Every month Public Anthropologist will suggest a new or recent book that we believe “everybody must read”. We start the “Suggested by Public Anthropologist” series with Laura Nader’s Contrarian Anthropology. The Unwritten Rules of Academia, which is a call to reinvigorate anthropology’s principal attitude: crossing boundaries. As Nader puts it in the introduction of this rich collection of essays, “Anthropology has been called the ‘uncomfortable discipline’ and ‘an institutionalized train wreck caught between science and humanities,’ thus inherently contrarian. It is the anthropological perspective that sees what other disciplines often do not see, that makes connections that are not made elsewhere, that questions assumptions and behavior that is contrary to cultural expectations.”
With essays covering important areas of both anthropological inquiry and public debate – (in)justice, energy, gender, power, democracy, law – and written in the course of half a century effort in research and teaching, Nader’s book unravels professional mindsets (within and outside of anthropology) and solicits critical attention toward increasing hyper-specialization and narrow delimitation of knowledge production.