messages in Trumps body language especially as received by
non-whites. Nancy Scheper-Hughes emphasizes the longue dure of racism evoked
in Maskovskys and Rolands essays as she turns to the horrific record of Jeff Ses-
sions in Alabama. Following up with the men standing in the outstanding photo,
taken by Scheper-Hughes colleague Kathy Veit in 1968 (and which serves as our
cover image), brings the point home as nothing else could.
Our Forum section starts with Part II of Voicing the ancestors that began in
the last issue. As orchestrated by the eminent scholar of anthropologys history,
Richard Handler, the writers bring up figures from the Boasian tradition who are
too often misunderstood today or perhaps just simply forgotten. This is particu-
larly important for those readers of Hau not educated in the Americanist tradition.
Robert Brightman celebrates the centenary of the important debate between Alfred
Kroeber and Alexander Goldenweiser, arguing that Goldenweisers account of the

2017 | Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): iv

Michael Lambek iv

individual holds value in contemporary discussions of biographical subjects and

subjectivities. Pauline Strong revives Irving Hallowell in a succinct but brilliant
account that no contemporary ontologist can afford to overlook. Alexander King
shows that Benjamin Lee Whorf s thought is not to be reduced to or even described
as a hypothesis and argues that Whorf affords a critical foundation for good an-
thropology of any kind. Finally, Richard Handler shows that Jules Henrys angry
critique of American culture is as relevant today as it was in 1963 when he wrote it.
It is worth repeating a quotation from Henry that Handler uses: To think deeply
in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this
anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards of
deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo,
thought will starve to death (Henry 1963: 146). Each of these pieces illustrates how
important it is to return to the original voices of the thinkers themselves.
Our second Hau forum, edited by Sindre Bangstad, in a sense takes up Jules
Henrys challenge by asking what role public anthropology can play today and how
best to perform it. Bangstad introduces the forum with a series of questions and
notes the presence of a right-wing government in Norway and the rise of anti-im-
migrant populism across Europe. Irfan Ahmad asks how we can speak in a climate
of hysterical nationalism that tries to shut us down. John Bowen productively of-
fers three quite different kinds of public interventions he has made. Ilana Feldman
speaks to the various kinds of publics addressed by a boycott of Israeli academic
institutions. Angelique Haugerud invites a public anthropology that responds to
misinformation about the economy and notes how some Republicans actually es-
pouse what had been presented as parody about them. David Price points out that
in speaking to journalists it is more important to get across the message than your
name and not to worry about what in other contexts would be plagiarism. Richard
Wilson addresses the way we need to write to reach the public and the sometimes
surprising responses when we do. Mayanthi Fernando raises the important point
of how we address the public without seeming to confirm the language we want to
dismantle and asks also how we might use our knowledge to grasp the passional
and not simply the deliberative dimension of politics.
We have two book symposia. In each case the published book is the develop-
ment of a recent Lewis Henry Morgan Lecture. The first symposium, on Peter van
der Veers book The value of comparison delivered in 2013 and published in 2016
addresses a subject central to anthropological practice. The book is reviewed by
Matei Candea, Annelin Eriksen, Stephan Feuchtwang, and Birgit Meyer, each of
whom explicitly addresses questions of comparison in their own work. The sym-
posium concludes with a response from van der Veer. The second book is Earth
beings: Ecologies of practice across Andean worlds by Marisol de la Cadena based on
lectures delivered in 2011 and published in 2015. In her rich and complex ethnog-
raphy, de la Cadena raises many questions about ontology, translation, life history,
and cosmo-politics. Catherine Allen, Andrew Canessa, Alf Hornborg, and Valen-
tina Napolitano each provide critical commentaries on the book. The author plans
to respond in the next issue of the journal.
I am particularly happy that our Translation and Reprint sections revive two
outstanding scholars whose voices were not recognized as they should have been
when they were alive. First, we bring back a very old dispute, namely van Genneps

2017 | Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): iv

v A Note from the Editor

critical review of Durkheims classicor maybe not so classicElementary forms of

the religious life, as well as an extremely useful, if perhaps somewhat partisan (but
whom can blame him?) historical contextualization by Bjrn Thomassen. Thanks
to our associate editor Matthew Carey for his excellent translation of van Gennep.
Second, we have a paper by Malcolm Ruel, reprinted from the Nigerian jour-
nal Odu from 1965. Ruel, who taught at Cambridge, is known for his indispens-
able articles unpacking the concepts of belief and of sacrifice. Here is a third: a
deep portrait of witchcraft among the Banyang, in Cameroon, in a context having
little to do with modernity. What is so original here is the focus on the introspec-
tive rather than the accusatory attribution of witchcraft, hence the critical place of
doubt, ambivalence, and retroactive accountability. Indeed, Ruel comes to a con-
clusion somewhat at odds with that of his own teacher, Evans-Pritchard, namely
that Banyang witchcraft presents an uncertainty and not an assurance. Thanks to
Ann Ruel and Knut Myhre for enabling this essay to come to light again.
Once again it is necessary to thank the staff, interns, associate editors, and refer-
ees for responding so well to the often unreasonable demands producing a journal
like Hau places on them. I would like to single out our intern Taylor Genovese for
the superb way he has taken up his duties and to wish him well in his doctoral pro-
gram. As I am soon to conclude my term as interim co-editor I am mindful of the
symbiosis between thought, imagination, and sheer effort as well as the teamwork
that it takes to sustain this strong and exciting journal. Welcome back, Giovanni.
Watch this space for Haus next steps.
Michael Lambek

Berliner, David, Michael Lambek, Richard Schweder, Richard Irvine, and Albert Piette.
2016. Anthropology and the study of contradictions. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic
Theory 6.1: 127.
da Col, Giovanni, and David Graeber. 2011. Foreword: The return of ethnographic
theory.Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory1.1: vixxxv.
Henry, Jules. 1963. Culture against man. New York: Random House.
Ingold, Tim. 2014. Thats enough about ethnography! Hau: Journal of Ethnographic
Theory4.1: 383395.
Sahlins, Marshall. 1999. Two or three things that I know about culture. Journal of the
Royal Anthropological Institute 5.3: 399421.

2017 | Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): iv