HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory

As every experienced fieldworker knows, the most difficult task in social anthropological fieldwork is to determine the meaning of a few key words, upon an understanding of which the success of the whole investigation depends. – E. E. Evans-Pritchard

HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, is an international peer-reviewed 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 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. By drawing out its potential to critically engage and challenge Western cosmological assumptions and conceptual determinations, HAU aims to provide an exciting new arena for evaluating ethnography as a daring enterprise for 'worlding' alien terms and forms of life, by exploiting their potential for rethinking humanity and alterity.

HAU takes its name from Mauss’ Spirit of the Gift, an anthropological concept that derives its theoretical potential precisely from the translational inadequations and equivocations involved in comparing the incomparable. Through their reversibility, such inferential misunderstandings invite us to explore how encounters with alterity occasion the resurgence and revisitation of indigenous knowledge practices. As an online journal, HAU stresses immediacy of publication, allowing for the timely publication and distribution of untimely ideas. Aiming to attract the most daring thinkers in the discipline, regardless of position or background, HAU also places no restriction on further publication of material published by the journal.

HAU welcomes submissions that strengthen ethnographic engagement with received knowledges, and revive the vibrant themes of anthropology through debate and engagement with other disciplines and explore domains held until recently to be the province of economics, philosophy and the natural sciences. Topics addressed by the journal include indigenous ontologies and systems of knowledge, forms of human engagement and relationality, cosmology and myth, magic, witchcraft and sorcery, truth and falsehood, indigenous theories of kinship and relatedness with humans and non-humans, hierarchy, materiality, perception, environment and space, time and temporality, personhood and subjectivity, alternative metaphysics of morality.

Free access journal
The University of Chicago Press publishes one free-access journal: HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. This model provides one month of free access after the release of each new issue, and then requires a subscription for continuous access to content. All HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory content published from 2011-2017 is open access.



CFP: HAU Special Issue, Witnessing Environmental Change, Deadline 30 June 2020


Proposals should be submitted by 30th June 2020

To inquire or submit a proposal, please contact the Special Issue guest editors:

Sarah Vaughn: sev83@berkeley.edu

Danny Fischer: dtfisher@berkeley.edu

Cc to Mariane C. Ferme: mcf@berkeley.edu

The call for proposals can be found here.

Posted: 2020-03-27 More...
More Announcements...

Vol 9, No 3 (2019)

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Material deceptions and the qualities of time
Deborah Durham, Mariane C. Ferme, Luiz Costa


Scott MacLochlainn
Santiago M. Cruzada, Esteban Ruiz-Ballesteros, Alberto del Campo Tejedor
Dominique Raby
Jeremy L. Jones
Erica Weiss, Nissim Mizrachi
Michael Alexander Ulfstjerne


Crafting “mafia”: Performative and material practices
Mariane C. Ferme
Deborah Puccio-Den
Michael Herzfeld
Jane Schneider
Marco Santoro
Harry Walker
Invisible things
Deborah Puccio-Den

Book Symposium

Staying with the subtlety of life in the oil complex
Amelia Fiske
Beyond the “dismal imagery”: Amerindian abdication, repulsion, and ritual opacity in extractivist South America
Juan Javier Rivera Andía
On ambivalence and aspiration in oil fields of the Ecuadorian Amazon
Angus Lyall
Ethical affordances against (gringo) paternalism
Santiago Giraldo
Oil on the water
Michael Watts
Theory, ethnography, and ethics in an indigenous phenomenology of oil
Michael L. Cepek

Unpublished Scholarship

What’s urgent in anthropology
Laura Nader


Introduction: The place of “The construction of the person in indigenous Brazilian societies” in Amazonian anthropology
Luiz Costa
The construction of the person in indigenous Brazilian societies
Anthony Seeger