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 Bruno Latour


We mourn the death of Bruno Latour in Paris on the 9th of October. A prolific, unclassifiable and ceaselessly inventive author, Bruno Latour produced work that sits at the crossroads of philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and art – and is always grounded in detailed empirical descriptions of the ways in which humans interact with each other, with ideas, with institutions, and with surrounding non-human entities in given contexts. Though he is best known for his groundbreaking essay We Have Never Been Modern (1993) – probably the most implicitly quoted book in all contemporary social science – and for his revolutionary studies of science and technology (Laboratory Life, with S. Woolgar, 1979; Aramis ou l’amour des techniques, 1992; The pasteurization of France, 2001), Latour also wrote about sociology and what it should be (La sociologie en action, 1989; Reassembling the Social, 2005), the production of law (La fabrique du droit, 2002), faith and religious discourse (Jubiler, 2002), the work of the public in democracy (Le public fantôme, 2008), and a neglected philosophical magnum opus An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2012). Driven by his deep concern over the current climate crisis, Latour spent the last decade inventing new ways of getting people to engage in the front of political ecology, from theatrical performances, via exhibitions and experimental workshops in rural communities, to his final books (Face à Gaïa, 2015; Où atterrir? 2017; Où suis-je? 2021). His work has been widely translated, and most of his books have been published in English by Harvard University Press. Bruno Latour’s many friends across the world will remember above all his boundless generosity of spirit, his love of scientific practice, and his enthusiastic embrace of all forms of creativity.


Posted: 2022-10-11 More...
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Vol 13, No 1 (2023)

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Magic, metaphysics, and methods
Raminder Kaur, Louisa Lombard, Luiz Costa, Andrew B. Kipnis, Adeline M. Masquelier


Chris Hann


Marcus McGee
Edgar Tasia
Indira Arumugam
Ritambhara Hebbar
Sumbul Farah
Maruška Svašek
Charles H. P. Zuckerman
Michael Schnegg
Ksenia Pimenova
Rodrigo Perez Toledo, L. L. Wynn
María Antonieta Guzmán-Gallegos

Book Symposium

Scales of subversion
Jatin Dua
Is subversion just another version of state aversion? Notes on Herzfeld’s Subversive archaism
Erik Harms
Trad nationalist a/effects
Sarah Riccardi-Swartz
The perils of national narratives
James C. Scott
Subversive comparisons
Katerina Rozakou
On resistance and pluriversal voices of subversive archaism
Pinkaew Laungaramsri
Comparisons and contradictions: The tactics of subversive archaism in anthropology and the nation-state
Michael Herzfeld