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The Anthropology of History

About the Series

Anthropologists have taken apart Western assumptions about Law, Economics and Religion in order to overcome ethnocentrism in the study of these domains in other societies. The category of History, however, has not been subjected to such treatment. Although anthropologists and historians have collaborated to produce a large and vibrant subfield of ‘History and Anthropology’, they have tended to be guided by a readymade model of history. There has been little systematic reflection on the Western commonsense idea of history, nor much focus on the particular assumptions about the past that animate other societies. With this book series, we are calling for a new orientation that will concentrate squarely on how people, whether far away or within our own society, establish relationships with the past.

Examples of such alternative historicities (culturally particular ways of relating to the past) include spirit possession, popular genealogy and genomics, rituals ranging from shamanic practices to Easter processions, reenactments, and video gaming among many other possibilities. The editors invite monographs that approach the question of history through historical research, ethnography, cultural studies or other relevant methodologies. The past may be experienced through various senses and genres including music, drama, film and digital media thereby making the Anthropology of History a wide domain of interdisciplinary collaboration extending beyond Anthropology and History to approaches from Music, Art, Archaeology, Drama, and STS.

4 Series Titles

Per Page

Spirited Histories Technologies, Media, and Trauma in Paranormal Chile

Spirited Histories: Technologies, Media, and Trauma in Paranormal Chile

1st Edition


By Diana Espírito Santo
August 10, 2022

Spirited Histories combines ethnography with critical theory to provide a sophisticated exploration of the intersection of haunting and the paranormal with technology, media, and history. Retrieving the past in places of trauma and death can take on many facets. One of these is an attention to ...

Ancestral Presence Cosmology and Historical Experience in the Papuan Highlands

Ancestral Presence: Cosmology and Historical Experience in the Papuan Highlands

1st Edition

By Eric Hirsch
December 29, 2020

Ancestral Presence tells a history that has more than one history in it while also telling the story of the relation between worlds. For the Fuyuge people of the Papuan highlands, the past is not ‘history’ in a conventional sense. For them, the world and its history derive from a creator force ...

Bad Christians, New Spains Muslims, Catholics, and Native Americans in a Mediterratlantic World

Bad Christians, New Spains: Muslims, Catholics, and Native Americans in a Mediterratlantic World

1st Edition

By Byron Ellsworth Hamann
November 14, 2019

This book centers on two inquisitorial investigations, both of which began in the 1540s. One involved relations of Europeans and Native Americans in the Oaxacan town of Yanhuitlán (in New Spain, today’s Mexico). The other involved relations of Moriscos (recent Muslim converts to Catholicism) and ...

The Varieties of Historical Experience

The Varieties of Historical Experience

1st Edition

Edited By Stephan Palmié, Charles Stewart
March 27, 2019

This book considers how history is not just objectively lived but subjectively experienced by people in the process of orienting their present toward the past. It analyses affectivity in historical experience, examines the digital mediation of history, and assesses the current politics of competing...

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