Author Archives: jedstevenson

Books of 2017

The books I’ve read this year ask some big questions: How can we understand cultural diversity? How do classic works of social science come into being? What makes humans care for and do violence to each other? The issues fall … Continue reading

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Talking shit

Last week at UCL, Sjaak van der Geest of the University of Amsterdam gave a stimulating talk on the topic of faeces. His point of departure was the great 16th-century humanist Erasmus’ observation that his own shit was “bland” to … Continue reading

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*New paper* ‘Do our bodies know their ways?’ Villagization, food insecurity, and ill-being in Ethiopia’s lower Omo valley

Some results from my research in Ethiopia are now available, ahead of publication in African Studies Review. The paper, co-authored with Lucie Buffavand, is a product of several years work in the lower Omo valley, where a massive hydroelectric dam … Continue reading

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Living on a fault-line

Or, the challenge of thinking geologically. Last week I attended the Oxford Desert Conference, to bang the drum about work my colleagues and I are doing in the Turkana basin (stay tuned for more on that). I came away reminded … Continue reading

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One of my favourite works of anthropology is a study of infancy among the Beng of Cote d’Ivoire. For people in this West African community, children are understood to come from the Afterlife. In their way of thinking, people’s spirits … Continue reading

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Maps and the twentieth century

There is no internationally agreed map of the world. This is one of the more memorable things I took away from a recent exhibition at the British Library. The exhibition, entitled “Maps and the Twentieth Century: Drawing the Line,” reviewed   … Continue reading

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Books of 2016

These are the books that have made the greatest impression on me this year. 1. The idealist, by Justin Peters Aaron Swartz was an IT prodigy who hacked the scholarly literature database J-Stor.  Brought to trial for doing so, he … Continue reading

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