As If Already Free
Anthropology and Activism After David Graeber
A new look at a brilliant radical legacy
'A highly original thinker' - New York Times
David Graeber (1961–2020) was an American anthropologist and anarchist activist, who left us with new ways to understand humankind. This collection of new writing brings together his insights into one book, showing how deeply his work continues to influence us today.
Graeber's writing resonates with both scholars and activists looking to shake things up. The impact of his work is broad in scope, from birth to banking, and he picks open social hierarchy and political power to expose what really makes human society tick.
In today's neoliberal world, we can turn to his legacy to provide a way for us to understand what went wrong, and how to fix it. This collection of writings is both an introduction to his life and works, a guide to his key ideas, and an inspiring example of of how anthropologists are continuing to use his work today.
An open access ebook version of this title is available, here.
Holly High is an Associate Professor at Deakin University, Australia. She has written two books, Fields of Desire and Projectland and edited the collection Stone Masters.
Joshua O. Reno is a Professor at Binghamton University, US. A socio-cultural anthropologist, he is the author of Waste Away, Military Waste and co-author of Imagining the Heartland. He co-edited the collection Economies of Recycling.
'A fundamental contribution, containing precious insights into what made David Graeber the most innovative social thinker of our time, and why the legacy of his ideas will continue to inspire projects of emancipation, for generations to come.'- David Wengrow, Professor of Comparative Archaeology, University College London, and co-author of 'The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity'
'In this stimulating collection of ‘slow cooked’ essays, the editors reflect on the enduring enchantment of David Graeber’s ideas. They remind us that there is always hope in today’s troubled world and that the activist pursuit of hope can be fun as well as rewarding.'- Chris Gregory, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Australian National University
'Uncovers the critical contributions of Graeberian thought to contemporary education, politics, economy, reproduction, and power relations writ small and large. A must-read for anyone who believes in the power of academia as activism.'- Sophie Chao, Environmental anthropologist, University of Sydney
'From Game of Thrones and The Idiots to free birth and megafires in Australia, this book’s writers honour Graeber’s legacy, while revealing their own original voices. Informing, provoking and imagining alternatives, they testify to people’s lives and struggles today. [It] will find a broad readership among thinkers and activists for social and economic justice, along with urgent climate action.'- Lorraine Mortimer, independent Anthropology scholar
'A simultaneously rigorous and personal tribute to a giant in public anthropology and activism … destined to serve as an invitation to further conversation, action, and friendship.'- Hirokazu Miyazaki, Northwestern University
Introduction: David Graeber in the Library Stacks - Joshua O. Reno and Holly High
1. On Morons - Joshua O. Reno, Binghamton, USA
2. Birthing Possibilities - Holly High, Deakin, Australia
3. Actually Existing Anarchist Anthropology - Holly High and Joshua O. Reno
4. Ka Mare, Ka Ora: On Truth, Lies, and Knowing the Difference - Georgina Tauri Stewart, Auckland University of Technology
5. Actualizing the Public University - Sharad Chari, UC Berkeley
6. Reading Graeber, Leach, and a Revolution in Myanmar - Michael Edwards, University of Cambridge
7. Debt and Political Possibility in Eritrea - Michael Ralph, Howard University
8. Collectivized Hoards and the Regulation of Money - Gustav Peebles, New School
9. Notes on Confronting the System - David Pedersen, UC San Diego
Afterword - Bill Maurer, UC Irvine
140mm x 216mm