Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Ethnographic Frontiers: Of Things, Places, and Animals

Nayantara Sheoran Appleton


The frontier, in western imaginary, is the paradoxical space of romantic conquest and simultaneously unbridled dangers. It serves both to showcase the potentialities of futures that can be created and also the inherent dangers present in those spaces that are yet to be conquered. The frontier is uncharted territory for some, but also relinquished territory for others. The frontier marks movement – forward and backward – for differently positioned peoples. The frontier is never static but rather a constantly moving space both figurative and literal that asks us to participate in its making and unmaking. Drawing on the concept of ethnographic frontiers, the three books reviewed are: Elizabeth Chin’s My Life with Things: The Consumer Diaries (Chin 2016); Lindsay Hamilton and Nik Taylor’s Ethnography After Humanism: Power, Politics, and Methods in Multi-Species Research (Hamilton and Taylor 2017); and Lisa Messeri’s Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds (Messeri 2016).


auto-ethnography; ethnographic frontiers; human-animal research; outer space research.

Full Text: