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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Professor Harry West

BA (Political and Social Thought, University of Virginia) MA, PhD (Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Overview

Harry West
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Professor of Anthropology

SOAS Food Studies Centre

Chair, SOAS Food Studies Centre

Name:
Professor Harry West
Email address:
Telephone:
020 7898 4414
Fax:
020 7898 4699
Address:
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Building:
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
569
Office Hours:
All Year - by email appointment (during term time)

Teaching

Programmes Convened
Courses Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • 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)
  • Nafsika Papacharalampous, The Metamorphosis of the Greek Cuisine: National identity, tradition, heritage and memory as narratives of change from the Athens Market (working title).
  • Petra Matijevic,
  • Zoe Nima Goodman,
  • Zofia Boni, Children and Food in Warsaw: Discourses, Practices and Negotiations around the Process of Feeding (working title).

Research

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 Trustee of the Sophie Coe Memorial Fund. He also serves on the editorial boards of: American Anthropologist; Análise Social: Revista do Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa; Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies; Food, Culture and Society; and The Journal of Agrarian Change.

Expertise

For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email enterprise@soas.ac.uk.
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email comms@soas.ac.uk

Available for
  • Briefings
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise
  • Mozambique
Languages

Publications

Authored Books

West, Harry G. (2009) Kupilikula: O Poder e o Invisível em Mueda. Lisboa: Impresa de Ciências Sociais.

West, Harry (2007) Ethnographic Sorcery. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

West, Harry (2005) Kupilikula: Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Edited Books

Domingos, Nuno and Sobral, José Manuel and West, Harry G., eds. (2014) Food Between the Country and the City: Ethnographies of a Changing Global Foodscape. London: Bloomsbury.

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 G., eds. (2005) Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

West, Harry G. and Sanders, Todd, eds. (2003) Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order. Durham: Duke University Press.

West, Harry G., ed. (1997) Conflict and its Resolution in Contemporary Africa. Lanham: University Press of America.

Book Chapters

West, Harry G. (2014) 'Bringing it All Back Home: Reconnecting the Country and the City through Heritage Food Tourism in the French Auvergne.' In: Domingos, Nuno and Sobral, José Manuel and West, Harry G., (eds.), Food Between the Country and the City: Ethnographies of a Changing Global Foodscape. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 73-88.

Domingos, Nuno and Sobral, José Manuel and West, Harry G. (2014) 'Approaching Food and Foodways between the Country and the City through the Work of Raymond Williams.' In: Domingos, Nuno and Sobral, José Manuel and West, Harry G., (eds.), Food Between the Country and the City: Ethnographies of a Changing Global Foodscape. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 1-17.

West, Harry G. (2014) 'Ethical Food Systems, Between Suspicion and Hope.' In: Jung, Yuson and Klein, Jakob A. and Caldwell, Melissa, (eds.), Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 298-304.

West, Harry G. (2013) 'Wrapped and Stuffed: Provocative Misinterpretations on a Theme.' In: McWilliams, Mark, (ed.), Wrapped and Stuffed: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2012. Totnes, UK: Prospect Books, p. 39.

West, Harry G. (2013) 'Appellations and Indications of Origin, Terroir, and the Social Construction and Contestation of Place-Named Foods.' In: Murcott, Anne and Belasco, Warren and Jackson, Peter, (eds.), The Handbook of Food Research. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 209-228.

West, Harry G. (2013) 'Thinking Like a Cheese: Towards an Ecological Understanding of the Reproduction of Knowledge in Contemporary Artisan Cheesemaking.' In: Ellen, Roy and Lycett, Stephen J. and Johns, Sarah E., (eds.), Understanding Cultural Transmission in Anthropology: A Critical Synthesis. Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 320-345.

West, Harry G. (2013) 'The Audacity of Unwrapping and Rewrapping, Unstuffing and Restuffing, Virtually Everything (Including, Especially, Cheese).' In: McWilliams, Mark, (ed.), Wrapped and Stuffed: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2012. Totnes, UK: Prospect Books, pp. 40-43.

