Journal of ethography theory

PostPosted by francoise » 04 Nov 2011, 17:09

*** Please circulate widely ***
*** Sincere apologies for cross-posting ***

HAU, JOURNAL OF ETHNOGRAPHIC THEORY!/haujournal ... 1187763663

Editors in Chief: Giovanni da Col (Cambridge) and Justin Shaffner (Mary Washington University)
Managing Editor: Stephane Gros (CNRS)
Editor-at-Large: David Graeber (Goldsmiths)
Associate Editor: Rachel Douglas Jones (Durham)
Editorial Assistants: Philip Swift, Mylene Hengen (EHESS), Harriet Boulding (SOAS)

Dear Colleagues, Dear All,

HAU will be launching this November. Our fine inaugural issue includes a themed section on Archaeologies of Kin(g)ship, edited by Giovanni da Col (Cambridge) and Stephane Gros (CNRS), and contributions by Marshall Sahlins, David Graeber, Chris Gregory, Roy Wagner, Annemarie Mol, Laura Nader and others.  The issue will also present an extraordinary series of inedited, newly translated and reprinted manuscripts by Edmund Leach, Marilyn Strathern, Maurice Godelier, Julian Pitt-Rivers amongst others.

The inaugural issue shall also announce the foundation of HAU-N.E.T., Network of Ethnographic Theory, an international network of research institutions and anthropology departments supporting the journal and the two affiliated book series: Masterclass and Classics in Ethnographic Theory.

If you are attending the AAA meeting in Montreal stay tuned for an informal HAU gathering on Friday 18th in the evening. Further details to be announced on HAU, Twitter, Facebook and the website.

Open the attachment, circulate, print, post on your blog or facebook.

Spread the news.

We are coming soon.


HAU, Journal of Ethnographic Theory, is a new, international, peer-reviewed, open-access and copyleft journal which aims to situate ethnography as the prime heuristic of anthropology, and return it to the forefront of conceptual developments in the discipline.

The Editorial Board includes Marshall Sahlins, Philippe Descola,Caroline Humphrey, Jeanne Favret-Saada, Keith Hart, Bruno Latour, Annemarie Mol, Joel Robbins, Maurice Godelier, Terry Turner, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Stephen Gudeman, Bruce Kapferer, Signe Howell, Yunxiang Yan and many others.

The idea for the Journal arose from two concerns that we think have made anthropology partially stagnant in recent decades. The first relates to the increased relevance allocated in the discipline to philosophical and social theory at the expense of ethnography, and the second to the wider crisis in academic publishing and the possibilities afforded by the digital revolution and the recent open-access initiatives in the humanities.
Hau welcomes submissions that strengthen ethnographic engagement with received knowledges, and revive the vibrant themes of anthropology through debate and engagement with other disciplines, exploring domains held until recently to be the province of economics, philosophy and the natural sciences. The journal is motivated by the need to reinstate ethnographic theorization in contemporary anthropology as a potent alternative to its ‘explanation’ or ‘contextualization’ by philosophical arguments, moves which have resulted in a loss of the discipline’s distinctive theoretical nerve.
HAU shall also include non-peer review sections for special essays (i.e. lectures or inedited manuscripts) and two further section for translations and reprinting of classics of ethnographic theory.

Anthropology remains without an open-access peer-review journal and press for the 21st century. Following novel examples of open-access initiatives of scholarly excellence such as Open Humanities Press ( and Open Biology ( ... n-Biology/) HAU aims to become the forefront open-access initiative in anthropology and promote scholarly excellence through a vision of democratic and inexpensive publishing, respectful of the constraints the discipline is encountering in the current financial climate. HAU - being free from printing constraints - guarantees quick processing of submitted manuscripts, double blind peer-review, international exposure and a top-notch editorial board of advisors and reviewers.  HAU aims to publish online suitable manuscripts between 5 to 10 months from their receipt (on condition of approval through reviews) and is a 'copyleft' journal, not retaining any rights on the submitted manuscripts.  

" access journals should receive all our support. Especially established academics who do not need to ‘score points’ with ‘fancy’ publications would do well to contribute to open access journals so as to increase their reputation. If we all do it consistently, the day will come when publishing in a highly regarded open access journal will give you more ‘points’ than publishing in one of the overpriced journals published commercially."

