HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory

HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, is an international peer-reviewed, partly open-access journal that appears in both digital and print format. It aims to take 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 desire to reinstate ethnographic theorization in contemporary anthropology as an alternative to explanation or contextualization by philosophical arguments--moves which have resulted in a loss of the discipline's distinctive theoretical nerve. By drawing out anthropology’s potential to critically engage and challenge its own cosmological assumptions and concepts, HAU aims to provide an exciting new arena for evaluating ethnography as a daring enterprise for worlding alien terms and forms of life, exploring  their potential for rethinking humanity, self, and alterity.

HAU takes its name from a Māori concept, whose controversial translations—and the equivocations to which they gave rise—have generated productive theoretical work in anthropology, reminding us that our discipline exists in tension with the incomparable and the untranslatable. Through their reversibility, such inferential misunderstandings invite us to explore how encounters with alterity can render intelligible a range of diverse knowledge practices. In its online version, HAU stresses immediacy of publication, allowing for the timely publication and distribution of untimely ideas. The journal aims to attract the most daring thinkers in the discipline, regardless of position or background.

HAU welcomes submissions that strengthen ethnographic engagement with received knowledges, 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 sciences. Topics addressed by the journal include, among others, diverse ontologies and epistemologies, forms of human engagement and relationality, cosmology and myth, magic, witchcraft and sorcery, truth and falsehood, science and anti-science, art and aesthetics, theories of kinship and relatedness with humans and non-humans, power, hierarchy, materiality, perception, environment and space, time and temporality, personhood and subjectivity, and the metaphysics of morality and ethics.

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.



In memoriam Jane Guyer


We mourn the death of Jane Guyer in Davis, California on the 17th of January, at the age of 80. Endlessly inventive and singularly esteemed, Jane Guyer reshaped the landscape of economic anthropology over several decades with her unexpected combinations of economic theory and in situ social research. She could make subfields and the bridges between disciplines flourish with a single lecture or case study, exemplified by her major work Marginal Gains (2004) delivered as Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures.

Launching her ideas into multiple intellectual spaces from her initial fieldwork in the rural areas around Yaoundé and Ibadan, and later from Nigeria as whole during periods of structural adjustment and military rule, Guyer’s findings were magically precise and offered insights into practically every detectable element in economic thinking and acting elsewhere. The “Guyer view” fostered an open and relatable grasp of the imperial and postcolonial economy, capturing the precision, chaos and poignancy of many eras, and the paradox that despite learning and cognitive yearning, new economic horizons could barely be grasped.

Her careful and affirmative writings on the history and epistemology of anthropology are revered amongst those who hope and try to know ethnographically as well. HAU celebrated her intellect and tried to share it by publishing her Munro Lecture (“The Quickening of the Unknown,” 2013) and Frazer Lecture (“Aftermaths and Recuperations in Anthropology,” 2017). Her first edited collection on money, Money Matters (1994), catalyzed a highly productive field of study, and we wish her co-edited collections published in HAU, including “A Joyful History of Anthropology” (2016) and “The Real Economy” (2017) the same fate. Also her translations of Marcel Mauss, especially “Joking Relations,” and her authoritative expanded edition of The Gift (HAU Books, 2016), are treasured contributions. Colleagues and friends worldwide will fondly remember Jane Guyer for her deep commitment to deciphering human economic behavior, and her keen nurturing of a next generation of scholars. She was a tireless networker among younger anthropologists from the Global South, especially those from African and Latin American regions. Her legacy will be real and undoubtedly continue to shape and inspire many fields of study for generations to come.

Posted: 2024-01-22 More...
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Vol 13, No 2 (2023)

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Appearance, disappearance, transience
Louisa Lombard, Andrew B. Kipnis, Luiz Costa, Raminder Kaur, Adeline Masquelier


From busting cults to breeding cults: Anonymous h/acktivism vs. the (a)nonymous far right and QAnon
E. Gabriella Coleman

Currents: Lockdown in Shanghai and Beyond: China’s Zero-Covid snd Its Discontents

Minhua Ling, Juan Zhang
Juan Zhang
Yiling Liu
N. W.
Yi Kang
Minhua Ling
Yifeng Troy Cai, Katherine A. Mason
B. L.
Jun Zhang


Quincy Amoah
Kali Rubaii, Saiba Varma
Minh T. N. Nguyen


Virgínia Amaral
Manuela Carneiro da Cunha
Sergio Dalla Bernardina
Pascale Absi