This book is at least in part about the repayment of debts—above all, those
the living owe the dead. Although I am fortunate that most of those who
helped me the most have not yet “shed their bodies” (a literal translation of
a Mazatec expression for dying), I nevertheless incurred enormous debts in
writing this book. Beginning with the most recent, I thank Brown University,
and especially the Department of Anthropology, for their support as I was
revising the book and seeking a publisher. Special thanks go to Jen Ashley,
Marcy Brink- Danan, Deborah Cohen, Bianca Dahl, Lina Fruzzetti, Matt Gut-
mann, Susan Ellison, Sherine Hamdy, Marida Hollos, Steve Houston, Karl
Jacoby, David Kertzer, Yukiko Koga, Marie Lee, Jessaca Leinaweaver, Cathy
Lutz, Kiri Miller, Kathleen Millar, Rhacel Parreñas, Marc Perlman, Pat Ruber-
tone, Vanessa Ryan, Wendy Schiller, Bill Simmons, Dan Smith, Michael Stein-
berg, Pat Symonds, Joshua Tucker, and Kay Warren for commenting on drafts
and sharing their knowledge of the publication process. I also thank Shay
O’Brien, who at each stage of preparing this book proved herself the most
competent, intelligent assistant I could have asked for. And I am extremely
grateful to Matilde Andrade, Kathy Grimaldi, and Margie Sugrue, who on a
daily basis helped make my job and my life easier.
I was also very fortunate in having supportive mentors and peers at two
other institutions: the University of Chicago, where I spent a marvelous year
as a Harper- Schmidt postdoctoral fellow before coming to Brown and where
I also spent considerable time as a doctoral student, and the University of
Pennsylvania, where I completed my doctorate. I have no doubt that, what-
ever its flaws, this book is immeasurably better for the time I spent immersed
in the intellectual lives of both universities. Special thanks go to Asif Agha,
Deborah Augsburger, Amahl Bishara, Summerson Carr, Jessica Cattelino,
Mike Cepek, John and Jean Comaroff, Cherai Cotton, Hilary Dick, Nancy
Farriss, Sue Gal, Rob Hamrick, Wendi Haugh, Reha Kadakal, Webb Keane,
Paul Kockelman, John Lucy, Tanya Luhrmann, Paul Manning, Alex Mawyer,
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