Catarina Dutil Novahes ... itism.html


I am strongly in favor of the laudable double aims of Hau: open access (via internet) and the grounding of anthropological knowledge in and as ethnography. Especially I respect the notion that we cannot know the novel cosmologies of others by the received philosophies of ours.

– Marshall Sahlins, Charles F. Grey Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Chicago

The fact that there is no prestigious open access journal in the field of anthropology is surely a disservice to the profession, and Hau stands to correct that.

– Christopher M. Kelty, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Contemporary anthropology often seems a discipline determined to commit suicide. Where once we drew our theoretical terms – "totem," "taboo," "mana," "potlatch" – from ethnography, causing Continental thinkers from Ludwig Wittgenstein to Sigmund Freud and Jean-Paul Sartre to feel the need to weigh in on the resulting debates, we have now reduced ourselves to the scholastic dissection of terms drawn from Continental philosophy (deterritorialization, governmentality, bare life...) - and nobody else cares what we have to say about them. And honestly, why should they - if they can just as easily read Deleuze, Agamben, or Foucault in the original? A project like Hau is exactly what's needed to begin to reverse this bizarre self-strangulation. It is a journal that dares to defy the Great Man theory of intellectual history, to recognize that most ordinary human beings, the world over, have just as much to say about love, time, power, and dilemmas of human existence as any paid philosophers, and that sometimes, their reflections can be decidedly more interesting. It proposes anthropologists return to the kind of conversations with which we began, except this time, as equals, and that we have a moral responsibility to make the results freely available to everyone, the world over.

– David Graeber, Reader, Goldsmiths College London

I wish to second David Graeber's trenchant remarks. And would just add a comment about delusion. There are so many ways in which we 'know' people these days, and we seem to inform one another so quickly, the delusion is that anthropology can side-step its own project of engagement. Anthropologists really have nothing to offer if they cannot demonstrate the difference it makes to understand relations through the relationships they are involved with. Here Hau opens a window to theoretical reflection – and to ways of knowing that are not reducible to information-gathering. This could not be more important.

– Dame Marilyn Strathern, Professor, University of Cambridge

The proposal for the new journal Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory is the most original such proposal I have seen in some years. It fills a real gap among journals in anthropology by focusing on the link between ethnography and theory. It is widely observed that anthropology has moved in the last two decades from being a field that exports important theoretical developments to other disciplines to being one that mostly seeks theoretical inspiration from the outside. I think this kind of journal, one that insists that we attend to and begin to rethink the crucial links between our very original methods of research and our theoretical potential is exactly the kind of forum that is needed to reawaken the discipline from its theoretical slumbers. I am confident that even in a world in which the field of new journals grows every more crowded, this one will stand out. It should very quickly attract important and first class work and go on to have a major impact on the discipline for years to come.

– Joel Robbins, Professor and Chair, University of California, San Diego

I see anthropology as one of the major players in today's intellectual landscape, and precisely to the extent that it has decided to engage directly in a conceptually determining way with classic so-called philosophical problems, rather than being forced to express those problems unreflectively and implicitly. What is distinctive about anthropology's engagement with its own cultural (philosophical) tradition, however, is its reliance on an epistemological relation – a cosmopolitical alliance – with what has been "constitutively" excluded from that tradition, and which may as well be located inside as outside its historical and geopolitical limits. This excluded element is the subject-matter of what is usually called "ethnography" – the description of the myriad ways and sundry means of people's ontological self-determination: the intelligence of life. Anthropology is the effort to think through ethnography, in other words, to think with those thinking practices which are in perpetual insurrection against the colonization of the mind. So anthropological practice is ethnographic theory. No word expresses this better than Hau, the spirit of the relation, the gift of the concept, the felicitous equivocation.

–  Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Professor, Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro

A journal that restores the ethnographic ground of anthropological thinking, that insists on the anthropological attitude that all human practice whatever and wherever must be explored with the seriousness it deserves and without prejudice or privilege, is long overdue. Furthermore, this journal offers an immediacy of debate and discussion, and within a broad field of anthropological practitioners, which is to be facilitated through its means of publication and dissemination. This is an idea that that should have catalytic effect for the excitement and import of the discipline.

