Books

Heather Paxson’s The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America

Paxson Life of Cheese

The Life of Cheese Crafting Food and Value in America

University of California Press, 2012, 332 pages.

Heather Paxson’s The Life of Cheese might seem like an odd book to review for Somatosphere, but a quick glance reveals chapters such as “Microbiopolitics” and “Ecologies of Production” which feel as familiar as well-worn flannel. The Life of Cheese examines the …

Features

Pesticides and global health: ‘ambivalent objects’ in anthropological perspective

Pesticides: can’t live with them, can’t live without them

In Sri Lanka, producers of the illicit liquor kasippu sometimes suspend a bottle of pesticide above the vat during the fermentation process. It is believed the kasippu will absorb the potency of the pesticide and add to its strength, increasing drinkers’ intoxication and pleasure. But there is also a danger the …

Features

Spray

Adéline chided me for going all the way to town to buy a “natural” mosquito spray that—while hardly effective—I continued to slather on my body every time we jogged the wooded paths of the Forêt Vatable in Martinique. She had gotten used to my declining to borrow her Pyramid brand “Repel 100,” a 100% deet formulation that she swore by, …

Books

Seth Holmes’ Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States

by Seth Holmes

Foreword by Philippe Bourgois

University of California Press, 2013. 264 pages; US$ 27.95, paperback

 

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in food and the food system, and the ethics, politics, and human consequences that are a part of how stuff gets …

Features

Bird Flu: The Circulation of Life and Death in a Postspecies World

At the end of 2009, linguists around the world collected words to characterize the first decade of the new millennium.  “Aporkalypse” appeared at the top of their list, describing a swine-inspired end of days ushered in by the threat of bird flu. Though playful, this term points to a growing recognition that animals –and their diseases –have determining …