Priya Nelson


Subjects: Anthropology, history
Series: Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning, Silk Roads

I acquire books for the Press’s long-standing and distinguished lists in anthropology and history. In anthropology, books that combine ethnography and critique fit particularly well with our theoretically sophisticated list. Exchange, value, religion, urban studies, media, epistemology, social theory, and ethnographic writing are topics of special interest, though anything that uses classic themes to investigate contemporary issues tends to catch my eye. My interests in history include the history of ideas, world history, historical anthropology, biography, and works of broad historiographical significance. Recent acquisitions include Bateson prize-winner Behold the Black Caiman by Lucas Bessire, Subject to Death by Robert Desjarlais, and forthcoming titles by Michael Taussig, William Mazzarella, Graham Jones, Laurence Ralph, and John and Jean Comaroff, among others. I am privileged to have inherited the riches of our deep back list and aim to bring the classics of twentieth-century scholarship to new readers. The Invention of Culture by Roy Wagner, with a new foreword by Tim Ingold, is one such publication, and I am also overseeing a landmark retranslation of The Savage Mind by Claude Levi-Strauss.


To balance our scholarly list, I seek general interest books on current events by anthropologists, historians, cultural critics, and journalists. Recent highlights from this side of the list include Down and Out in the New Economy by Ilana Gershon and the forthcoming A Village with My Name by Marketplace Correspondent Scott Tong.


I joined the Press in 2011, and my fields of acquisition reflect my academic training at the University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin. Here I am lucky to work with Dylan Montanari, who provides essential support for these editorial endeavors.


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