Cover: Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century, from Harvard University PressCover: Returns in HARDCOVER


Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century

Add to Cart

Product Details


$48.00 • £38.95 • €43.00

ISBN 9780674724921

Publication Date: 11/04/2013


376 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

35 halftones, 1 line illustration


In writing about aboriginal peoples, Clifford aims to challenge the apparently simple, exposing proofs of persistence and resilience where others might resort to elegy.—Mark Abley, The Times Literary Supplement

Returns tracks the multiple and numerous narratives involved in this reconceptualization of what it means to be ‘indigenous’ or ‘native’ in the cosmopolitan twenty-first century… Returns brings new forms of analysis and perspectives to these debates owing to its fresh consideration of cosmopolitanism and (post)modernity and the impact of these upon indigeneity… Returns is of potential interest to a range of readers—both those interested in the anthropology of social movements but also scholars of knowledge and intellectual history… Thoughtful and fascinating.—Sarah Burton, LSE Review of Books

Clifford deftly examines two major themes—globalization and decolonization—and their complex impact on native lives… Clifford successfully interweaves ideas from multiple disciplines including anthropology, sociology, history, and political science to create a fascinating cultural exploration.—Elizabeth Salt, Library Journal

Clifford brings together processes and phenomena that are commonly regarded as antithetical—specifically, modernity and native peoples. His is a detailed analysis of the connections and multidimensional cultural relationships linking places and people far and near… While native societies have indeed suffered, many flourished in an increasingly interconnected world, a culturally and demographically positive trend. Global in scope and covering much ground, the book celebrates and explains the resurgence of subordinated societies ranging from Pacific Islanders to Native Americans, and discusses cultural renewal among the Maya as well as the cultural and political aspirations of Catalonia.— O. Pi-Sunyer, Choice

Over the last forty years, indigenous peoples have gained unprecedented global visibility. Too often, the academic response has lurched between facile romanticism and disingenuous critique. In contrast, James Clifford’s writings on these challenging movements are insightful, balanced, and lucid. Returns is an indispensable guide to a vital dimension of the present and the future.—Nicholas Thomas, University of Cambridge

Homecomings as becomings: in this visionary book, Clifford shows us what it means to listen for the entangled agencies of indigènitude in various ‘primitive’ populations’ practices of survival and self-renewal in the contemporary world. Rather than subsuming these agencies under the uni-directional biopolitics of capitalist modernity and Euro-American colonialism, he brings to them the patience, dedication, and capaciousness of an ethnographic realism, one that challenges our entrenched habits of teleological historical thinking at every turn.—Rey Chow, Duke University

Like Clifford’s previous books, Returns is written for a broad audience and demonstrates the range, generosity, and acuity of his thinking. Using extended examples ranging from the Pacific to California to Alaska, Clifford reflects provocatively on the meaning of belonging to a place, reclaiming one’s heritage, and forging indigenous futures. This book is destined to become as significant for anthropology and cultural studies as its predecessors.—Pauline Strong, University of Texas at Austin

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene