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 Marshall Sahlins and Paul Rabinow


We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Marshall Sahlins and Paul Rabinow, two of our most distinguished contemporary anthropologists. HAU has lost not only two friends but two champions of anthropological theory that grows out of ethnographic engagement—precisely the kind of scholarship HAU promotes. Most recently, Marshall Sahlins contributed to HAU books, co-authoring (with David Graeber) On Kings, a major reconsideration of the power, meaning, and role of this ubiquitous political type in premodern societies. Paul Rabinow (with Anthony Stavrianakis), contributed to a HAU Forum devoted to his work on the anthropology of the contemporary. We will miss Marshall and Paul, above all for their insights and scope and their courage to disagree and advance arguments.

Kriti Kapila, Anne-Christine Taylor, John Borneman, and Carlos D. Londoño Sulkin

Board of Directors, Society for Ethnographic Theory

Posted: 2021-04-09 More...
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Vol 11, No 1 (2021)

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Ethnographic stews: Decennial reflections
Luiz Costa, Raminder Kaur, Andrew B. Kipnis, Mariane C. Ferme

Special Issue: Fernando Ortiz: Caribbean and Mediterranean Counterpoints

Stephan Palmié
Gerard Horta
Consuelo Naranjo Orovio
Jeffrey S. Kahn
Glenn Bowman
Ramon Sarró
Jorge Pavez Ojeda
Sergio O. Valdés Bernal
Amanda Villepastour
Olívia Maria Gomes da Cunha
João Pina-Cabral
Roger Canals
Talking culture—revisited
Verena Stolcke
Verena Stolcke
Charles Stewart

Currents: Decolonizing Ethnographies

Raminder Kaur, Victoria Louisa Klinkert
Yasmeen Arif
Vineeta Sinha
Mwenda Ntarangwi
Abdellah Hammoudi
Olívia Maria Gomes da Cunha
Damani J. Partridge
Victoria Louisa Klinkert

Unedited Scholarship

Is Hagen compensation to Western restitution as gift is to commodity?
Warren Thompson
Marilyn Strathern

Book Symposium

The violence and promise of infrastructural discards
Rosalind Fredericks
Occupation by other means
Amahl Bishara
On sieges, boundaries, and military creep
Kali Rubaii
Waste as weapon, life as resistance
Munira Khayyat
Enduring waste: Subjects and objects of siege
Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins


Andrew B. Kipnis
Anthropological overseas ethnographies and the development of Chinese social science
Gao Bingzhong, Andrew B. Kipnis
Overseas ethnography and globalized society
Gao Bingzhong