Lowrider car parked in garage. Water damage on the garage walls behind the car. Black and white poster showin Jim Morrison on garage wall, hung sideways. Some spraypainted black tag on the wall. Finger of photographer slightly covering camera lens.


Los Angeles, 2005. (The photo is not from the book referred to in the text to the right.)

Photo: Martin Høyem


Lowrider Space

We take a special interest in scientific works on outlaw aesthetics here at American Ethnography Quasimonthly. And we also love us some writing on car customization. Thus, when we heard about Ben Chappell’s Lowrider Space, a new publication from the University of Texas Press, we perked up: any academic hep cat who takes a look at lowriders is cool, calm, and a solid wig as far as we’re concerned.

Lowrider Space draws on Chappell’s participant observation fieldwork among car clubs in Austin, Texas. He describes how the lowrider culture creates a social space for its participants, and he points to the value of this space for a group of people who – because of their social status in the society they live in – are often denied access to other spaces.

It’s a cool piece of research, and we’re stoked to share with you an excerpt from the book. Here’s “Regulating Lowrider Space.”

Ethnography challenges false mythology of exotic dance adult entertainment

Anthropologist, educator, writer and dance critic Judith Lynne Hanna has been an expert court witness in cases related to freedom of speech and exotic dance in the United States, and in Ethnography Challenges False Mythology she analyzes how localities try to regulate striptease clubs out of business.

Evans Schultes on Peyote

As a Harvard undergraduate student, Richard Evans Schultes – who later has been described as “the father of modern ethnobotany” – did fieldwork in Oklahoma, where he took peyote himself and studied how the cactus was eaten in the rituals of native Kiowa and Comanche Indians.

Read his observations in one of his earliest works: The appeal of peyote (Lophophora Williamsii) as a medicine.

California’s Spiritual Landscape

Writer Erik Davis and photographer Michael Rauner has made a brilliant investigaton of Californian odd-ball spirituality.

From Ball-Room to Hell

In 1892 Thomas Faulkner wrote, in From the Ball-Room to Hell, about “the degrading lust-creating influence of the waltz.” From his book we give you First and Last Step.


Voodoo in Haiti

A long-forgotten 1940 article by George Eaton Simpson, sociologist and anthropologist, describing a voodoo ceremony: The vodun service in Northern Haiti.

What else?

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Photo: Patricio Crooker

We have put together a gallery with some of photographer Patricio Crooker’s images from the Bolivian Lucha Libre scene. Yes, you read that correctly … Bolivian Lucha Libre!

What’s all this, then?
Black and white pen drawing of car interior with chain steering wheel.

American Ethnography is a stranger in a 1972 Riviera, sunburst yellow banged up and dirty, raving coffee madness cruising Main Street of the quiet desert town at 15 miles an hour …”

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