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Book Review: Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India

There is something quite poetic about Harris Solomon’s Metabolic Living, even while the topic of metabolic illnesses would appear fairly unromantic to most. From small kitchens in fishing villages to corporate offices in food manufacturing plants, Solomon takes the reader on a vivid, engaging, critically driven ethnographic journey that humanizes metabolic illnesses in Mumbai, India. […]

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Book Review: Tongzhi Living: Men Attracted to Men in Postsocialist China

In Tongzhi Living, Tiantian Zheng provides a timely contribution to the ethnography of Tongzhi, the Chinese term referring to same-sex-attracted men in contemporary, postsocialist, China. Through engagements with Tongzhi in various locations such as cruising parks, bathhouses, Tongzhi bars, NGOs, as well as hospitals, Zheng presents a complex picture of Tongzhi’s lived realities of desire, […]

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Book Review: Volunteer Economies: The Politics and Ethics of Voluntary Labour in Africa

In their edited volume Volunteer Economies: The Politics and Ethics of Voluntary Labour in Africa, Ruth Prince and Hannah Brown highlight the importance of volunteerism to contemporary economies and social relationships. Perhaps especially in Africa, where state infrastructures are increasingly dependent on foreign humanitarian aid, the volunteer is on the frontlines of seismic shifts in […]

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Book Review: Midwives and Mothers: The Medicalization of Childbirth on a Guatemalan Plantation

In Midwives and Mothers, Sheila Cosminsky provides a detailed narrative of changes in midwifery identity and practice over the course of her 40 years of fieldwork on a Guatemalan plantation. At its core, the book focuses on a mother (María) and daughter (Siriaca) pair, both midwives with whom Cosminsky has worked extensively. Rather than inferring […]

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Book Review: Reluctant Intimacies: Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands

In Reluctant Intimacies, Beata Świtek invites the reader to consider the meaning of intimacy in the context of international migration. She traces the experiences of the first cohort of Indonesian care workers in Japan, who arrived in 2008 under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two countries. Her study sets out a detailed analysis […]

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Book Review: Ethnographies of Breastfeeding: Cultural Contexts and Confrontations

Ethnographies of Breastfeeding is a strong contribution to the growing scholarship on the anthropology of breastfeeding. Tanya Cassidy and Abdullahi El Tom have brought together a breadth of chapters on milk sharing, milk banking, wet nursing, and infant feeding, encompassing topics such as HIV, surrogacy, gender, mother–infant bonding, and the naturalist discourse of breastfeeding. The […]

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Book Review: The Lives of Community Health Workers: Local Labor and Global Health in Urban Ethiopia

In 2008, an Ethiopian NGO held its second annual Volunteers Day event to honor community health workers (CHWs) who spend 15–40 hours per week visiting the homes of HIV-positive people to provide multi-faceted care. These volunteers find moral satisfaction as they traverse Addis Ababa’s sprawling neighborhoods, framing their work as an obligation to fellow citizens. […]

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Book Review: Biomedical Entanglements: Conceptions of Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Society

Flying low across Papua New Guinea’s (PNG’s) forested hills, fast flowing rivers, and pale squares of garden land, the rich vegetation is sporadically interrupted by bright stripes of reflective tin roofing. Many of these incongruous structures shelter rural health centers, and their disturbance of the landscape is a reminder that public health infrastructure maintains a […]

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Book Review: Vaccine Court: The Law and Politics of Injury

Vaccine Court adds to a growing literature on the social aspects of vaccination. What sets this text apart is its focus on a previously understudied topic: the U.S. Vaccine Court. The vaccine court is a legal institution in the United States that operates through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. It was founded in the […]

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Book Review: Thai in Vitro: Gender, Culture, and Assisted Reproduction

Andrea Whittaker’s Thai in Vitro is a superb ethnography of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and how knowledge concerning infertility is produced and circulated in the encounter between individuals seeking treatment and medical professionals. It accompanies us on the journey that Thai couples undertake to conceive, highlighting their experience of resorting to medical as well as […]

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