Almost 68.5 million refugees in the world today live in a protection gap, the chasm between protections stipulated in the Geneva Convention and the abrogation of those responsibilities by aid agencies. With dwindling humanitarian aid, how do refugee communities solve collective dilemmas?
In Networked Refugees, Nadya Hajj finds that Palestinian refugees utilize information communication technology platforms to motivate reciprocity—a cooperative action marked by the mutual exchange of favors and services—and informally seek aid and connection with their transnational diaspora community. Based on surveys conducted with Palestinians throughout the diaspora, interviews with those inside the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon, and data pulled from online community spaces, these findings pushback against the cynical idea that online organizing is fruitless, emphasizing instead the productivity of these digital networks.
“With nuance, sensitivity, and fascinating connections across diverse social settings, Nadya Hajj offers a blueprint for how transnational networks can motivate reciprocity to solve communal problems.” WENDY PEARLMAN, author of Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement
“In this remarkable book, Hajj deploys her considerable theoretical and empirical gifts. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding refugee experience.” TAREK MASOUD, coauthor of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform
“Through stunning ethnographic and survey research, Hajj provides enormous insights into the way Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and the diaspora not only resist the destruction of their community but have found new ways of rebuilding it, challenging us to think differently about Palestinian refugees and their reimagined futures.” SARA ROY, Harvard University
NADYA HAJJ is Whitehead Associate Professor of Critical Thought and Associate Professor of Peace and Justice Studies at Wellesley College.
Widely studies and hotly debated, the Silk Road is often viewed as a precursor to contemporary globalization, the merchants traversing it as early agents of cultural exchange. Missing are the lives of the ordinary people who inhabited the route and contributed as much to its development as their itinerant counterparts. In this book, Kate Franklin takes medieval Armenia as a compelling case study for examining how global culture and everyday life intertwined along the Silk Road. Guiding the reader through increasingly intimate scales of evidence, she vividly reconstructs how people living in and passing through the medieval Caucasus understood the world and their place within it. With its innovative focus on the far-reaching implications of local practices, Everyday Cosmopolitanisms brings the study of medieval Eurasia into relation with contemporary investigations of cosmopolitanism and globalization, challenging schisms between modern and medieval, global and quotidian.
“Culminating in a tasty stew shared in a medieval Armenian caravanserai, Kate Franklin’s feminist analysis of different scales of the material culture of hospitality and its powers turns the heroic travel narratives of what we call the Silk Road inside out. A critical tour de force.” FRANCESCA BRAY, author of Technology, Gender and History in Imperial China: Great Transformations Reconsidered
“A delightful and perceptive read. The author traces the threads that are woven throughout the land and sensory ‘scapes’ of a valley in Armenia: its archaeology, architecture, and people’s lives, past and present. She argues that like other places across Afro-Eurasia, this valley and its people reveal their part in the wider ‘scape’ of a cosmopolitan medieval world, the Silk Roads.” SUSAN WHITFIELD, author of Silk, Slaves, and Stupas: Material Culture of the Silk Road
KATE FRANKLIN is Lecturer in Medieval History at Birkbeck, University of London.
This sweeping book details the extent to which the legal revolution emanating from the US has transformed legal hierarchies of power across the globe, while also analyzing the conjoined global histories of law and social change from the Middle Ages to today. It examines the global proliferation of large corporate law firms—a US invention—along with US legal education approaches geared toward those corporate law firms. This neoliberal-inspired revolution attacks complacent legal oligarchies in the name of America-inspired modernism. Drawing on the combined histories of the legal profession, imperial transformations, and the enduring and conservative role of cosmopolitan elites at the top of legal hierarchies, the book details case studies in India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and China to explain how interconnected legal histories are stories of both revolution and reproduction. Theoretically and methodologically ambitious, it offers a wholly new approach to studying interrelated fields across time and geographies.
“A highly original work that develops and merges different scholarly traditions into a unique analytic framework, illustrating how legal fields and fields of state power worldwide have been interwoven in their development from the Middle Ages until today.” OLE HAMMERSLEV, Professor of Sociology of Law, University of Southern Denmark
“Probably the most important work ever done on the global history of the legal profession and its role in constructing the state and capitalism since the Middle Ages. These authors have been honing their theoretical framework for decades and building up an unparalleled comparative knowledge of the global legal profession. This is their master work, the kind of comparative work that rarely comes along and that can be field-redefining.” CAROL JONES, Honorary Professor, University of Birmingham, School of Law
YVES DEZALAY is Emeritus Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. BRYANT G. GARTH is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.
