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Author Dialogues

Some of the most clarifying scholarly moments come in casual conversation, where the serious work of hanging out and hashing things out can happen. Rather than an author-meets-critics session, this is a place for an engaged and informed reader to ask all of the follow-up questions that every great book or article leaves us with.

On “Extracting Accountability”: Nazli Azergun in Dialogue with Jessica Smith

In her recent book, Extracting Accountability, Jessica Smith focuses on the experiences of petroleum and mining engineers to answer an important question: How do these professionals, who represent and operationalize capitalism’s extractive logic on a daily basis, reconcile their conflicting loyalties to their managers, shareholders, communities, and their ideals? This interview focuses on some of the most important points in the book, such as the pitfalls of stakeholderism. It also presents Smith’s perspective on the intertwining of biography and ethnography, the politics of engineering education and anthropologists’ relevance in it, as well as green energy transition and the conundrum of creating green jobs.

Greening, Browning, and the Myth of Sustainability: A Conversation with Melissa Checker and Brie Berry

In her book, The Sustainability Myth: Environmental Gentrification and the Politics of Justice (2020, NYU Press), Melissa Checker explores the drivers and consequences of environmental gentrification in New York City. Based on ethnographic work with community activists in and beyond Staten Island, Checker traces the process through which sustainability programs and policies lead to “greening” in some (privileged, wealthy) communities and “browning” in others.

On “Making Global MBAs”: Nazli Azergun in Dialogue with Andrew Orta

In his 2019 book, Making Global MBAs: The Culture of Business and the Business of Culture, Andrew Orta delves into the world of the MBA education—one of the most prestigious of graduate programs in the United States and the world—to show how they engage with and incorporate culture in their professional practice. In revealing how MBAs convert unique cultural specificities into manageable risk factors, Orta also surveys the history of business education and critiques its streamlining disposition towards a complex world and its problems. In this piece, Nazli Azergun converses with Andrew Orta on navigating business settings as an anthropologist, delicacies of conducting ethnographies in organizations, dialogues across sub-fields of anthropology, and the current condition of universities under neoliberal governance regimes.

On “Asian America” and Multiracial Solidarity: A Conversation between Jong Bum Kwon and Elizabeth Hanna Rubio

How are transgressive multiracial coalitions built and sustained? What are the affective and epistemological limits of individually-oriented “how-to” anti-racism work? With an ethnographic focus on Black-Asian solidarity work, what impasses in collective identity emerge to beg the question, what is Asian America? Home/Field brought Jong Bum Kwon and Elizabeth Hanna Rubio into conversation to discuss these and more themes, based on Rubio’s recent publication in Journal for the Anthropology of North America.

I’m Afraid of that Water: A Collaborative Ethnography of a West Virginia Water Crisis

JANA Book Review Co-Editor Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth zoomed in for a conversation with the co-editors and contributors of I’m Afraid of that Water: A Collaborative Ethnography of a West Virginia Water Crisis (West Virginia University Press 2020) to talk about the practice of collaborative ethnography and working as a collaborative team in face of this disaster.

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