Crossing Boundaries: Making Sense with the Sense-able

A black plastic garbage bag, held in place by masking tape, covered the drinking fountain jutting out from the brick wall. It was an incongruous sight in the otherwise clean, carpeted church hallway on the outskirts of Charleston, West Virginia. The thick covering separated observer from object, simultaneously hiding and calling attention to what it ostensibly sought to obfuscate. “[Facilities …


Summer Roundup: The Ethnographic Case, Part 1

In June, we debuted an extensive new series on Somatosphere, The Ethnographic Case. Edited by Emily Yates-Doerr and Christine Labuski, the series is organized on an expanding, virtual bookCASE, with each individual piece expanding our understanding of case studies — what they are, what they can teach us, and what work they do shaping both our objects of …


When Research Bleeds into Real Life: Studying Reproductive Ageing while Ageing Reproductively

In a book chapter addressing feminist research methods and women’s health and healing, Rayna Rapp (1999) wrote about the complicated ways in which everyday life is embroiled in feminist research methods. She was speaking about how her own experience with amniocentesis was situated in her now canonical, multi-sited ethnography of this technology, and the corresponding challenges that arise when doing …


Conference review: MAGic 2015 Anthropology and Global Health: Interrogating Theory, Policy and Practice

“Global Health is like a containership. The multiple actors —international and local NGOs, humanitarian organisations, scientists, activists, politicians — operate the tugboats, attempting to nudge, tug and pull the ship into its dock, where it will be offloaded and transported, i.e. implemented, by those who were able to demonstrate the greatest technical skill and advantage. […]As anthropologists, we must continue


Summer Roundup: Inhabitable Worlds, Part Two

Continuing our summer roundups, today we are highlighting a second set of essays from our Inhabitable Worlds series, brought to us by editors Michele Friedner and Emily Cohen. Inhabitable Worlds is a series that examines the theoretical tools and approaches that scholars bring to the study of disability in the social sciences and humanities.



Regulations versus hierarchies: Commuters