Jainism, perhaps more so than any other South Asian tradition, focuses strongly on the ethics of birth, life, and death, with regard to both humans and other living beings. Insistent Life is the first full-length interdisciplinary examination of the foundational principles of bioethics within Jain doctrine and the application of those principles in the contemporary sphere. Brianne Donaldson and Ana Bajželj analyze a diverse range of Jain texts and contemporary sources to identify Jain perspectives on bioethical issues while highlighting the complexity of their personal, professional, and public dimensions. The book also features extensive original data based on an international survey the authors conducted with Jain medical professionals in India and diaspora communities of North America, Europe, and Africa.
“Through an analysis of traditional Jain texts and contemporary voices of practicing Jains, Brianne Donaldson and Ana Bajželj provide important insights from within Jainism to bioethical discussions. When read by healthcare professionals, this work can contribute to their understanding of the increasingly diverse patient population within their care.” SWASTI BHATTACHARYYA, author of Magical Progeny, Modern Technology: A Hindu Bioethics of Assisted Reproductive Technology
“Insistent Life fills a scholarly gap by presenting a comprehensive review of the ethical and medical views of Jainism and how they apply to contemporary bioethics. Undoubtedly, this treatment will be welcomed by religious scholars and scholars of Jainism in particular.” DAVID E. GUINN, editor of Handbook of Bioethics and Religion
BRIANNE DONALDSON is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Shri Parshvanath Presidential Chair in Jain Studies at University of California, Irvine. ANA BAJŽELJ is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Shrimad Rajchandra Endowed Chair in Jain Studies at University of California, Riverside.
The Endurance of Palestinian Political Factions is an ethnographic study of Palestinian political factions in Lebanon through an immersion in daily home life. Perla Issa asks how political factions remain the center of political life in the Palestinian camps in the face of mounting criticism. Through an examination of the daily, mundane practices of refugees in Nahr el-Bared camp in particular, this book shows how intimate, interpersonal, and kin-based relations are transformed into political networks and offers a fresh analysis of how those networks are in turn metamorphosed into political structures. By providing a detailed and intimate account of this process, this book reveals how factions are produced and reproduced in everyday life despite widespread condemnation.
“Utilizing rich ethnographic fieldwork, Perla Issa provides an engaging analysis of Palestinian factions in the refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared. Her book illuminates the centrality of political factions to quotidian social interactions and the rhythms of everyday life.” Adam Hanieh, author of Money, Markets, and Monarchies: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East
“How do political factions maintain centrality in Palestinian political life even when they are widely unpopular and even delegitimized? How are such factions reproduced in the face of widespread condemnation? The questions that animate this manuscript are vitally important.” Ilana Feldman, author of Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics
Perla Issa is a researcher at the Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut, Lebanon.
Up to the twentieth century, Islamic charitable endowments provided the material foundation of the Muslim world. In Lebanon, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the imposition of French colonial rule, many of these endowments reverted to private property circulating in the marketplace. In contemporary Beirut, however, charitable endowments have resurged as mosques, Islamic centers, and nonprofit organizations. A historical anthropology in dialogue with Islamic law, God’s Property demonstrates how these endowments have been drawn into secular logics— no longer the property of God but of the Muslim community—and shaped by the modern state and modern understandings of charity and property. Although these transformations have produced new kinds of loyalties and ways of being in society, Nada Moumtaz’s ethnography reveals the furtive persistence of endowment practices that perpetuate older ways of thinking of one’s self and one’s responsibilities to family and state.
“A brilliant conceptual history and historical anthropology, God’s Property is a genealogy of waqfs (religious endowments) in modern Lebanon. Attentive to both continuities and ruptures, Nada Moumtaz traces the grammar of concepts within this Islamic tradition under regimes of modern governmentality, secularization, and capitalism. A must-read for scholars of anthropology, history, and law.” OMNIA EL SHAKRY, Professor of History, University of California, Davis
“With considerable erudition and a finely tuned ethnographic sensibility, Moumtaz traces subtle and profound historical shifts in Islamic concepts of debt, interest, and motivation, showing how they were shaped into modern notions of self and state. This book will provide provocative, valuable lessons to fields from economic and political anthropology to Islamic and Middle East studies.” HUSSEIN ALI AGRAMA, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago
NADA MOUMTAZ is Assistant Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and in the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto.
