Book Reviews RSS feed for this section

Self-devouring Growth: A Planetary Parable as Told from Southern Africa

“Wherever you are reading this you are in a world organized by self-devouring growth” (p. 1). So begins Livingston’s parable, a simple story used to illustrate a larger predicament. Her story, about the sources and effects of spectacular, unbridled economic growth in Botswana, is a powerful metaphor for global trends affecting us all. The story […]

Continue Reading ·

Lazy, Crazy, and Disgusting: Stigma and the Undoing of Global Health

Georgetown University Lazy, Crazy, and Disgusting: Stigma and the Undoing of Global Health introduces the reader to the social power that wrings through interventions in public health and medicine. Through multiple cases, Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich argue that the impact of these interventions lingers beyond the intentions of international policies, programs, and efforts. By […]

Continue Reading ·

No Alternative: Childbirth, Citizenship, and Indigenous Culture in Mexico

Lydia Zacher Dixon California State University, Channel Islands Rosalynn A. Vega’s No Alternative: Childbirth, Citizenship, and Indigenous Culture in Mexico is a deeply theoretical and richly ethnographic critique of the relationship between traditional midwifery and the humanized birth movement in Mexico. It is important to note that my own research overlaps geographically and temporally with […]

Continue Reading ·

Being a Sperm Donor: Masculinity, Sexuality and Biosociality in Denmark

Robert Pralat University of Cambridge For some time now, Denmark has been at the forefront of developments in fertility treatments. Among European countries, Denmark has the greatest proportion of babies born through assisted reproductive technologies—an estimated 10%, compared, for example, to less than 2% in the United States. Danish fertility clinics perform the largest number of […]

Continue Reading ·

Global Fluids: The Cultural Politics of Reproductive Waste and Value

Katharine Dow University of Cambridge In reproductive studies, there are two broad approaches to reproductive technologies. One is focused on describing and analyzing the details of a particular technology and how its users and practitioners engage with it, and the other approaches these technologies as a lens for reflecting on what their use can tell […]

Continue Reading ·

Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography

Matthew Gutmann Brown University This is a wonderful vivisection of a magic molecule, one that Jordan-Young and Karkazis show is a social molecule with a very particular history and role in contemporary life. For popular beliefs to take hold regarding testosterone’s determinative function in creating manly men, however, the hormone must be given the imprimatur […]

Continue Reading ·

Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Births

Khiara M. Bridges UC Berkeley School of Law Reproductive Injustice is a brilliant investigation of racial disparities in premature birth rates. Davis’s ethnographic exploration of the fact that black women in the United States are two times more likely than white women to give birth prematurely leads her to a range of sites: labor and […]

Continue Reading ·

Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.

Megan A. Carney University of Arizona With her book Black Food Geographies, black feminist anthropologist Ashanté Reese does critical work in the project of dismantling anti-black racism as it pervades the U.S. food system as well as the structures—media, politics, institutions—that render food access uneven in the United States. Carefully documenting how decades of enslavement, […]

Continue Reading ·

Transforming Therapy: Mental Health Practice and Cultural Change in Mexico

Whitney Duncan’s compelling monograph, Transforming Therapy, is a theoretically sophisticated, ethnographically vivid, and carefully written account of the circulations of psychological and psychiatric globalization, psy-sociality, and self-making in Oaxaca, Mexico. This experience-near ethnography is deeply attentive to the ways that interior and social lives are inseparable from broader processes of globalization. Duncan’s extensive fieldwork in […]

Continue Reading ·

Infected Kin: Orphan Care and AIDS in Lesotho

Theodore Powers University of Iowa With Infected Kin, Ellen Block and Will McGrath have crafted an insightful contribution to the anthropological analysis of the southern African HIV/AIDS epidemic. Based on eight years of research, the authors analyze the shifting dynamics of kinship and care, focusing on HIV/AIDS orphans in Lesotho, where HIV is estimated to […]

Continue Reading ·