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.

Lowrider

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.”

Homeless Drug Addicts on the Streets of San Francisco

Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg spent over a decade doing fieldwork with two dozen homeless heroin and crack addicts on the streets of San Francisco, and produced an extraordinary wellcrafted documentation of this dystopian side of American society.

Their book, Righteous Dopefiend, is an ethnographic tour de force, and we’re stoked to bring you an excerpt.

Stripping, social class, and the strange carnalities of research

Sociologist Danielle Egan worked as a striptease dancer and wrote about it in her book Dancing for Dollars and Paying for Love. Here is an excerpt from the book.

Voodoo in Haiti

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

Graduate School

From a depraved and desperate Montreal underworld, here’s a pitiless and darkly comic exposé of a dope hungry intellectual who educates himself in the art of hustling access to the contents of pharmacy cabinets.

 

Bajito y Suavecito

Jack Parsons is the grandson of pioneering anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons, and tells us he has “a soft spot for cultural anthropology.” Check out this gallery we have put together, with his photos of New Mexico lowriders. (From Low ’n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; Museum of New Mexico Press, 1999).

What else?

Have you got some good stuff you think American Eth­no­gra­phy Quasi­monthly should cover? Please send us an email and tell us about it!

Proposal to perfume within your region

“It is my wish to book with you for a group of 10 students coming from Germany, as they are preparing for their contracted proposal to perfume within your region.”

More on our feedback page.

 

Photo: Martin Hoyem

It’s around noon, late October, in a small town on the northwestern edge of the Colorado Desert. The outside air is clean and fresh, almost cold. A breeze blows through an open balcony door. Indoors, a modestly sized living room is jam-packed with dazzling paraphernalia, effects from the glamorous past of the lady who lives here. She’s worked in burlesque since the early 1960s.

Read the rest of our interview with Satan’s Angel here.

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 …”

 
Record sleeve art:  Rubén Blades  & Seis del Solar Buscando América

Today we’re digging Buscando América by Rubén Blades & Seis del Solar.

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