In rural China funerals are conducted locally, on village land by village elders. But in urban areas, people have neither land for burials nor elder relatives to conduct funerals. Chinese urbanization, which has increased drastically in recent decades, involves the creation of cemeteries, state-run funeral homes, and small private funerary businesses. The Funeral of Mr. Wang examines social change in urbanizing China through the lens of funerals, the funerary industry, and practices of memorialization. It analyzes changes in family life, patterns of urban sociality, transformations in economic relations, the politics of memorialization, and the echoes of these changes in beliefs about the dead and ghosts.
“This book is highly original and addresses a topic of central importance to understanding Chinese family life and the limits of a party-state’s regulatory power over the society and individual citizens. Original and systematic fieldwork is expertly used to illustrate core arguments. To my knowledge there is no competing ethnography.” — Deborah Davis, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Yale University
“The Funeral of Mr. Wang is a vivid portrait of how the transition from life to death is negotiated in the midst of a rapidly transforming urban Chinese society. Showing how death in contemporary China generates interconnected processes of cultural recombination among family members, funeral service providers, bureaucratic regulators, strangers, and ghosts, this book will be critical reading for all students of China and of death in contemporary societies.” — David A. Palmer, coauthor of The Religious Question in Modern China
ANDREW B. KIPNIS is Professor of Anthropology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, coeditor of Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, and author of From Village to City: Social Transformation in a Chinese County Seat.
How might queer theory transform our interpretations of medieval Japanese literature and how might this literature reorient the assumptions, priorities, and critical practices of queer theory? Through a close reading of The Tale of Genji, an eleventh-century text that depicts the lifestyles of aristocrats during the Heian period, A Proximate Remove explores this question by mapping the destabilizing aesthetic, affective, and phenomenological dimensions of experiencing intimacy and loss. The spatiotemporal fissures Reginald Jackson calls “proximate removes” suspend belief in prevailing structures. Beyond issues of sexuality, Genji queers in its reluctance to romanticize or reproduce a flawed social order. An understanding of this hesitation enhances how we engage with premodern texts and how we question contemporary disciplinary stances.
“A brave and groundbreaking work. Jackson’s queer reading of The Tale of Genji— where ‘queer’ does not index a particular sexual identity or mode of erotic exchange but, rather, provides a provocative critical lens—throws into sharp relief practices of Heian sexual politics. Intimately researched and engagingly written.” CHARLOTTE EUBANKS, author of Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan
“A Proximate Remove offers a bold and provocative reading of the eleventh-century classic The Tale of Genji. It begins the much-needed task of exposing the ideological limitations that define the parameters of existing premodern Japanese studies.” ATSUKO UEDA, author of Language, Nation, Race: Linguistic Reform in Meiji Japan (1868–1912)
REGINALD JACKSON is Associate Professor of Premodern Japanese Literature and Performance at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Textures of Mourning: Calligraphy, Mortality, and the Tale of Genji Scrolls.
To produce the song sequences that are central to Indian popular cinema, singers’ voices are first recorded in the studio and then played back on the set to be lip-synced and danced to by actors and actresses as the visuals are filmed. Since the 1950s, playback singers have become revered celebrities in their own right. Brought to Life by the Voice explores the distinctive aesthetics and affective power generated by this division of labor between onscreen body and offscreen voice in South Indian Tamil cinema. In Amanda Weidman’s historical and ethnographic account, playback is not just a cinematic technique, but a powerful and ubiquitous element of aural public culture that has shaped the complex dynamics of postcolonial gendered subjectivity, politicized ethnolinguistic identity, and neoliberal transformation in South India.
“This book is a major contribution to South Asian Studies, sound and music studies, anthropology, and film and media studies, offering original research and new theoretical insights to each of these disciplines. There is no other scholarly work that approaches voice and technology in a way that is both as theoretically wide-ranging and as locally specific.” NEEPA MAJUMDAR, author of Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s–1950s
“Brought to Life by the Voice provides a detailed and highly convincing exploration of the varying links between the singing voice and the body in the Tamil film industry since the mid-twentieth century. The historical and ethnographic analysis the book presents is meticulous and excellent.” PATRICK EISENLOHR, author of Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World
AMANDA WEIDMAN is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College and the author of Singing the Classical, Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India.
