Savageminds Summer Reading Circle

To celebrate Savagemind’s one year anniversary I’d like to try to implement an idea that we’ve thrown around on the site for some time — a reading group. I’m hoping this will really take off since it is now summer and perhaps we have free time?

Unless any of the other Minds object or have some other ideas, I’d like to propose we proceed as following: I’ll keep checking this post for a week — in the comments please provide lists of books you’d like to read with us. So far the two books that have been suggested have been

Worker in the Cane, Sydney Mintz
Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World, James Ferguson

Please leave other suggestions. After 27 -March- May I’ll make a decision about which of the books we should read based on the discussion we’ll have in the comments here. I’ll then give people a week or two to get the book. After that we can read one chapter a week. At the beginning of the week I’ll post some thoughts and then we can discuss in the comments. I’ve tried this sort of arrangement in real life and I find one chapter a week to be pretty doable. At this speed we can get through it in time to get ready for the fall.

So — what books would you all suggest or vote for?


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

13 thoughts on “Savageminds Summer Reading Circle

  1. “The Bovine Mystique” is one of my favorite articles, so I vote for Ferguson, even though I haven’t kept up with his more recent work.

    We could also consider doing articles instead of or in addition to books.

  2. Even though (or perhaps because) they have both been dumped on in SM posts, The Network Inside Out and Mutual, Inc would make good candidates, I think. Both seem like the kind of book that would really profit from a group reading/discussion – plus it would be more fun with snide remarks about style and whatnot. Seriously, though, isn’t one advantage to a reading group dealing with tough but intersting material that you might not have the energy to get through yourself? Both also seem to be on various people’s agenda.

    Just a thought…

  3. I don’t have any specific ideas along this line, so this suggestion may die but would it be worth including one recently translated work, just to have something that was produced outside the sphere of anglophone anthropology?

  4. I don’t know if it fits what you are looking for, but because of the interest in public anthropology:

  5. Just a note: I have ordered Ferguson, so if the choice goes that way I should be set, too. (Unless that is, my first grandchild is born before the book arrives in Japan. We’re at 38 weeks and counting.)

  6. Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

    The Sources of the Self, Charles Taylor

  7. I, for one, would be happy to contribute to a discussion of Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self. Have been trying to get a discussion of the book going on lit-ideas.

  8. I’ve already voted, but Sources of the Self and the ET Cultures would both be really good, too.

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