Editors’ Welcome

Dear Reader,

We welcome you to the 4th edition of the Cambridge University Social Anthropology Society (CUSAS) Magazine, organised by the 2023-24 CUSAS Committee. We have entitled the Easter 2024 edition: ‘Ecologies’. In selecting this focus, we hoped to allow room for a variety of inquiries and contexts of exploration within our Department’s scholarly community.

CUSAS’ vision is of a Department wherein students and staff are exposed to challenging and diverse views which further their anthropological interest and facilitate both academic achievement and social change. The pieces in this edition reflect a variety of definitions of and perspectives on ecologies, while offering new perspectives on how our anthropological contexts stretch and morph the term and challenging how we utilise ecologies within the discipline. 

CUSAS has forefronted our own thinking about ecologies and wanted to present this conversation to our anthropological community. Most notably, Professor Jason Hickel will speak at our annual Strathern Lecture on Thursday, 16 May, 2024. His upcoming discussion is a continuation of his long standing work on ecological economics, global political economy, and inequality best analysed through his works The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions (2017), and Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World (2020). We hope that you all will join us for Jason Hickel’s lecture entitled, “Capitalism, imperialism, and the struggle for development in the 21st century”.

This edition seeks to highlight anthropology’s grappling with ecologies and its capacity to influence self-reflection about our role as researchers and human beings in the Anthropocene, while it postulates how we can move forward.  Professor Mike Degani’s and post-doctoral fellow Julia Perczel’s pieces, included in this edition, reflect on how we can think about responsibility and ethics between the human and our environments during the climate emergency. Also featured in this edition are comments from Dr Hildegard Diemberger and Dr Sayana Namsaraeva as well as an essay by Professor Cymene Howe and Professor Dominic Boyer. Both discuss the implications of extending human-environment relations to reconsider responsible, caring, and responsive research and fieldwork practices.  

We would also like to thank our student contributor, Tarina Franklin, for considering the nuance of ecologies in their own research contexts and for suggesting extensions for anthropological analysis to aid our discipline’s conceptualisation of the term. You can read all the pieces here.

We, the editors, also wanted to use this space to invite more student participation in the CUSAS Magazine. This magazine endeavours to represent the new, complex thoughts within our anthropological community (from undergraduate to tenured professor) and to invite other anthropologists to participate in that conversation. It is a unique and privileged space of collaboration and experimentation where others can engage with your ideas. We encourage students to take advantage of this during the next academic year! On our end, we will review our editorial process to ensure the magazine is engaging and accessible to our student community.

We invite you to read this newest edition of the magazine and to challenge your own notions of ecologies and the term’s value in advancing our discipline.


The CUSAS Magazine Co-Editors

Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez, PhD Social Anthropology

Edurne Sosa El Fakih, PhD Social Anthropology

Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez is a writer, dancer, and creative pursuing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She is a 2021 and 2022 Gates Cambridge Scholar and a member of Trinity College. Her writing and creative work centres Afrofuturist musings, narratives of migration, and explorations of community and movement building. 

Edurne Sosa El Fakih is mostly a stubborn and intense writer pursuing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She is a member of Newnham College and Menca de Leoni Scholarship recipient. Her book, Al borde de un viaje, is a creative project that speaks about uprooting, death, and childhood nostalgia.