BooksFeatures

Book Forum––Robert Desjarlais’ Subject to Death: Life and Loss in a Buddhist World

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Robert Desjarlais’s Subject to Death is like stepping onto a train already in motion. Its momentum isn’t fierce but there’s no time to ease in––from its first pages, as readers we find ourselves in the midst of death and life and loss as they take and are given form. At the risk of overusing the term, there is great care
BooksFeatures

Book Forum––Sabine Arnaud’s On Hysteria

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Sabine Arnaud’s On Hysteria: The Invention of a Medical Category Between 1670 and 1820 focuses on the socio-medical category before its better-known (and more heavily studied) late nineteenth century instantiations, not to trace the prehistory of hysteria from the seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries, but in order to demonstrate how hysteria takes unexpected form during these earlier epochs. The …

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Book Forum–Jeanne Favret-Saada’s The Anti-Witch

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In The Anti-Witch, Jeanne Favret-Saada revisits fieldwork she first described in her classic Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage in a more reflective mode and conceptually ambitious mode. Made available as an open-access monograph by HAU Books, this translation introduces English-language readers to Favret-Saada’s encounters with the “dewitcher” Madame Flora and outlines the foundations for an anthropology

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Book Forum––Carlo Caduff’s The Pandemic Perhaps

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Carlo Caduff’s The Pandemic Perhaps: Dramatic Events in a Public Culture of Danger (University of California Press, 2015) is a story of the influenza pandemic that never was. Caduff tells this story from an American perspective through his encounters with scientists and other actors who engage in the august work of “preparedness,” but in doing so, often draw upon …

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Book Forum—Anand Pandian’s “Reel World: An Anthropology of Creation”

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Anand Pandian’s Reel World: An Anthropology of Creation is a fascinating and truly inspired inquiry into questions of experience and the media through which experience is rendered (word, image, and sound) in and about Tamil cinema and beyond.  Pandian walks a path where visions are realized between seen-ness and feltness, between openness and the limits of the frame.  Much …

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Book Forum — Richard Keller’s Fatal Isolation

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Richard Keller’s Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003 is a careful accounting of the toll the heat wave took on those most vulnerable in the neighborhoods surrounding Paris.  The book is about the shape of vulnerability and its amplification over time — in fact, Fatal Isolation requires us to pause on the ideas of risk, vulnerability, …