Affect, race, and generative fieldsites in urban anthropology

Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas, Ulla D. Berg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay examines the intersection of race and affect in urban anthropology by considering the political economy of ethnographic fieldsites where race, mobility, and affective density are salient. Drawing from our respective ethnographic projects among Andean Peruvian migrants (Berg) and Puerto Rican return-migrant youth (Ramos-Zayas), we develop the concept of “generative fieldsite,” in relation to traditional and recent anthropological understandings of “the field.” By “generative fieldsite” we mean a dynamic appraisal of “the field” that highlights the visceral and sensorial attributes of race and racialization processes that are particularly attentive to contextual and political-economic variables along with conceptions of individual interiority and self-fashioning. The specific transnational and colonial contexts in which our respective ethnographic projects unfold (Peru, Puerto Rico, and the US), and the emotional and affective transformations these contexts require of our interlocutors, provide a productive academic and political terrain to examine how racialized affect operates ethnographically in transnational urban contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Anthropology and the City
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781317296980
ISBN (Print)9781138126091
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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