08 January 2021

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing: a note on Uber drivers in New Delhi

Krishna Akhil Kumar Adavi

A towel on their own seat, an old water bottle – always with the original brand sticker peeled off – and a notebook for their manual tallying of rides are the drivers’ companions through the day. If other Indian vehicles have a Ganapati [a prominent Hindu God, often worshipped for an auspicious start and good luck] double-taped onto their dashboard to pray to, these drivers seem to worship the source of their bread and butter: their always charging phones. Car honks, barking dogs, irritated parking attendants, and the YouTube videos they watch on their second phone fade into the background through the constant interruptions of a notification on their main phone: ‘New Ride. Click to Accept’…

22 December 2020

“Playing my part”: navigating racial histories in the field

Cayce Hughes

My initial reaction to Dee’s request was trepidation and a fair bit of dread. Public speaking always makes me nervous, but I’ve grown accustomed to the format of presenting at academic conferences and in classrooms. Churches, not so much. But I agreed, partly because it was an opportunity to share my research with community members, and partly out of a sense of obligation to Dee, who had become an invaluable resource to me and my work…

7 December 2020

Populism as Witchcraft

Marco Garrido

In my green years after graduating college, I interned at several development NGOs in the Philippines mainly doing research on agrarian reform. In the course of this work, I lived for two months with a community of landless farmers in the province of Bulacan north of Manila. It was here that I encountered an exorcism. Cora was showing me around the village when we came upon a small crowd of people gathered around a young woman. She was seated on a chair, her body leaning forward, her face twisted into a grimace. She appeared to be growling under her breath. The older man seated beside her was busy arranging several vials on a table. He was the mangkukulam or witch doctor…

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