Issue 28.2, May 2013

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Cultural Anthropology's May Issue features articles by Richard Handler, Kevin Lewis O'Neill, and Susan Cook and Rebecca Hardin, as well as a cluster of articles on "Cityscapes." Cityscapes authors include Christina Schwenkel, Daniella Gandolfo, Andrew Alan Johnson, Michael Fisch, and Erik Harms.

For teaching material, including additional images, author interviews and bios, and discussion questions, visit our supplemental pages.

Ruins of modernity inspire a deep sense of ambivalence, Andreas Huyssen (2010) has argued, not least of which because of the kinds of memory and trauma they invoke. Likewise, there is much ambivalence about preserving Quang Trung in its current dystopic state and about including ruination—the graduated process of decay—as part of the historical narrative. This would require more probing questions and explanations as to why the buildings deteriorated so quickly and why tenants had little choice in the postwar years of rations and scarcity but to engage in “destructive” practices such bricking up balconies in order to raise pigs and chickens. Like the bricks that gave shape to their form and again leave their traces on the landscape, socialist ruins and capitalist debris are entwined in a dialectical relationship of ambiguous duality —creation and demolition, dwelling and displacement, permanence and instability, hope and despair.
- Christina Schwenkel, "Post/Socialist Affect"