Collection : Expertise: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge

Expertise is dedicated to publishing innovative scholarship situated at the vibrant juncture of the anthropology of knowledge, science and technology studies, and new media studies. The proliferation of new technologies across the world today is generating new forms of knowledge and techniques of knowing that are in turn transforming existing practices and institutions. Understanding these emerging cultures of expertise ranks among the most challenging and rewarding horizons of the human sciences. Expertise seeks to extend this horizon and to create new opportunities for conversation and collaboration. We seek theoretically sophisticated, historically attuned works of ethnography from anthropologists and other scholars.

The following is an illustrative but not exhaustive list of areas of research and scholarship that interest us:

•Professions, professionalism, and cultures of expertise
•Technocracy, bureaucratic practices, and institutions
•Expertise and authority in scientific, technical, and medical communities
•The diversification of digital media and information technologies and their cultural and political effects
•New media and information practices in contemporary political and social movements
•The intersection of religious and spiritual knowledge with scientific and secular knowledge
•Late liberal and neosocialist forms of political expertise, administration, and management
•Contemporary efforts to commodify knowledge and capitalist knowledge industries and economies
•Globalization, transnational ecologies of expertise, and circulating forms of knowledge and information

The series editor for Expertise is Dominic Boyer, Department of Anthropology Rice University (


Praise for Expertise: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge

"In Dominic Boyer's series, the long deferred and exotic anthropology of elites finally becomes, most productively, the ethnography of experts, on which so many lively topical openings in contemporary anthropological research depend. Experts are subjects, partners, sponsors, and audiences—all of which shape the spaces and questions that anthropologists distinctively create in their research. It is so important to have a series defined in this way, and it is exciting to watch as each new volume appears."
—George E. Marcus, University of California, Irvine

"Dominic Boyer's aptly named Expertise series tackles issues that are of pressing interest globally and that will likewise define anthropology’s future: the effects of new media and technology, the contemporary threat of disease, the spread of capitalist management techniques, and more. Boyer has assembled exceptional scholars who adroitly analyze these emerging conditions and the knowledge practices they call into being. The Expertise series is an important venue for exciting, innovative, and urgent work."
—Caitlin Zaloom, New York University

“Imaginative, sophisticated, and, yes, displaying extraordinary expertise, this series brings together remarkable studies of the social life of contemporary knowledges—and of the actors and institutions central to their transformation. Individually fascinating and grounded in the textures of emergent practice, these volumes together constitute a rich and generative conversation of real consequence.”
—Donald L. Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz

“For the last decade or so interest in the nature of expertise and the operation of cultures of expertise has moved from the margins to the center of anthropological research. The Expertise series published by Cornell University Press not only fully anticipated this trend but also has been in the forefront of defining its intellectual interests and its ethnographic ambitions. The series demonstrates how a bold new synthesis of disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) agendas is gaining articulation, a synthesis that demands serious attention to how theory and data themselves operate within cultures of expertise. Encompassing many of the most important and challenging areas of global knowledge production--media, religion, politics, medicine, science, and technology--the books in the series reveal the creative role of expertise in defining the institutional imperatives and the managerial practices of our time.”
—Douglas Holmes, Binghamton University

“In a more or less tacit sense, anthropology has always involved the study of expert knowledge and expert practice. But this indispensable new series from Cornell University Press invites us to confront the problem of expertise as a conceptual object in itself, one that is at once grounded in particular institutional settings and constantly in a state of translation across domains of media, science, politics, and entrepreneurship.”
—William Mazzarella, University of Chicago

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No Family Is an Island
Cultural Expertise among Samoans in Diaspora
Ilana Gershon
Ilana Gershon investigates how and when the categories "cultural" and "acultural" become relevant for Samoans as they encounter cultural differences in churches, ritual exchanges, welfare offices, and community-based organizations.

At Home with the Diplomats
Inside a European Foreign Ministry
Iver B. Neumann
There is a vast gulf between the public face of diplomacy and the opinions and actions that take place behind embassy doors. In At Home with the Diplomats, Iver B. Neumann offers unprecedented access to the inner workings of a foreign ministry.

Spiritual Economies
Islam, Globalization, and the Afterlife of Development
Daromir Rudnyckyj
Rudnyckyj's book challenges widespread assumptions about contemporary Islam by showing how moderate Muslims in Southeast Asia are reinterpreting Islam not to reject modernity but to create business practices conducive to globalization.

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