What Are You Reading This Summer?


The semester is nearly complete, and summer is upon us. After finishing my first year in graduate school, I have this to say: I had no idea that I was capable of reading so much so quickly. Wow.

And yet, there were many things that I wanted to read and could not fit into those tiny pockets of “free” time. You know what I’m talking about, right? You get that itch that says, “If only there were more hours in a day, I would totally pick that book up!” And reading Carole’s Ethnographic Theory syllabus is not helping matters.

So I need to keep this momentum going; here is my summer reading list for 2015. It serves a few purposes, so it has to be somewhat calculated. This time next year, I’ll need to turn in a substantial literature review that gestures (somehow) toward my dissertation research/proposal, so now is the time to ramp up my consumption of readings that will contribute to it. There are also some things that I feel like reading, because “How have I gone this long without reading that” (e.g. Nietzsche)? One is out of sheer curiosity (i.e. Bennett). A few things I’ve read in the past, but I’d like to revisit with a full year of graduate social theory seminars under my belt (e.g. Foley, Fullwiley). And I owe Duke University Press a review (i.e. Starn; coming soon!). Naturally, this does not include the rapidly growing list of articles – classics, landmarks, and brand new publications – that I’ll need to whittle away.

In order (by nothing other than a sense of urgency, I guess):

Starn, Orin. 2015. Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 2012. The Genealogy of Morals. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.

Foley, Ellen E. 2010. Your Pocket is What Cures You: The Politics of Health in Senegal. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

Fullwiley, Duana. 2012. The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Patterson, Donna A. 2015. Pharmacy in Senegal: Gender, Healing, and Entrepreneurship. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Amselle, Jean-Loup. 1998. Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.

Roitman, Janet L. 2014. Anti-Crisis. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Piot, Charles. 2010. Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rapp, Rayna. 2000. Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America. New York: Routledge.

Bennett, Jane. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.

Of course this list may change, but this is the goal I’m setting. It could probably be much longer, but I think this is a safe amount given that I’ll be in the field for two months, and I can never predict how much time I have to read while I’m there.

So what are you reading this summer? (Got any suggestions?) Will you take books to the field? (And if so, how do you allot the time to read in the field?) Let us know in the comments!

Dick Powis

Dick Powis is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His research interests include men and childbirth, prenatal screening technologies, and reproductive health in urban settings in Senegal. Read more at dickpowis.com.

4 thoughts on “What Are You Reading This Summer?

  1. Some of my summer list:
    The Life of Cheese by Paxson.
    A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari.
    The Animal That Therefore I am by Derrida.
    Rainforest Cowboys by Hoelle.
    Chicken by Striffler.

  2. I hope to finish graduate school (Master) by the end of what you up North call “summer”. Then my list includes literature, literature, literature. 2666 by Roberto Bolaño is the first in line (I started it, but I can’t keep reading it till I finish my thesis).
    And, of course, Lévi-Strauss’s Mythologiques are always on the list to be read someday.

  3. Another vote for Bolaño, the Savage Detectives is so brilliant and beautiful. I must admit to being a little intimidated by 2666 though.

    I just picked up “The Victorian Internet” by Standage which looks to be a cultural history of the telegraph. The premise is revealed in the title, that the cultural/political/economic impact of the telegraph in late 1800s parallels the Internet today.

    Dick, I’m planning on writing a similar blog post later that is an inventory of all the books I own that I have not read yet. That might be a good place to start for my summer reading!!

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