Professor Harry West
BA (Political and Social Thought, University of Virginia) MA, PhD (Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Professor of Anthropology
Chair, SOAS Food Studies Centre
- Professor Harry West
- Email address:
- 020 7898 4414
- 020 7898 4699
- SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Russell Square: College Buildings
- Office No:
- Office Hours:
- All Year - by email appointment (during term time)
- Directed Practical Study in the Anthropology of Food
- The Anthropology of Food
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology
PhD Students supervised
- Antonie Kraemer, Encountering Corporate Social Responsibility
- Daria Trentini, A study of spiritual healing in northern Mozambique (provisional title).
- Gabriel Klaeger, Rush and relax: Intricate movements, fleeting encounters and the dilemmas of speed on a Ghanaian road (working title)
- Hannah Roberson, Food movements in the ‘Big Society’
- Jessica M Chu, The cultural economy of 'land grabs' in Zambia (working title).
- Katharina Graf, Domestic Cooking in Morocco: Skill, Knowledge Transmission and Social Change (working title)
- Sandra Manuel, Changing notions of sexuality in Mozambique
- Sara Stevano, Women’s work and household food practices: A study of northern Mozambique (working title)
- Willa Zhen, Knowledge Transmission in Cantonese Cooking Schools (working title)
- Zofia Boni, Children and Food in Warsaw: Discourses, Practices and Negotiations around the Process of Feeding (working title).
Between 1991 and 2005, Professor West carried out research primarily in the northern Mozambican district of Mueda, where nationalist guerrillas based themselves during the anti-colonial war (1964-1974). As part of this project, he studied how various social groups experienced, and coped with, violence during and after the war for independence. At the same time, he studied how colonialism and revolutionary socialism reconfigured the institutions of local authority, and, more recently, how post-socialist reforms fostered a “revival of tradition” in rural Mozambique.
His published works on Mozambique detail how neo-liberal reformers conceived of “traditional authorities” and “traditional healers” as partners in the project of decentralized democratic governance, notwithstanding the fact that the power exercised by these figures is understood by Mueda residents to derive from their knowledge of sorcery. His first book, Kupilikula: Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique, was first-runner-up for the African Studies Association (USA)’s Melville J. Herskovits Award in 2006, and won the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology in 2007. His second book, Ethnographic Sorcery, was first-runner-up for the Society for Humanistic Anthropology’s Victor Turner Prize in 2008.
Professor West’s more recent research is in the anthropology of food. His current work, funded by the British Academy, focuses on artisan cheese, the discourse of “terroir,” and the global market niche in “heritage foods.” He is particularly interested in how cheesemakers have preserved and/or transformed cheesemaking techniques while navigating a changing marketplace, as well as how they have presented themselves, their locales of production, and their productive traditions to consumers new and old.
Professor West directs the SOAS MA in the Anthropology of Food. Along with his colleagues Professor Johan Pottier and Dr Jakob Klein, he was awarded the 2009 Excellence in Instruction Award by the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, and in 2011-2012, he was named joint runner-up for the SOAS Director’s Teaching Prize. He also chairs the SOAS Food Studies Centre. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery Trust and a Trustee of the Sophie Coe Memorial Fund, as well as a member of the summer school organizing committee of the European Institute of Food History and Culture (François-Rabelais University, Tours, France). He also serves on the editorial boards of: American Anthropologist; Food, Culture and Society; and The Journal of Agrarian Change.
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West, Harry (2007) Ethnographic Sorcery. The University of Chicago Press.
West, Harry (2005) Kupilikula. Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
West, Harry G. and Raman, Parvathi, eds. (2008) Enduring Socialism: Explorations of Revolution and Transformation, Restoration and Continuation. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Luedke, Tracy and West, Harry, eds. (2005) Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Indiana University Press.
West, Harry and Sanders, T., eds. (2003) Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order. Duke University Press (Durham).
G., Harry, ed. (1997) Conflict and its Resolution in Contemporary Africa. University Press of America.
Klein, Jakob A and Pottier, Johan and West, Harry G (2012) 'New Directions in the Anthropology of Food.' In: Fardon, Richard and Harris, Olivia and Marchand, Trevor H J and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Cris and Strang, Veronica and Wilson, Richard A, (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 293-302.
West, Harry G. (2009) '"Govern Yourselves!": Democracy and Carnage in Northern Mozambique.' In: Paley, Julia, (ed.), Democracy: Anthropological Approaches. Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research Press, pp. 97-121.
Raman, Parvathi and West, Harry G. (2008) 'Poetries of the Past in a Socialist World Remade.' In: West, Harry G. and Raman, Parvathi, (eds.), Enduring Socialism: Explorations of Revolution and Transformation, Restoration and Continuation. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 1-28.
West, Harry G. (2008) 'From Socialist Chiefs to Postsocialist Cadres: Neotraditional Authority in Neoliberal Mozambique.' In: West, Harry G. and Raman, Parvathi, (eds.), Enduring Socialism: Explorations of Revolution and Transformation, Restoration and Continuation. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 29-43.