– Bruce Kapferer, Professor, University of Bergen

Returning us to the high goals and achievements of anthropology, Hau brings to the profession ethnography that is theoretically inspired and theory that is kindled by the finest ethnography. Comparative yet critical, peer-reviewed and open to all, its creative intervention is especially welcome at this time of financial and intellectual challenges.

– Stephen Gudeman, Professor, University of Minnesota

By seeking to re-install ethnography into the generative core of anthropological theorizing, Hau promises to re-configure our intellectual debates radically.

– Michael Scott, Lecturer, London School of Economics

I enthusiastically support the project of a journal such as Hau: for its accessibility of course (online and open to every reader), but even more so for the specific matter it intends to deal with: revivify anthropological theory on the basis of ethnography. The most decisive level, in my opinion, is that of our so-called "analytical concepts", which are most of the time no more than terms of the ordinary speech, heavily loaded with ambiguities. What are we talking about when we pretend to work on "belief", on a "tribe", on "witchcraft", on "identity"? What do the "social relationships" of people we talk about consist of exactly? To refer them to terms which are a century old does not do the job of describing them anymore – if they ever described them at all. The societies in which we live, and in which those we visit live in themselves, can neither be apprehended through the ancient categories, nor through the general categories of our current theories (globalisation, etc.). Deeply questioning our so-called concepts, a journal such as Hau could be a prelude to a needed renewal of the ethnographic gaze.

– Jeanne Favret-Saada, Directeur d’Etudes, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris.

I am completely supportive of the aims of this journal. In particular I welcome the interest in republishing and reassessing early ethnographic and theoretical texts. From a Pacific perspective there is a wonderfully rich archive – Hocart, Layard and F. E. Williams spring to mind, but there are many others – that should remain salient to us, as it is increasingly valued by Pacific scholars and communities. I am excited too by Hau's publishing model. Journals should not be cash cows for commercial behemoths. The open-source approach is surely now the only one consistent with anthropology's democratic and cosmopolitan ethics.

– Nicholas Thomas, Director of the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology and Professor of Historical Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Hau offers a breath of fresh air, both intellectually and through its publishing principles. The insistence that ethnography has something distinctive to offer to others’ conceptual debates, whether or not they are part of the continental philosophical tradition, is enormously important. Ethnographic work always carries the potential to open out the field of what it is possible to think, and often pokes fun at whatever might be anthropologists’ current most cherished assumptions. Perhaps one of the more recent assumptions has been that ethnography and theory should be separated, making it easy to wrap fieldwork in whatever locally available conceptual stuff happens to be around the ethnographer's workplace. Then again, maybe this is not new: perhaps anthropologists always “plug the dikes of their most needed beliefs with whatever mud they can find,” as Geertz put it (in Local Knowledge, 1983: 80), a habit not limited to anthropologists. Either way, Hau provides an opportunity to take an ethnographically-informed critical look at these practices, and that promises to generate anthropology at its best.

– Sarah Green, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

The institution-bound publication system was – and in many cases still is – embedded in our ways of ethnographic thinking. It may also have ruined them. Through the collective endeavour of a new generation of thinkers, HAU, the 'spirit of the gift' offers a gift of the view from afar to today's researchers. Ethnographers from China and its environs contribute 'novel cosmologies of others' to anthropology with their ethnographies, and will continue to do so in a spirit of HAU.

– Chen Bo, Associate Professor, Tibetology Centre and Institution of Anthropology at Sichuan University, China

As soon as Hau came to my attention, I was attracted to both its concept and vision. We need a journal that addresses the time-honored topics that have made anthropology so rich and distinct from other social disciplines, while at the same time probing, questioning, and revising the discipline’s old concepts in light of the new situations and phenomena brought about by globalization and millennial capitalism. Only by going back to our discipline’s roots with fresh eyes and new tools will we be able to avoid becoming a marginal branch of sociology, a poor cousin of philosophy or, worse still, a bland form of literary criticism.

– Fernando Santos Granero, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
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