Anthropological Optimism : Engaging the Power of What Could Go Right book cover
1st Edition

Anthropological Optimism
Engaging the Power of What Could Go Right

Edited By

Anna J. Willow

  • Available for pre-order on April 4, 2023. Item will ship after April 25, 2023
ISBN 9781032386447
April 25, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book theorizes the role of optimism in anthropological thinking, research, writing, and practice. It sets out to explore optimism’s origins and implications, its conceptual and practical value, and its capacity to contribute to contemporary anthropological aims. In an era of extensive ecological disruption and social distress, this volume contemplates how an optimistic anthropology can energize the discipline while also contributing to bettering the lives, communities, and environments of those we study. It brings together scholars diverse in background, career stage, and theoretical approach in a collective attempt to comprehend the myriad intersections of anthropology and optimism. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have recently underscored the larger, longer-term catastrophes of climate change, ecosystemic collapse, social injustice, and antipathy towards scientific knowledge and those who produce it. In this context, exceedingly few anthropologists feel comfortable observing and documenting passively while their research communities face unrelenting waves of (un)natural disasters. We need to act. But we also need to hope. Discontent with the state of the world and cultural anthropology’s turn to increasingly positive, future-oriented, and engaged work have converged to unleash a courageously optimistic anthropology. This book is a timely springboard for this impactful and emergent approach.

Table of Contents

1. A World Made Safe for (Future) Difference: Anthropology and Utopian Possibility  2. Vertiginous Optimism: Optimistic Orientations in a Field of Chronic Crisis  3. "Moving On and Moving Up": Productive Angles of Exploring Optimism  4. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Planting Optimism in a Disrupted Ecology  5. Indigenous Optimism in the Colonialcene  6. Putting the Pieces in Place: Optimistic Futuring in Transition Culture  7. Optimism at Scale: Exploring Everyday Activism in Atlanta’s Alternative Food Networks  8. Fusing Outrage and Hope into Acts of Resistance, Volunteerism, and Allyships  9. Optimistic Anthropology in the Work of Systems Changemakers 10. China 2060: Envisioning a Human-Centered Approach to Energy Transition  11. Doing Anthropology Forward: Emerging Technologies and Possible Futures

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Anna J. Willow is Professor of Anthropology at The Ohio State University, USA.