West, Harry (2005) 'Healing Divides: Therapeutic Border Work in Southeast Africa.' In: Luedke, Tracy and G., Harry, (eds.), Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Indiana University Press, pp. 1-20.
West, Harry (2005) 'Working the Borders to Beneficial Effect: The Not-So-Indigenous Knowledge of Not-So-Traditional Healers in Northern Mozambique.' In: Luedke, Tracy and G., Harry, (eds.), Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Indiana University Press, pp. 21-42.
West, Harry (2004) 'Girls with Guns: Narrating the Experience of War of FRELIMO�s �Female Detachment.' In: Boyden, J. and de Berry, J., (eds.), Children and youth on the front line: ethnography, armed conflict and displacement. New York: Berghahn, pp. 105-129.
West, Harry (2004) 'Inverting the Camel's Hump. Jorge Dias, His Wife, Their Interpreter, and I.' In: Handler, R., (ed.), Significant Others. Interpersonal and Professional Commitments in Anthropology. The University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 51-90.
West, Harry and Sanders, T (2003) 'Introduction: Power Revealed and Concealed in the New World Order.' In: H.G.West, and T.Sanders, , (eds.), Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order. Duke University Press (Durham), pp. 1-37.
West, Harry (2003) 'Tax Receipts, Virgin Mary Medallions and Party Membership Cards: (In)visible Tokens of Power on the Mueda Plateau.' In: Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order. Duke University Press (Durham), pp. 92-124.
West, Harry (1998) 'Traditional Authorities and the Mozambican Transition to Democratic Governance.' In: Graybill, L and W., K, (eds.), Africa�s Second Wave of Freedom: Development, Democracy, and Rights. University Press of America, pp. 65-80.
West, Harry (1997) 'Mozambique: People and Cultures.' In: Middleton, J and Miller, J, (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. Charles Scribner�s Sons, pp. 198-202.
West, Harry and Domingos, Nuno (2012) 'Gourmandizing Poverty Food: The Serpa Cheese Slow Food Presidium.' Journal of Agrarian Change, 12 (1). pp. 120-143.
West, Harry (2012) 'Je m’appelle . . . Cheese.' Food, Culture and Society, 15 (1). pp. 8-12.
West, Harry G. (2008) 'Food Fears and Raw-Milk Cheese.' Appetite, 51 (1). pp. 25-29.
West, Harry (2006) 'James Ferguson�s Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order.' Anthropological Quarterly, 79(1) . pp. 153-159.
West, Harry (2004) '�Villains, Victims, or Makonde in the Making?: Reading the Explorer Henry O�Neill and Listening to the Headman Lishehe�.' Ethnohistory, 51 (1) . pp. 1-43.
West, Harry (2003) 'Voices Twice Silenced. Betrayal and Mourning at Colonialism's End in Mozambique.' Anthropological Theory, 3 (3). pp. 343-65.
West, Harry (2003) 'A Review of From War to Peace on the Mozambique-Malawi Borderland (Harri Englund).' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute .
West, Harry (2003) 'Sorcery and Mozambican Democracy.' PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review, vol. 2 . pp. 119-127.
West, Harry and SSharpes, (2002) 'Dealing with the Devil: Meaning and the Marketplace in Makonde Sculpture.' African Arts, vol. 3 . pp. 32-39.
West, Harry (2002) 'A Review of Makonde (Jesper Kirknaes & Jorn Korn) and of A Host of Devils: The History and Context of the Making of Makonde Spirit Sculpture (Zachary Kingdon).' African Arts, vol. 3 . pp. 84-86.
West, Harry (2001) 'Sorcery of Construction and Socialist Modernization: Ways of Understanding Power in Post-Colonial Mozambique.' American Ethnologist, 28(1) . pp. 119-150.
West, Harry (2000) 'Girls with Guns: Narrating the Experience of War of FRELIMO�s �Female Detachment.' Anthropological Quarterly, 73(4) . pp. 180-194.
West, Harry and Kloeck-Jenson, S (1999) 'Betwixt and Between: �Traditional Authority� and Democratic Decentralisation in Post-War Mozambique.' African Affairs, 98(393 . pp. 455-484.
West, Harry (1998) '�This Neighbor is Not My Uncle!�: Changing Relations of Power and Authority on the Mueda Plateau.' Journal of Southern African Studies, 24(1) . pp. 143-161.
West, Harry (1998) '�Seeing Like James Scott� (A Review of Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (James Scott).' PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 21(1) . pp. 127-131.
West, Harry (1997) 'Creative Destruction and Sorcery of Construction: Power, Hope and Suspicion in Post-War Mozambique.' Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 20(1) . pp. 13-31.
West, Harry and Myers, G (1996) 'A Piece of Land in a Land of Peace? State Farm Divestiture in Mozambique.' Journal of Modern African Studies, 34 (1). pp. 27-51.
West, Harry and E., J (1993) 'Development Communication and Popular Resistance in Africa: An Examination of the Contest over �Tradition� and �Modernity� Through Media.' African Studies Review, 36(1) . pp. 91-114.