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.”

The Genetical Theory of Race, and Anthropological Method

“The common definition of ‘race’ is based upon an arbitrary and superficial selection of external characters,” wrote Ashley Montagu in 1942. We have Montagu’s article for your reading pleasure: The genetical theory of race, and anthropological method.

Southern Ute Peyote Rite

“What do you mean a bad thing? Does it hurt your church? Well, then, let them have it. It’s their church.”

From Marvin K. Opler’s The character and history of the Southern Ute peyote rite.

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.

Hot Rod Kulture Culture

“A good thing about Polaroids,” artist and photographer Jack Butler says, “is that you take the picture and it’s ready right away, so you can use the photo to initiate a conversation with your subjects.”

 

Wrestling Cholitas of Bolivia

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 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: Edward S. Curtis

We spent some time looking through the Edward S. Curtis Collection at the Library of Congress, and picked out a few photos which are currently our favorites. From these we selected the ones showing different examples of masks, because – as William Butler Yeats pointed out in 1910 – mask are just so damn cool:

It was the mask engaged your mind,
And after set your heart to beat,
Not what's behind.

These are wonderful, captivating images. Enjoy a stroll through our gallery, and see for yourself.

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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