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 3 (2023)

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Spotlight on the liminal dividend
Louisa Lombard, Luiz Costa, Raminder Kaur, Adeline Masquelier, Andrew Kipnis


Ramon Sarró

Special Section: Ethical Pedagogies and/of Relationality

Erica M. Larson
Annie McCarthy
Julius Bautista
Emily Zoe Hertzman
Bernardo Brown
Claire-Marie Hefner
Anu K Antony, Rowena Robinson
Helle Rydstrom


Quincy Amoah


Reflections on signs and sacrifice: A response to Quincy Amoah
John G. Galaty
“Imagination is a tree”: A response to John Galaty
Quincy Amoah
Iconizing ikona: A response to Quincy Amoah’s Karimojong rebus
Michael Herzfeld
The semantics of akisemem: A response to Michael Herzfeld
Quincy Amoah


Matteo (Teo) Benussi, Tommaso Manzon
Bradford James Garvey

Film Symposium

Introduction: A Film Symposium on the 30th Anniversary of Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993) by Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)
Faye Ginsburg
The Oka crisis: The power of a woman with a movie camera
Audra Simpson, Faye D. Ginsburg
Creation stories: Carrying our elders of Indigenous media
Ikaika Ramones
Fifty years of resistance on film: First Nations media and a cinema of sovereignty
Nathaniel Cummings-Lambert

Book Symposium

The collideroscopic sensorium
David Howes
Untitled: A rejoinder to Expanded visions
Theodor Barth
Mirroring mirrors: Mimetic responses to expanded visions
Brian Karl
Expanding visual practices—Destabilizing ethnographic knowledge
Eckehard Pistrick
Beyond breadth: The tyranny of empty noise
Patrick Laviolette
Expanded visions and beyond
Arnd Schneider