Priya Nelson


Subjects: Anthropology, history
Series: Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning, The Life of Ideas, 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. Recent publications in anthropology include Down and Out in the New Economy by Ilana Gershon, The Mana of Mass Society by William Mazzarella, Magic's Reason by Graham Jones, The Trials of Mrs. K. by Adam Ashforth, and The World in Guangzhou by Gordon Mathews, to name just a few. Smart reportage that speaks beyond the academy – for instance A Village with My Name by Marketplace Correspondent Scott Tong – is a vital part of our list. My interests in history include the history of ideas, world history, biography, and works of broad historiographical significance, with forthcoming titles by Yoav Di-Capua, Dan Edelstein, and Robert Zaretsky. On this side of the list, I am the proud sponsor of a new series called The Life of Ideas, which aims to nourish the happily resurgent field of intellectual history. Meanwhile, the new Silk Roads series, funded in part by the Luce Foundation’s Asia Program, aims to cultivate transregional work in diverse fields, from history and religious studies to current events. I am profoundly lucky to have inherited the riches of our deep back list and look forward to bringing 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.


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 work with Editorial Associate Dylan Montanari, who provides essential support for these editorial endeavors. We welcome inquiries from authors and agents who, like us, are curious, energetic, and deeply committed to good writing.


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