What is the layout of the text? How does it move, from first page to last? Does it ask for other ways of reading? Does the layout perform an argument?




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Emanuel Preciado's picture
December 17, 2019

As a product that is meant to represent an output of decolonized research the text itself resists conducting research on indigenous communities through a colonial gaze such as drawing on concepts of inclusive nation-state building, Neoliberalism, and Eurocentric Marxism. The text also includes mixed english, spanish, and Mayan words too. The first chapter, in the traditional format, gives historical backdrop and major events leading up to the problem space. Before the first chapter, she begins the book untraditionally by going over a series of concepts in order to set the tone for the book. Mora follows her own advice for decolonizing research by acknowledging from the very beginning (introduction before chapter one) the epistemological limitations to decolonizing research in practice along with other important concepts such as indigeneity and racialization to prepare for us to take the journey with the author through her book. The text follows a timeline that starts with the initiation of the EZLN movement. The rest of the book is organized by themes approved by the Zapatista communities who played a large collaborating role in the production of this study.  

Lucy Pei's picture
December 6, 2019

Burrell argues for looking at multiple scales in a “spiral” when “accounting for the materialization of technologies in global peripheries”(20): starting with the human-machine interface (micro), then expanding to second-order sensemaking (meso), then finally considering the political economy (macro). The chapters are organized starting at the center of the spiral and moving up and out in scale.
The first chapters focus on the scale of the human-machine interface, where Burrell develops participant observations and interviews from time spent in cafes, discussing what participants were doing online and focusing on scamming activities carried out by the youth. Interviews and observations from other contexts inform the second-order sensemaking chapters, which focuses on rumors, morality, and religion around Internet use. When considering the political economy in the final chapters, Burrell develops material from her attendance at the World Summit for the Information Society held in Accra and her observations and interviews with secondhand computer importers. 

Jennifer Renick's picture
December 4, 2019

The layout of the text is somewhat traditional. It begins with an introduction providing relevant background literature, then has chapters organized by each ethnographic case study, which is placed in a different geogrraphic reason. It closes with a standard conclusion synthesizing the argument across the various locations. It doesn't necessarily ask for other ways of reading, but the layout helps to move the argument forward in an easy way for the reader to follow.

Raymond Fang's picture
December 4, 2019

The text is set up as an A-Z compendium of human-insect relations. The chapter lengths vary, from just a few pages to over a dozen. The text does ask for other ways of reading. It does not have to be read sequentially, but can be read in any order. The layout performs an argument that it is impossible to capture the depth and breadth of human-insect relations in a modernist form like the encyclopedia, as the A-Z structure breaks down the further into the alphabet that you go.

Isabelle Soifer's picture
December 3, 2019

Each chapter could hold up on its own, focused on one particular aspect of the "Poor White Study" and how it connects to the broader discussion of the global white imaginary and the fear of white racial degeneration. Each chapter focuses on particular parties and individuals involved, including photographers and cartoonists, white feminist uplifters, segregationists,  and labor. The text layout is informed by her approach to critical geography, which strives to complicate the nation-state and analyze transnational processes. Starting from global whiteness, she focuses in on various players who contributed to and depended on the "Poor White Study" to justify racial imperialism. The author divides the book in such a manner that the salient details for each section are brought forward to create a coherent narrative without overwhelming/losing readers. She holds these details together well with overarching themes and social processes specifically addressed to each chapter’s argument and aim. The layout performs an argument in that as opposed to selecting specific geographies to focus on, she engages specific social-cultural processes of racial regimes (labor markets, white feminism, etc.) as they play out within and between “racial regimes,” in this way reconsidering the national boundaries of South Africa and the U.S. as “exceptionalist.” She strives to locate the common history of settler colonialism and racial imperialism championed by white ethnic movements through origin stories.

Hillary Abraham's picture
December 3, 2019

Miller and Sinanan call their introduction a conclusion. They put forth a theory of attainment, which claims that technology, in this case, the webcam, facilitates new ways of being human rather than changes the nature of being human. The remaining chapters are evidence for their claim, with each chapter discussing a new theme that arose during their interviews - for example, intimacy - and relating it to their theory of attainment. This structure invites ongoing critique of the conceptual argument, as one understands the argument and its weaknesses as evidence is presented. Miller and Sinanan invite the reader to skip the introduction / conclusion and read their evidentiary chapters first, then return to the introduction / conclusion once the evidence has been digested.

James Arie Figgins's picture
December 3, 2019

As a medium, academic books read rather similarly: a problem-description, puzzle, or observation, some historical background, some theory, a few empirical chapters, and a conclusion. Weapons of the Weak is no different. I would say that he back-loads high theory at the end - which was slightly different. The layout provides a backbone a basic rhetorical argument. It progresses from topic to evidence into theory. It’s an interesting rhetorical device, but Scott bookends his work with theory. The opening chapter throws some theory at you just to position it in its place, but the last chapter is 50 pages on Gramsci and hegemony. I actually appreciate the structure; it’s textbook inductive reasoning. He starts with the necessary theory required to understand his exact case, then he outlines his empirics, then he goes into the theoretical implications and its wider application to existing theories. 

Kameko Washburn's picture
December 2, 2019

The text is laid out in a chronological order of events surrounding Lia’s condition. However, it does sometimes skip back in time to discuss the Hmong people in Laos or the Lee family’s personal experience during their time in and fleeing from Laos. The layout does not, in my opinion, aid in it’s argument however, as it is largely meant to be a narrative of this one story it does make it easy to follow and potentially available to a larger audience who are used to reading texts in this format. 

Adan Martinez Ordaz's picture
December 1, 2019

This book starts by painting a picture of the invisible structures, such as the desert, that are used to deter migrants, giving a bird's-eye view at the systems in place. The structure of this book is then divided into three stages. The first phase is separation, in which migrants are subjected many forms of violence. The second phase is the liminal stage. This transitional period presents us with more stories about the crossing and the risks involved, and the motives driving the migrants to undertake this dangerous journey. The last stage presents us with the aftermath. In terms of rituals, this would have been the stage of incorporation, but this is not always the case here, given that numerous migrants disappear in the desert and never emerge. 

December 1, 2019

The book is divided into three acts; the Exposition, Rising Action, and Climax. It is meant to resemble a dramatic play that comes with a constantly shifting plot, acted out by thousands of migrants. At the same time, each migrant has his or her own story; Brigden captures their unique experiences along the route, their interactions with other migrants, and their strategies and practices that they develop within this three part “play” to present the information in the fashion that it is experienced.