Book Review Archive

In the Shadow of the Palms: Review

In the Shadow of the Palms: More-Than-Human Becomings in West Papua offers an important intervention into the vague sense of dread, discomfort, and culpability that thinking about palm oil may evoke. Here, palm oil is situated, and its impacts on a specific group of people in a specific place are drawn out. The effect is powerful; a precise story of grief, loss, and endurance in a world fractured by colonialism and untrammelled agribusiness expansion, beautifully realised in Chao’s poetic voice.


Mardi Reardon-Smith

In Quest of a Shared Planet: Review

What happens at the UN climate negotiations? In her new book, In Quest of a Shared Planet, Dr. Naveeda Khan examines the multi-dimensional and chaotic space of these meetings. She demonstrates how diverse Global South actors, from negotiators to activists to experts, influence global climate policy, and why countries like Bangladesh keep taking an active seat at the table after decades of limited action.


Danielle Falzon

Shifting Livelihoods Review

Tubb clarifies how excavator gold mining roots itself in Black Communities’ collective territories through productive transformations on the landscape, wages to workers, land rent to Black families, revenue dividends to local community councils, and security “taxes” to illegal armed groups. Tubb’s ethnography opens the door for a deep and wide examination of racial capitalism, even if he never defines value.


Diego Melo

They Eat Our Sweat Review

Daniel Agbiboa's 'They Eat Our Sweat' is a vivid ethnographic portrait of informal transport in Lagos, providing us with a vantage point to understand the experiences of corruption and informality in everyday urban life.


Allen Xiao

Cartographic Memory Review

In Cartographic Memory, Juan Herrera carefully and elegantly examines Chicano movement activism and its legacies in Oakland, California’s Fruitvale neighborhood, and argues for measuring social movements’ impact in a manner that foregrounds the production the brick-and-mortar achievements of community organizations, as well as the networks of support, solidarity and care that those sites and landscapes continue to facilitate.


Laura Barraclough

The Digital Factory Review

What if instead of an age of automation we are currently living through the dawn of a new era of exploitation?


Fabian Namberger

Menace to Empire Review

"Menace to Empire" is notable for how it offers a relational history of US national security practices in Asia: one that situates them in relation to the other forms of violence work that have always been central to the everyday reproduction of other Pacific empires.


Wesley Attewell

Animal Traffic Review

In Animal Traffic, Rosemary-Claire Collard combines Marxist theory with animal studies to offer a powerful analysis of how capitalism structures human-animal relations, and what the “oddity” (2020: 8) of the exotic pet case can teach us about our more common relations with animals.


Sam E. Morton

Review, Citizen Designs, by Eli Elinoff

Citizen Designs is a careful depiction of what democracy feels like, with all its discomforts, disagreements, and unresolved tensions. Elinoff manages to present a picture of the struggle for equal citizenship that is at once optimistic and unromantic. In this, the book makes a timely and important contribution to understandings of the relationship between politics and design


Hayden Shelby

Review, Unmanning, by Katherine Chandler

As drone use becomes increasingly democratised and diversified, Katherine Chandler’s Unmanning is a timely excavation of drone technology’s history of American political and postcolonial violence.


Beryl Pong