In 2002, armed Hindu mobs attacked Muslims in broad daylight in the west Indian state of Gujarat. The pogrom, which was widely seen over television, left over one thousand dead. In Composing Violence, Moyukh Chatterjee examines how highly visible political violence against minorities acts as a catalyst for radical changes in law, public culture, and power. He shows that, far from being quashed through its exposure by activists, media and politicians, state-sanctioned anti-Muslim violence set the stage for transforming India into a Hindu supremacist state. The state and civil society’s responses to the violence, Chatterjee contends, reveal the constitutive features of modern democracy in which riots and pogroms are techniques to produce a form of society based on a killable minority and a triumphant majority. Focusing on courtroom procedures, police archives, legal activism, and mainstream media coverage, Chatterjee theorizes violence as a form of governance that creates minority populations. By tracing the composition of anti-Muslim violence and the legal structures that transform that violence into the making of minorities and majorities, Chatterjee demonstrates that violence is intrinsic to liberal democracy.
“In this powerful book, Moyukh Chatterjee gives us a brief, elegant, and novel way of thinking about violence.” – Nancy Rose Hunt, author of Nervous State: Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo.
The Francis L. K. Hsu Prize is given to the book that was judged to have made the most significant contribution to the field of Anthropology of East Asia and is awarded by the American Anthropological Association’s Society for East Asian Anthropology. In The Anatomy of Loneliness, Ozawa-de Silva gracefully threads the needle of writing for a non-specialist audience while adding to conversations about loneliness, suicide, and social connection in the anthropology of East Asia. Moreover, she writes about the particularities of a social phenomenon in Japan in ways that speak to global experiences of loneliness as a part of the human condition, but one exacerbated by the structures of modern life and neoliberal policies. To do so, the book draws together current research in anthropology, sociology, psychology, and neuroscience/developmental biology, to theorize the anatomy of loneliness as both individual and social. The chapters chart Ozawa-de Silva’s research journey from a study of the dramatic increase in suicides in Japan beginning in 1998, to her discovery that a lack of social connection, loneliness, and a sense of meaning in life better reflected the stories she encountered than the assumed economic or mental health causes. In order to study suicide ethnographically, the book analyses first, second, and third person accounts seen through the phenomenon of suicide websites, the commodification of intimacy, the perceptions of college students, and the 2011 natural and nuclear disasters. The book ends with a timely focus on the communal loneliness of areas forgotten in post-Fukushima recovery initiatives and emerging examples of their resilience through community. Thus, Ozawa-de Silva writes about suicide and loneliness in Japan in ways that speak to wider global trends while giving us some hint at potentially better ways to live today. The committee also found Chikako’s book to be “poignant, richly ethnographic, and an exemplary instance of a book that really speaks beyond our field.”
The Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing is an annual juried book award by the American Anthropological Association’s Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA). The prize committee “seeks graceful, accessible ethnographic writing which deeply explores its subject and contributes in innovative and engaging ways to the genre(s) of ethnography and the field of humanistic (and/or post-humanistic) anthropology.” Chikako Ozawa-de Silva’s The Anatomy of Loneliness humanistically explores issues of human biology, and it analytically transforms loneliness from an individual state of being into a societal predicament. This book is a jarring, empathetic, and even paradoxical diagnosis of emerging collective social structures that make people feel alone. Along the way, readers are introduced to a brave and novel vision for what an inclusive society might mean. The book’s subject matter, from mental health to suicide, is challenging — but Ozawa-de Silva shows us how to rigorously write these topics in ways that cultivate inclusive engagement rather than reproduce the senses of alienation the book explores. The committee also felt that The Anatomy of Loneliness offers a truly unique, distinguished, and even experimental model of accessibility. This book is lucidly written. it is also a text that creatively and transparently brings the reader alongside the author in all her intellectual premises, all her conceptual inspirations, and every one of her turns of thought.
Watch Professor Ozawa-de Silva read the first 5-minutes of her book here.
The Association for Africanist Anthropology has awarded Dr. Isabella Alexander the 2022 Elliott P. Skinner Book Award for her book Burning at Europe’s Borders.
