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Gustaaf Houtman

David Marsden

Matthew Parsfield

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ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY provides a forum for the application of anthropological analysis to public and topical issues. - anthropology jobs

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Covers, AT December 2016, Volume 32, issue 6

Front and back cover caption, volume 33 issue 6Pillars supporting the Bank of England. The Bank of England has a small staff of regional agents assessing economic conditions in the field by means of a 'network' composed of 9,000 contacts in business and finance communities as well as in governmental and non-governmental…Continue

Tags: covers, 2016, December

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

BRIAN MOERAN Performing the EU referendum: A view from afar

This editorial makes use of the EU Referendum to discuss the presence of magic in contemporary societies. It analysis magic in terms of magicians, magical representations, and magical rites – as originally expounded by Malinowski and Mauss – and argues that magic is to be found not only in political activities, but also in the worlds of finance, medicine, law, media, and various forms of cultural production.Wiley…Continue

Tags: MOERAN, BRIAN, 2016, December, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

DOUGLAS R. HOLMES Central bank capitalism: Visible hands, audible voices

Central bankers can create money out of thin air; they can stop the misbehaviour of some of the most powerful institutions in the contemporary world – financial markets – in a matter of hours, if not minutes. In the era of central bank capitalism virtually every aspect of economic life has come under the sway of financial and monetary concerns. The author has focused on a particularly uncanny aspect of this regime: how central bankers endow the future with discernible features that we – the…Continue

Tags: R., HOLMES, DOUGLAS, 2016, December

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

DAROMIR RUDNYCKYJ Islamizing finance: From magical capitalism to a spiritual economy

Anthropological analyses of the assemblage of religious practice and economic action have often been viewed as evidence of mystification and have focused on the ‘occult’ dimensions of late capitalism. In contrast, this article approaches the magic of capitalism not in terms of occult or millennial practices, but rather as the tricks and sleight of hand techniques deployed by economic experts. The article describes how the initial iteration of Islamic finance in Malaysia relied on what experts…Continue

Tags: RUDNYCKYJ, DAROMIR, 2016, December, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

C. GARSTEN & A. SÖRBOM Magical formulae for market futures: Tales from the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos

Markets are often portrayed as being organized by way of rationalized knowledge, objective reasoning, and the fluctuations of demand and supply. In parallel, and often mixed with this modality of knowledge, magical beliefs and practices are prevalent. Business leaders, management consultants, and financial advisors are often savvy in the art of creatively blending the ‘objective facts’ of markets with magical formulae, rites, and imaginaries of the future. This article looks at the World…Continue

Tags: SÖRBOM, GARSTEN, 2016, December, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

DAVID A. WESTBROOK Magical contracts, numinous capitalism

Much of US social reality is constructed through contractual rituals, typically thought to be words that create enforceable relations. Such relations are backed by the power of the state and are said to exist on some plane above the empirical. Politically, we speak of a social contract. Economically, contracts lie at the heart of markets, and thus of a commercial society. But just how do individuals use words that construct a suprasensible reality which third parties must respect? Why do some…Continue

Tags: WESTBROOK, DAVID, 2016, December, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

GREG URBAN The magic of making money: A cultural flow perspective on profit

Conceptualized in terms of rational calculation and market logic, entrepreneurship appears as a straightforward matter of reckoning risks and rewards, assessing the prospects for profit. When viewed through an ethnographic lens, however, more mysterious – even ‘magical’ – aspects come into focus. This article explores the magical aspects through three case studies, each revealing a distinct process: symbolic efficacy, the conversion of words into things, and the ability to peer into the future.…Continue

Tags: URBAN, GREG, 2016, December, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.

CONFERENCES. JESSICA SYMONS When Brexit comes to anthropology

No abstract is available for this article.Wiley Online LibraryContinue

Tags: SYMONS, JESSICA, 2016, December, Conferences

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT DECEMBER 2016 Dec 23, 2016.


Blog Posts

New online anthropology course starts 29.02.2016

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 16, 2016 at 7:30 0 Comments

On 29 February, as part of a new initiative by University College London, a free five week e-learning course (MOOC) will start called Why we post: The anthropology of social media on the FutureLearn platform at

This is the first free major on-line course in anthropology by a European…


Leeds International Film Festival, Arctic Cinema, 9-13 November 2015

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on September 28, 2015 at 13:34 0 Comments

The Arctic is hot. Everywhere you turn these days, the Polar regions are making headlines: climate change, geopolitics, mining, tourism, trade. These topical issues are seriously affecting one of the planet’s most malleable regions. Researchers at the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University are collaborating with the Leeds International Film Festival ( to curate a week-long programme of Arctic cinema, showcasing films, talks and…


Real vampires?

Posted by Keira Dignan on September 22, 2015 at 13:41 0 Comments

Real life vampires’ must be met with ‘tolerance and respect’, writes Kim Wall for The Guardian, following a study conducted by sociologists DJ Williams and Emily Prior on ‘Fears of Coming out of the Coffin’. ‘Vampires’ are people who believe that they must ‘feed’ regularly from…


Paul Sillitoe in the news

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on August 17, 2015 at 13:00 0 Comments

Paul Sillitoe and Mako John Kuwimb's have jointly reported on the Jared Diamond vs New Yorker controversy. Paul Sillitoe is a highly regarded anthropologist expert on Papua New Guinea, and Mako John Kuwimb contributed a…


Scottish referendum - Ullrich Kockel

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on September 19, 2014 at 10:39 0 Comments

The people of Scotland have spoken, and the Prime Minister promises their voices will be heard. Following two years of campaigning generating unprecedented public participation and reaching previously disengaged group in large numbers, the referendum delivered a solid majority for Scotland remaining in the UK. According to opinion polls, the youngest voters were predominantly inclined to vote "no". On the night of polling day, one young man on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, having just voted "no",…


From 'Human Terrain' 'to Human Domain' - Another Pentagon concept?

