By Mathias Wasik. LGBT Solidarity Rally in front of the Stonewall Inn in solidarity with every immigrant, asylum seeker, refugee and every person impacted by Donald Trump’s illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and un-American executive orders. CC-BY-SA 2.0.
It is a pleasure to be able to share with you this special issue of PoLAR. This issue
once again showcases the breadth of topics being explored within the context of political
and legal anthropology. Familiar topics such as courtroom dynamics, rights claims, and
the politics of citizenship take on new significance as they are explored in less familiar
contexts, ranging from infrastructure and sartorial practices to religious conversion and
the ecological impact of extractive energy economies. New takes on the familiar may also
be found in this issue’s methodological reflection on the practicalities of “studying up,”
an approach that continues to challenge conventional ways of doing anthropology even
decades after its proposal. Geographic diversity continues to be on display here as well,
with articles covering happenings in Africa, North America, the Caribbean, and beyond.
All of this serves as a vital reminder that, even as conventional news reporting tends to
restrict the domain of politics to the actions of state officials, the bounds of the political
extend well beyond these familiar fora of power. Indeed, as every contribution to this issue
shows, it is in these less familiar places that the legal and the political are continuing to be
William Garriot and Heath Cabot