This prize is awarded to the book that “best furthers both the global community of Africanist scholars and the wider interests of the African continent, with special consideration given to works drawing upon extensive research in Africa and advancing new methodologies for anthropological fieldwork in Africa.”
Dr. Alexander Hinton graduated in 1997 and majored in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology. His dissertation was on the Cambodian genocide. Today, he is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Center for the Genocide and Human Rights, and UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention at Rutgers University, Newark. He is an award-winning author and editor of seventeen books, including most recently, Anthropological Witness: Lessons from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (Cornell, 2022)—which focuses on his testimony as an expert witness at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and his exchange with “Brother Number Two.”
The AIME award is reserved for persons who have “raised public awareness of anthropology and have had a broad and sustained public impact at local, national, and international level.” Congratulations Dr. Alexander Hinton!
Read more about the AAA 2022 Award Recipients here!
“Selling Industrial ‘Gallina Criolla’ Products in Guatemala” details these new corporate marketing tactics of competing with gallina criolla economies of indgenous and peasant peoples. The report begins by summarizing the latest science on the economic, ecological, social, nutritional, and taste differences between gallina criolla and industrial chicken. It shows that the gallinas criollas that emerge from campesina systems of production are different animals than the industrial chickens that emerge from industrial systems of production. The methods of rearing involved, the ecological and economic functions the birds perform, and the nutritional value and taste of the chicken meat from the two systems are not the same. At the same time, while gallina criolla production is one part of agroecological systems that tend towards diversity, industrial production of commercial chickens tends towards homogeneity.
Dr. Sirak received her PhD in 2018 for her dissertation on “A Genomic Analysis of Two Early Christian Cemetery Communities from Sudanese Nubia”, she is now a staff scientist at Harvard University. Her research bridges the fields of Ancient DNA and archaeology and helps shed light on social structures as well as the genomes of ancient populations.
Emory Anthropology alumni, Drs Yulia Chuvileva (PhD 2019) and Sarah Lyon (PhD 2005), recently published an article in Inside Higher Ed called “Doctoral Training Should Meet the Equity Moment.” In it they argue that while academia helped create the theoretical groundswell that mainstreamed inequity as a problem, it must now ready the next crop of PhD’s to lead the social-change charge. The piece offers suggestions for how to do so, arguing that the effort could also help address the graduate-student mental health crisis.
Jennifer Sweeney Tookes earned her Phd with a dissertation on Rice and Peas in the Diaspora: Food, Health and the Body among Barbadian Migrants in Atlanta and is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Georgia Southern University.
The Anthropology department is proud to recognize our 2021 honors graduates: Margot Bailowitz, Olivia Blackman, Isabella Cantor, Makda Mulugeta, and Anna Wachspress. In a year which presented unusual research challenges, these students persevered with creativity and resourcefulness, completing rich projects on topics ranging from Native American COVID-19 campaign artwork to the experience of couples aging together in assisted living. One project, a documentary film following an Atlanta-based civil rights organization, was the first film-based project to be completed in the Anthropology department. All projects were completed under the supervision of faculty advisors and committee members from within and outside of Anthropology, with support from faculty honors coordinator Dr. Debra Vidali. These students were honored in a virtual Anthropology Honors and Awards Ceremony on May 3rd, and graduated with honors at the Emory College graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 16.
The Anthropology Department is pleased to announce our 2021 student award winners! Please join us in congratulating undergraduates Isabella Cantor, Katherine Morgan, William Johnson, and Phoebe Einzig-Roth, and graduate students Elena Lesley and Luisa Rivera. Undergraduate awards were conferred at a virtual celebration on Monday, May 3.
2021 Undergraduate Student Awards
Outstanding Senior Award: Isabella Cantor and Katherine Morgan
Outstanding Junior Award: William Johnson
Marjorie Shostak Award for Excellence and Humanity in Ethnography
Isabella Cantor for her honors thesis “End-of-Life Perspectives Among Couples Aging Together in Assisted Living: A Narrative Approach”, advised by Mel Konner.
Phoebe Einzig-Roth for her class project “Coping with COVID: Patient Perspectives”, directed by Debra Vidali.
2021 Graduate Student Awards:
George Armelagos Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student: Elena Lesley and Luisa Rivera