Paris: Bull From the Old World

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December 29, 2014

A friend sent me the following text and footnote from Peter Skafish’s introduction to Viveiros de Castro’s book, Cannibal Metaphysics, (p. 10-11) which he characterizes as:

“perhaps the first attempt by a “real” anthropologist at doing speculative philosophy on the basis of ethnographic materials, and to lay out how anthropology has perhaps already been doing this …


Ontology as an analytical approach to concerns of medical anthropology

What might arise from an encounter between medical anthropology and science and technology studies (STS) as they investigate the common subject of health and (bio)medicine? One answer could be found at the panel Repositioning health, illness and the body: the challenge of new theoretical approaches to medical anthropology, organized by Simon Cohn and Rebecca Lynch at ASA[1] decennial


Terrence Deacon’s Incomplete Nature

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged From Matter

By Terrence Deacon

W. W. Norton, 2013, paperback, 627 pages.

Incomplete Nature is a big book, literally and conceptually. The subtitle “How Mind Emerged From Matter” hints of a grand synthesis and Terrence Deacon, chair of University of California–Berkeley’s anthropology department, presents a dense argument which defies usual labels. The result is part …


Putting Science in its Place

In some corners of anthropology, it has been said that science studies lacks a robust sense of place. But many capable ethnographers have brought labs, hospital suites, and production facilities to life, giving readers a granular sense for what distinguishes these sites from other milieux. What, precisely, might be missing? Consider the word “place.” As science studies scholars have repeatedly …



My friend Dr. Muñoz makes his own bleach.  He uses salt, water, and electrodes to render sodium hypochlorite.  To do this, he has colonized a small space in a garage-cum-storage unit nestled on the grounds of the Managua health center where he works.  His bleach-making is ad-hoc and off the books.  Dr. Muñoz doesn’t get extra money or time from …

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A reader’s guide to the “ontological turn” – Part 4

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Editor’s note: In the wake of all the discussion about the ‘ontological turn’ at this year’s American Anthropological Association conference, we asked four scholars, “which texts or resources would you recommend to a student or colleague interested in the uses of ‘ontology’ as an analytical category in recent work in anthropology and science and technology studies?”  This was the answer