Without Offending Humans: A Critique of Animal Rights
by Élisabeth de Fontenay (trans. William Bishop)
University of Minnesota Press, 2012, 168 pages.
In the opening paragraph of Without Offending Humans, Élisabeth de Fontenay describes the first time she saw her mentor Jacques Derrida speak at the Collège de philosophie:
I reacted, all things being relative, as Malebranche did
As someone who thinks and works on the edges of the social sciences I am always curious about—and fascinated by—the ways in which ideas, feelings, propositions, demands, and attachments of various kinds have dynamically contributed and continue to contribute to articulating both the knowledge-practices of social scientific disciplines and the habits or ethical sensibilities that inform those forms of inquiry …
New Organs Within Us: Transplants and the Moral Economy
by Aslihan Sanal
Duke University Press, 2011. 244 pp.
Sensitively written and deeply insightful, Aslihan Sanal’s ethnography of kidney transplantation in Turkey in the 1990s and 2000s is an intimate stitching of life histories, national and institutional narratives, and shifting meanings of life, death, and the body. Sanal takes the …
For this installment of “Top of the heap,” we spoke to Sarah Willen, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Human Rights Institute’s Research Program on Global Health and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.
This summer I found myself puzzling deeply over the notion of dignity. In fields like political philosophy, bioethics, law, …
The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism
by Vincent Descombes
translated by Stephen Adam Schwartz. Harvard University Press, 2014. 392 pp.
How is what is “in” our minds, as thought, also something that we share, communicate, and can understand? This question, however posed, must be fundamental for any anthropological approach to mental life. In the course of …
Reasons of Conscience:
The Bioethics Debate in Germany
University of Chicago Press, 2013, 344 pages
by Stefan Sperling
Sperling’s Reasons of Conscience is an ethnographic study of two German Bioethics commissions – the Enquete Kommission and the Nationaler Ethikrat. His particular focus is on the way that the national, political and cultural context influences the democratic and bureaucratic processes …