West, Harry G (2013) 'Poder e a Paisagem Social em Mudança na Mueda, Moçambique.' In: Domingos, Nuno and Peralta, Elsa, (eds.), A Cidade e Império: Dinâmicas Coloniais e Reconfigurações Pós-Coloniais. Lisboa: Ed. 70, pp. 167-220.

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.

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 G. (2008) '"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.

West, Harry G. (2005) 'Healing Divides: Therapeutic Border Work in Southeast Africa.' In: Luedke, Tracy and West, Harry G., (eds.), Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 1-20.

West, Harry G. (2005) 'Working the Borders to Beneficial Effect: The Not-So-Indigenous Knowledge of Not-So-Traditional Healers in Northern Mozambique.' In: Luedke, Tracy and West, Harry G., (eds.), Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 21-42.

West, Harry G. (2004) 'Inverting the Camel's Hump: Jorge Dias, His Wife, Their Interpreter, and I.' In: Handler, Richard, (ed.), Significant Others: Interpersonal and Professional Commitments in Anthropology. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 51-90.

West, Harry G. and Sanders, Todd (2003) 'Introduction: Power Revealed and Concealed in the New World Order.' In: West, Harry G. and Sanders, Todd, (eds.), Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 1-37.

West, Harry G. (2003) 'Tax Receipts, Virgin Mary Medallions and Party Membership Cards: (In)visible Tokens of Power on the Mueda Plateau.' In: West, Harry G. and Sanders, Todd, (eds.), Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 92-124.

West, Harry G. (1998) 'Traditional Authorities and the Mozambican Transition to Democratic Governance.' In: Graybill, Lyn and Thompson, Kenneth W., (eds.), Africa's Second Wave of Freedom: Development, Democracy, and Rights. Lanham: University Press of America, pp. 65-80.

West, Harry G. (1997) 'Mozambique: People and Cultures.' In: Middleton, John and Miller, Joseph, (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 198-202.

Articles

West, Harry G. and Domingos, Nuno (2012) 'Gourmandizing Poverty Food: The Serpa Cheese Slow Food Presidium.' Journal of Agrarian Change, 12 (1). pp. 120-143.

West, Harry G. (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 G. (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 G. (2003) 'Voices Twice Silenced: Betrayal and Mourning at Colonialism's End in Mozambique.' Anthropological Theory, 3 (3). pp. 343-65.

West, Harry G. (2003) 'Sorcery and Mozambican Democracy.' PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 26 (1). pp. 119-127.

West, Harry G. and Sharpes, Stacy (2002) 'Dealing with the Devil: Meaning and the Marketplace in Makonde Sculpture.' African Arts, 35 (3). pp. 32-39.

West, Harry G. (2001) 'Sorcery of Construction and Socialist Modernization: Ways of Understanding Power in Post-Colonial Mozambique.' American Ethnologist, 28(1) . pp. 119-150.

West, Harry G. (2000) 'Girls with Guns: Narrating the Experience of War of FRELIMO's "Female Detachment".' Anthropological Quarterly, 73(4) . pp. 180-194.

West, Harry G. and Kloeck-Jenson, Scott (1999) 'Betwixt and Between: "Traditional Authority" and Democratic Decentralisation in Post-War Mozambique.' African Affairs, 98 (393). pp. 455-484.

West, Harry G. (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 G. (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 G. and Myers, Gregory W. (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 G. and Fair, Jo Ellen (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.

Book Reviews

West, Harry G. (2013) 'Review of: 'The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America' by Heather Paxson.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 19 (4). pp. 882-914.

West, Harry G. (2006) 'James Ferguson's Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order.' Anthropological Quarterly, 79(1) . pp. 153-159.

West, Harry G. (2003) 'A Review of From War to Peace on the Mozambique-Malawi Borderland (Harri Englund).' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 9 (2). pp. 361-362.

West, Harry G. (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, 35 (4). pp. 84-86.

West, Harry G. (1998) 'Seeing Like James Scott: A Review of Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, by James Scott.' PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 21(1) . pp. 127-131.

This list was generated on Sat Nov 22 00:36:43 2014 GMT.