Anthropologist “at Home”: A Conversation with Dr. Tami Navarro

In this podcast, Tanya Matthan speaks with Tami Navarro about her research on financialization, development, and racial capitalism in the US Virgin Islands. Dr. Navarro discusses her positionality as an ‘insider’ shapes her work on the economic and social life in the Caribbean which ranges from more traditional academic publishing to co-hosting a podcast on community, storytelling, and diasporic Black feminism. Their conversation addresses the challenges of writing home, working in the neoliberal academy and engaging diverse audiences as well as the value of anthropological lens in these turbulent times.

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A cultural anthropologist, Dr. Tami Navarro is Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies at Drew University. She is a founding member of the Virgin Islands Studies Collective (VISCO) and a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism. Dr. Navarro is co-host of the podcast, “Writing Home: American Voices from the Caribbean” and the Co-director of the Transnational Black Feminisms working group at Columbia University. She is the author of Virgin Capital: Race, Gender, and Financialization in the US Virgin Islands (SUNY Press 2021) which has been recognized by the Association for Feminist Anthropology and the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.

What is Economic Anthropology? with Heangjin Park

In this recording from the Society for Economic Anthropology’s 2022 annual conference in Copenhagen, Aneil Tripathy asks economic anthropologist Heangjin Park, assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University, what brought him to economic anthropology. Heangjin was first drawn to economics when he learned about supply and demand as a fourth grader in elementary school. However, in a college economics class he came to doubt neoclassical economic interpretations about demand. He found refuge in economic anthropology, with concepts that highlight interconnection such as the gift economy and social takes on economics

What is Economic Anthropology? with Morten Sørensen Thaning

In this recording from the Society for Economic Anthropology’s 2022 annual conference in Copenhagen, Aneil Tripathy asks conference organizer and philosopher, Morten Sørensen Thaning, Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School, what economic anthropology means to him. The value of economic anthropology for Morten lies in the limits of philosophy. Anthropologists can push philosophers past pre given universals, and our research and writing help refine concepts and ideas. Morten values much work in economic anthropologists as case studies that challenge and refine key concepts useful for understanding our world and activity that is associated with economics.

What is Economic Anthropology? with Matthew Archer

In this recording from the Society for Economic Anthropology’s 2022 annual conference in Copenhagen, Aneil asks conference organizer Matthew Archer, Assistant Professor in Sustainability at the University of York, what economic anthropology means to him. Matthew outlines how he moved at the beginning of his PhD from an economics track to economic anthropology. An early mentor, Karen Hébert, told him that economics is full of assumptions, and anthropology is very good at questioning these assumptions. Matthew describes a moment in his masters program in environmental economics when he realized that the prices used in economics are deeply flawed. In his subsequent research on tea supply chains and sustainable finance, Matthew continues to question data driven sustainability solutions, to try to imagine and support alternative approaches.

What is Economic Anthropology? with Cindy Isenhour

In this recording from the Society for Economic Anthropology’s 2022 annual conference in Copenhagen, Aneil asks Cindy Isenhour, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Climate Change at the University of Maine, what economic anthropology means to her. Cindy gives both a personal and an academic response to the question.

Her personal response charts her journey from graduate school to becoming a professor and economic anthropologist, which was guided by welcoming and supportive mentors in the Society for Economic Anthropology. Cindy’s academic response emphasizes that economic anthropology allows researchers to focus on movement. Much of economic anthropology centers on how ideas, people and things are exchanged and move from place to place and this allows us to understand culture change and societal shifts.

What is Economic Anthropology? with Brie Berry

Aneil’s second recording from the Society for Economic Anthropology’s 2022 annual conference in Copenhagen is with Brie Berry, an economic and environmental anthropologist at the University of Maine’s Center for Sustainability Solutions. Brie charts her career journey towards economic anthropology, and how the sub-discipline informs her research on the circular economy. For Brie, economic anthropology allows her to make sense of the complex relationships between people and stuff, and how they create livelihoods and lives that achieve wellbeing. Economic anthropology allows Brie to make sense of social and environmental values that traditional economics can ignore.

What is Economic Anthropology? with Dan Souleles

Aneil’s first recording in this series is with Daniel Souleles, one of the organizer’s of this year’s meeting and an economic and political anthropologist at Copenhagen Business School. Recorded at Dan’s most recent field site, the Massachusetts Capitol Building, Aneil and Dan talk about his take on economic anthropology and the perspective that guides his past research on financiers in private equity and his current project on how bills get passed in Massachusetts.

Reimaging Money in Kenya: A Conversation with Sibel Kusimba

In this podcast Jenny speaks with Sibel Kusimba about her book Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution. Sibel explains how digital finance draws upon longstanding practices of reciprocity and exchange in Kenyan society, but she also discusses some of the ways digital money is reconfiguring social lives and relations. Their conversation highlights how anthropological perspectives can enhance understandings of the way money takes on multiple meanings in social life.

Mining the Digital Age in Eastern Congo: A Conversation with Jim Smith

In this episode Jenny Huberman speaks with Jim Smith, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California Davis, about his new book, The Eyes of the World: Mining the Digital Age in the Eastern Congo. Their conversation focuses on people who are the very center of powering the digital age but who most listeners will likely know little about: the artisanal miners and traders who work in the forests of Eastern Congo to extract minerals that are used to produce many of the digital technologies we reply upon today. Jim explains how the extractive industry of artisanal mining not only keeps the wheels of digital capitalism spinning, but also becomes a generative practice through which miners imagine and construct social lives and relationships that defy many of the dominant logics of capitalism. In so doing, he makes a powerful case for the role anthropology can play in enhancing and complexifying our understandings of capitalism in the digital age.

Ghost Workers and the On-Demand Platform Economy: A Conversation with Mary L. Gray

In this episode, Jenny Huberman speaks with anthropologist, media scholar, and Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Mary L. Gray. They discuss Mary’s highly acclaimed book, Ghost Work: How to prevent Silicon Valley from creating a Global Underclass, which she co-authored with Siddharth Suri. Their conversation explores the experiences of on-demand platform workers, as well as the way the platform economy is changing conceptions of work and employment more generally. In discussing how digital technologies are radically reconfiguring work for millions of people around the globe, Mary also challenges the idea that digital technologies will inevitably render human labor obsolete in the future. Humans, she reminds us, do certain kinds of work that cannot be attended to by A.I. or other automated processes, and thus, they are likely to remain “in the loop” for many years to come.