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 14, No 1 (2024)

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Ethnographies of the unseen
Raminder Kaur, Adeline Masquelier, Luiz Costa, Louisa Lombard

Special Section: Divine Presence: Muslim Ontologies, Anthropology, Transcendence

Fabio Vicini, Lili Di Puppo
Fabio Vicini
Maria Louw
Ismail Fajrie Alatas
Lili Di Puppo
Annika Schmeding
Joel Robbins

Special Section: Home-Making in the Muslim Diaspora Part I

Leonardo Schiocchet, Marzia Balzani
Leonardo Schiocchet
Zoltan Pall
Marta Scaglioni, Eslam ElBahlawan
Raquel Carvalheira
Sanderien Verstappen

Research Articles

Ehsan Estiri
Summer Qassim
Michael Degani

Book Symposium - In the shadow of the palms: More-than-human becomings in West Papua (Sophie Chao)

Plantation capitalism as categorical violence
Sarah Besky
Learning about “human”
Rupert Stasch
If oil palm is an agent in West Papua, it is a White agent
Rosa Cavalcanti Ribas Vieira
Practicing restraint
Marilyn Strathern
Grey zones of the imagination
Shaila Seshia Galvin
Of sago, songs, and stories
Alice Rudge
People, plants, plantations: Responses and reflections
Sophie Chao

Film Symposium - Persona Perpetua (Javier Bellido Valdivia)

An anathema for memory loss
Arnd Schneider
Litany of ghosts
Caterina Pasqualino
Materiality, caring, and body memory in Bellido Valdivia’s Perpetual Person
Giuliana Borea
Haptic experiments: Filming the person behind the illness
Alyssa Grossman
Cinematic accompaniment and care in later life in Latin America
Jorge Núñez
Portrayal of the vital world of a person living with Alzheimer’s, drawing on a close and intimate case
Javier Bellido Valdivia

Book Symposium - She speaks her anger: Myths and conversations of Gimi women (Gillian Gillison)

“We are the same”: Murdered Gimi women and Freud’s Totem and taboo
Juliet Mitchell
Gillison’s gift
Jadran Mimica
On Gillian Gillison’s primal aggression
John Morton
She speaks her anger: Myths and conversations of Gimi women
Gillian Gillison