James H. McDonald

James H. McDonald received his PhD from Arizona State University and is Provost and Professor of Arts & Sciences at the University of Montevallo, Alabama’s public liberal arts university. He is an applied cultural anthropologist with over 30 years of research experience analyzing rural development, political culture, and security dynamics in Mexico and Guatemala.

In Mexico he has explored how NAFTA, and related policy changes, effected domestic food production, the politics of rural development, and the livelihood of family farmers. This work culminated with an exploration of the effects of an aggressively evolving narcoeconomy on rural culture and society.

Most recently he collaborated on a research project in the Western Highlands of Guatemala studying the political and legal dynamics of indigenous communities under conditions of a faltering state governance system, endemic insecurity, and ethnic exclusion. That work has resulted in the book The Crisis in Governance in Maya Guatemala: Indigenous Responses to a Failing State (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013).

Mr. McDonald has published over 30 articles, as well as numerous book reviews, review essays, and commentaries. Additionally, he authored The Applied Anthropology Reader (Allyn & Bacon, 2002). He also served as senior editor of the American Anthropological Association journal, Culture & Agriculture, from 1998–2007.

Book Reviews by James H. McDonald

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“Higher education in America is being rapidly reshaped under conditions of unprecedented volatility.* The very notion of the university as a public good is under wholesale siege.

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“Stability is out, revolution is in, so are the Islamists, identity politics are a jumble, women and their bodies remain repressed, violence or its threat is endemic, corruption is all arou

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In Pioneer Park in Dallas, past the statue of romantic cowboys and iconic longhorns, in a far corner of the park—a stone’s throw from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Conference Center—stands a monument.

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Anthropologist/folklorist/journalist Zora Neale Hurston used her polyvalent talent to produce the only recorded Trans-Atlantic slave narrative based on extensive interviews with Kossula, or Cudjo L

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“Trillions of dollars move through the world’s markets illegally, and millions of people work in extra-state activities.

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Guatemala, a small post-colonial state that is not so post.

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Ariel Dorfman’s Homeland Security Ate My Speech is a deeply thoughtful, poetic, and critical analysis of the fractured political landscape in America.

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Wallace Shawn is, by his own admission, a lucky man. Through no particular talent or effort on his part, he wound up on the privileged side of the class divide.

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Environmental historian Miles Powell has provided a new and provocative angle to the history of the American conservation/preservation movement through the lens of its racial logics.

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Written/Unwritten is a collection of essays by American academic faculty of color who have written poignant essays about the challenges, barriers, pain, and resilience required of being a

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Happy Anyway is a collection of short essays by current and past denizens of Flint, Michigan—the hometown of General Motors.

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Cartels are businesses that exist on the wildly entrepreneurial illegal side of capitalism.

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The Shock of the Anthropocene is a detailed, data-driven, and well-argued critique of conventional thought [about the ecosystem] . . .”

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“A classic liberal education has few defenders.”
—Fareed Zakaria

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While Evans and Reid explore such concepts as sustainable and participatory development in reference to the poor south, the book’s curatorial perspective is decidedly West

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Greening in the Red Zone provides critical research and application that provides a tremendous starting point for catalyzing a discussion about how to heal, integ

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Times of Security is an edited collection of essays that seeks to refine and redefine the study and understanding of security (general human wellbeing) in a complex geopolitical world that

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“. . . the story of an incredibly stoic, resilient people . . .”