With this issue we welcome Stefania De Petris as PoLAR’s new managing editor. Stefania brings significant experience and expertise to the journal. She holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Padova and has worked for over a decade in the publishing field as an editor, copyeditor, and translator. Her translations include works by Martha Nussbaum, Seyla Benhabib, Maurice Bloch, and Philippe Bourgois. In addition to working for PoLAR, Stefania is the co-managing editor of Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict & World Order. Welcoming Stefania means having to say goodbye to our previous managing editors, Lisa Brodsky and Meaghan McDonnell. Lisa and Meaghan were instrumental in helping us transition to ScholarOne. We thank them both for all of their contributions to the journal and wish them the best moving forward.
With this issue we likewise wish to highlight the ongoing work of Matthew Wolf-Meyer and Kate Henne, our associate editor and book review editor, respectively. Matt continues to oversee the timely publication of our book reviews online at polarjournal.org. Kate continues to make PoLAR’s website a space for cutting-edge conversations and commentary on the legal and political issues of the day. Since the publication of our Fall issue, the journal has published virtual issues on “Futures in Anthropology” and “Human Rights and Anthropology.” It has also featured discussions between John Borneman, David Nugent, and Othon Alexandrakis around the theme of resistance and social justice. In addition, the “Emergent Conversations” series has included several discussions of current issues facing anthropology, including the future of the anthropology of law and the 2016 US presidential election. Finally, a collaboration between PoLAR and the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology website has generated a series of twelve essays in response to the Trump administration’s executive orders on immigration. The series, edited by Heath Cabot and Jennifer Curtis, is accompanied by a virtual issue of ungated content available at polarjournal.org.
These more immediate interventions, in which PoLAR has sought to be increasingly engaged with the emergent context of current political and legal events, complement the contents of the journal, where authors address enduring questions of political and legal anthropology through long-term ethnographic engagement. This issue is no exception. Here we see examinations of language, democracy, and national identity (Bernstein, Sherouse); statehood, sovereignty, and recognition (Bobick); and hierarchy and egalitarianism (Rakopoulos). Further, this issue also features works that deal explicitly with issues at the center of current public debates about belonging and citizenship: the legacies of political violence in Rwanda (Eramian, Doughty), racialized and gendered experiences of poverty and state violence in Mexico (Mora, Dygert), and the legal and political contexts shaping the experiences of refugees and other migrants (Kahn, Thompson).
Our vision for the future is to continue to make PoLAR a space to bring anthropological work to bear on the issues of the day. Political and legal anthropologists have much to contribute to current debates, whether through direct responses to policy or by continuing to explore enduring questions under changing circumstances. Above all, it is the commitment to understanding the human experience in all its complexity and diversity that will continue to move anthropology forward. It is a discipline made for these times.
William Garriott and Heath Cabot
Geographies of Discretion and the Jurisdictional Imagination
Jeffrey S. Kahn
Façade Egalitarianism? Mafia and Cooperative in Sicily
Sociality of Enforced Waiting in Rwanda’s Postgenocide Legal Architecture
Kristin C. Doughty