Established in Ramallah in 1979, al-Haq was the first Palestinian human rights organization and one of the first such organizations in the Arab world. This inside history explores how al-Haq initiated methodologies in law and practice that were ahead of its time and that proved foundational for many strands of today’s human rights work in Palestine and elsewhere. Lynn Welchman looks at both al-Haq’s history and legacy to explore such questions as: Why would one set up a human rights organization under military occupation? How would one go about promoting the rule of law in a Palestinian society deleteriously served by the law and with every reason to distrust those charged with implementing its protections? How would one work to educate overseas allies and activate international law in defense of Palestinian rights? This revelatory story speaks to the practice of local human rights organizations and their impact on international groups.
“This book is a godsend. A perfect example of precisely the kind of research that is most needed now, at a moment when human rights have never been more delegitimized on the international stage and abuses more rampant across the Middle East and North Africa.” — MARK LEVINE, author of Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam
“Clear, concise, accessible, and detailed, this unique book sheds extensive light on how and why al-Haq developed as it did. And in doing so it offers original material on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the development of the human rights movement in Palestine and globally, and the creation and management of civil society organizations.” — MOUIN RABBANI, coeditor of Jadaliyya and former Senior Analyst and Special Advisor on Palestine, International Crisis Group
LYNN WELCHMAN is Professor of Law in the Middle East and North Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has worked in different capacities with al-Haq since the early 1980s.
The quest for an inclusive and independent state has been at the center of the Palestinian national struggle for a very long time. This book critically explores the meaning of Palestinian statehood and the challenges that face alternative models to it. Giving prominence to a young set of diverse Palestinian scholars, this groundbreaking book shows how notions of citizenship, sovereignty, and nationhood are being rethought within the broader context of decolonization. Bringing forth critical and multifaceted engagements with what modern Palestinian self-determination entails, Rethinking Statehood sets the terms of debate for the future of Palestine beyond partition.
This is the first book-length study in English of the Japanese-language literary activities of early Japanese migrants to Brazil. It provides a detailed history of Japanese-language bookstores, serialized newspaper fiction, original creative works, and critical apparatuses that existed in Brazil prior to World War II. This case study of the reading and writing of one diasporic population challenges the dominant mode of literary study, in which texts are often explicitly or implicitly understood through a framework of ethno-nationalism. Self-representations by writers in the diaspora reveal flaws in this prevailing framework through what Edward Mack calls “acquired alterity,” in which expectations about the stability of ethnic identity are subverted in surprising ways. Acquired Alterity encourages a reconsideration of the ramifications (and motivations) of cultural analyses of texts and the constructions of peoplehood that are often the true objects of literary knowledge production.
What is the purpose of a church? Who owns a church? Mary K. Farag persuasively demonstrates that three groups in late antiquity were concerned with these questions: Christian leaders, wealthy laypersons, and lawmakers. Conflicting answers usually coexisted, but from time to time they clashed and caused significant tension. In these disputes, juridical regulations and opinions mattered more than has been traditionally recognized. Considering familiar Christian controversies in novel ways, Farag’s investigation shows that scholarship has misunderstood well-known religious figures by ignoring the legal issues they faced. This seminal text nuances vital aspects of scholarly conversations on sacred space, gift giving, wealth, and poverty in the late antique Mediterranean world, making use not only of Latin and Greek sources but also Coptic and Arabic evidence.
Discourse about water and power in the modern era have largely focused on human power over water: who gets to own and control a limited resource that has incredible economic potential. As a result, discussion of water, even in the humanities, has traditionally focused on fresh water for human use. Today, climate extremes from drought to flooding are forcing humanities scholars to reimagine water discourse.
This volume exemplifies how interdisciplinary cultural approaches can transform water conversations. The manuscript is organized into three emergent themes in water studies: agency of water, fluid identities, and cultural currencies. The first section deals with the properties of water and the ways in which water challenges human plans for control. The second section explores how water (or lack of it) shapes human collective and individual identities. The third engages notions of value and circulation to think about how water has been managed and employed for local, national, and international gains. Contributions come from preeminent as well as emerging voices across humanities fields including history, art history, philosophy, and science and technology studies. Part of a bigger goal for shaping the environmental humanities, the book broadens the concept of water to include not just water in oceans and rivers but also in pipes, ice floes, marshes, bottles, dams, and more. Each piece shows how humanities scholarship has world-changing potential to achieve more just water futures.