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 19:00 0 Comments

Sisk, Richard 2013. 'Human Domain' Enters Future Army War Plans. News, 20 February 2013.

Keith Walker at AUSA 2012.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Army's core mission as the world's dominant land power must meld with the challenges posed by future conflicts that will increasingly be fought over "human terrain," senior Army officials…


Human Terrain continues

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 17:00 0 Comments

Hanley, Ken 2013. Op-Ed: Problematic Human Terrain System continues despite criticism. Digital Journal, 21 February

VandenBroek, T 2013. Army plows ahead with troubled war-zone program. USA Today, 21 February.



Akbar Ahmed on drones

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 18, 2013 at 11:00 0 Comments

American University professor Akbar Ahmed talked about his book, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam. He also talked about the debate over the use of drones by the Obama administration. This interview, recorded at American University in Washington, DC, was part of Book TV’s College Series.…


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ANTHCAL - Calendar of events as published in the last issue of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY

We try to avoid errors, but please check dates before making a special journey. Entries are best submitted with a current web address to which readers can refer for further details.


Chapman’s northern lights (to 04.12.2016); Stitch of a symbol - Insights into the textile journeys of Sheila Paine (to 12.02.2017); Embroidered visions: Photographs of Central Asia and the Middle East by Sheila Paine (to 30.4.2017). Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PP; tel. +44 (0)1865 270927;

South Africa: The art of a nation (to 26.2.2017); Courting to contract: Love and marrriage in Iran (to 20.11.2016); Shadow puppet theatre (to 29.1.2017); The American dream: Pop to the present (to 9.3.2017); Africa Gallery (permanent); Living and dying (permanent). British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG; tel. +44 (0)20 7323 8299 (information desk); whatson/exhibitions/index.html

Centenary gallery: 100 years of collecting (permanent). Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ; tel. +44(0)20 8699 1872; http://www.horniman.

Hide and seek: Looking for children in the past (to 29.01.2017); Carriers of culture: Women, food and power from the Congo Basin (to March 2017). Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ; tel +44 (0)1223 333516;

Fiji: Art and life in the Pacific (to 12.2.2017). Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ. tel +44 1603 593199;


2 Dec 2016 16.30 RAI research in progress: Natalia Garcia Bonet. The perennial expansion of the Venezuelan frontier (the school, the church and the government). RAI.

5 Dec 2016 18.00-20.00 RAI Presidential address by Andre Singer. Film screening - Sow the wind, followed by Q&A with director André Singer. Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW.

5-6 Dec 2016 ICLA2016: 18th international conference on legal anthropology. Hong Kong.

7 Dec 2016 18.00 First RAI photographic salon. Contact:

13-14 Dec 2016 Third conference on history of anthropology and the RAI: 1918-1945.

15 Dec 2016 17.30 Tourism seminar: Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong. Tourism planning for economic development and poverty reduction in Ghana.

15-16 Dec 2016 ICCA2016: International conference on digital anthropology. London.


12-13 Jan 2017 ICVA2017: 19th international conference on visual anthropology. Durban, South Africa.

16 Jan 2017 RAI tourism seminar 17.30 Xavier Font: Marketing sustainability: greenwashing or greenhushing?

30-31 Jan 2017 ICPAHA 2017: 19th International Conference on philosophy, archaeology, history and anthropology. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


16 Feb 2017 9.30 Reviewer meets reviewed: Dark side of travel. Jonathan Skiner vs Tony Johnston. Contact:

16-17 Feb 2017 ICLA 2017 : 19th international conference on linguistic anthropology. London.

MARCH 2017

28 Mar - 1 Apr 2017 SfAA 77th Annual Meeting. Trails, traditions and new directions. Santa Fe. https://

29 Mar - 1 Apr 2017 15th RAI Festival of ethnographic film. Watershed Cinema, Bristol.

MAY 2017

2-7 May 2017 IUAES Inter-congress, Ottawa, Canada. http://

31 May 2017 5.30 RAI research seminar. Aleksandar Bošković. William Robertson Smith’s influence on the ‘Myth and Ritual School’.’

JUNE 2017

13-15 Jun 2017 3rd Annual international conference on anthropology. Athens, Greece.

29 Jun 2017 London anthropology day. Clore Centre, British Museum.

JULY 2017

10-11 Jul 2017 The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference, University of Sussex. Deadline for proposals: 16 January 2017. Contact: Jessica Scantlebury on, or go to


13-14 Aug 2017 ICTA 2017: 21st international conference on tourism anthropology. Venice, Italy.


29 Nov - 3 Dec 2017 AAA annual meeting. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel & Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, DC


11-15 Dec 2017 Joint ASA/AAS/ASAANZ conference. Adelaide.


7-8 Feb 2018 ICAS 2017: 21st international conference on anthropology and sustainability. Mumbai, India.

JULY 2018

30 Jul - 3 Aug 2018 18th ICAES World Congress 2018. World (of) encounters: The past, present and future of anthropological knowledge. Florianópolis, Brazil.


14-18 Nov 2018 AAA Meeting. San Jose Convention Center San Jose, CA


20-24 Nov 2019 AAA annual meeting. Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver, BC, CAN


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