SITW Endorsements

Keith Hart           Self in the World: Connecting Life’s Extremes (Berghahn, Spring 2022)

Keith Hart’s Self in the World is the story of a brilliant and sometimes troubled individual, one of the most creative intellectuals of the last 50 years. It is a story of anthropology as an intellectual project and vocation; of Africa, anti-colonial struggle, and digital revolution; of life in Manchester, Paris, and Durban. Famous for his concept of the informal economy and theory of money as memory, Hart offers a call to anthropology in its fullest meaning, an exploration of what it means to be human. It is moving, informative, engaging and, indeed, important.” — Craig Calhoun, President, SSRC New York.

This is a work of great originality. Keith Hart has had an unorthodox academic career and it has liberated him in many ways from academic pieties. His background in African ethnography gives him a fascinating angle on all sorts of things, not least the possibility of a more African-influenced global future. The book is full of surprises and mind-shifting observations. I couldn’t put it down. — Sherry B. Ortner, Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

In Keith Hart’s story there are some wise words for his fellow academics – but you can skip them easily enough if you wish. Here is a fat sandwich with a rich filling that tells his own story as no other anthropologist could: a streetwise journey from Manchester to Paris via Cambridge and a dozen other key locations worldwide. To call it picaresque risks giving the Picaroon pirates a bad name. The young Hart made his name with self-consciously scholarly works where ‘I had to convert all my stories into the third person’. Now he does the opposite and we get lifelong learning distilled magically into a compelling first-person narrative. — Peter Clarke, Historian of modern Britain and former Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge

We all inevitably come up against the dilemma of our species: we are singular actors enmeshed in social worlds of our making but not under circumstances of our own choosing. Keith Hart has long been our guide through the contradictions that help us become what we are—human. This remarkable memoir takes the reader on a life’s journey with a purpose and passion to reorganize how we think in and on the world. Only then might we develop new forms of knowledge and social life that will allow humanity to flourish. This is a profoundly hopeful text. — Bill Maurer, Dean of Social Sciences, UC Irvine. 

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