Archive for the 'Project News' Category

‘Making Markets’ Reading Group at UCL Anthropology, starting 19th January

By Rebecca Empson, on 15 January 2018

Dr. Marissa Smith, a visiting scholar at UCL working with the Emerging Subjects group, will be leading a new reading group during the winter term, ‘Making Markets’.  If you would like to join, please contact Marissa at: marissas23@gmail.com.

Place: Staff Common Room, Department of Anthropology, UCL

Time: Fridays, 11 to 1 PM (starting 1/19)

(readings will be precirculated)


The year 2017 has seen a global pattern of, on the one hand, reentrenchment of now familiar techniques of technocratic governance as well as, on the other, “anti-establishment” electoral upsets.

While a number of anthropological conversations have coalesced examining the connections between these phenomena, this reading group will focus on how these and associated social fractures and fractals concern the meanings and makings of “markets,” particularly as these are fields through which definitions of insider and outsider are delineated and embodied, valuables and resources are named and acquired, and moralities of exchange are negotiated, assumed, and/or imposed.

The anthropologists involved in the conversations focused on here have routinely crossed the divide between “up the anthropologist” (Nader) and more “traditional” milleus of fieldwork, but we begin with work among “elites” to foreground the contested and “cultural” character of technocratic management, which has often been characterized as “hollowing out” (Strathern) and “flattening” its others. In seeking to further develop on these conversations, we ask: How do we apply these frames beyond “the anthropology of Europe?” Should we designate some of what we are describing as “fascist” and some as “feminist?” How are ethnographic practice and other research methodologies implicated in these processes, and what other approaches might we develop?


Janine WEDEL, Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid To Eastern Europe

Hannah APPEL, “On Simultaneity”

Alexandra OUROUSSOFF, Wall Street at War: The Secret Struggle for the Global Economy

Laura BEAR, Navigating Austerity: Currents of Debt Along a South Asian River

Sylvia YANAGISAKO, Producing Culture and Capital: Italian Family Firms in Italy

Bill MAURER, et. al. “Social Payments: Innovation, Trust, Bitcoin, and the Sharing Economy.”

Douglas HOLMES, Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Neofascism, Multiculturalism

John BORNEMAN, Belonging in the Two Berlins: Kin, State, Nation

Morten PEDERSEN, “The politics of paradox: Kierkegaardian theology and national conservatism in Denmark.”

Carol J. GREENHOUSE, The Paradox of Relevance: Ethnography and Citizenship in the United States

(in the case of monographs, we will focus on chapters or other excerpts of similar length)


Visiting Scholars in the New Year – Marissa Smith, J. Sanchir and G. Badruun

By Rebecca Empson, on 12 December 2017


The Emerging Subject project at UCL will be hosting three visiting scholars in the New Year, all of whom work on Mongolia:

Dr Marissa Smith
 (marissas23@gmail.com), a social/cultural anthropologist, working in the fields of political and economic anthropology, anthropology of corporations, Inner Asia, Russia, and Romania (more here).  Marissa’s research will elaborate on Mongolian participation in international processes through which Mongolia’s market has been understood and reformed.  Specifically she is analyzing the meeting minutes and pamphlets prepared by the Mongolian Social Democratic Party circa 1989-1990 housed at the Hoover Institute, Stanford University.


Sanchir Jargalsaikhan (sannchir@gmail.com), a political scientist and activist broadly concerned with economic and political development in Mongolia and in the Global South.  Sanchir is the Dean of Research at the Sustainable Development Strategy Institute and the Editor at the Shinjeech – Political Economy Magazine.  His research will focus on two main strands:  1. Visions of development in post-socialist Mongolia: Case of Constitutional amendment, where he will look at implied and explicit narratives of development interwoven in current discussions and debates around the issue of Constitutional amendment, and 2. Moral relations of debt and accountability, where he will follow how discourses on debt and development provide the means by which Mongolians frame social, cultural and political difference.

Badruun Gardi, (badruun@gerhub.org), Founder and CEO of GerHub. Badruun will be collaborating with an interdisciplinary group of experts to explore various possibilities of creating a modern ger that is suitable for a sedentary lifestyle.  His research will focus on historic and contemporary uses of gers as well as the potential to develop ger-inspired structures in various global contexts ranging from emergency relief shelters to refugee housing.  He will also work on a Blog series on ger districts of Ulaanbaatar


Marissa, Sanchir, and Badruun will be working on specific research projects and will hold a weekly reading group  – Making Markets – during their visit at UCL.  If you would like to join the reading group, please email Hanna Malka for more details: h.malka@ucl.ac.uk.