Lectures

Social Soils and Chimerical Metabolisms

The metabolic rift

“All progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil,” Marx (1976: 637-38) wrote in Volume I of Capital. For Marx, not only was the capitalist mode of production incapable of valuing nature in its own right, but its central contradictions also left it …

Features

Diagnosis where? Testing Pigs and Humans for T. solium cysticercosis in Uganda

This article is part of the series:

Taenia solium is a zoonotic disease shared between humans and pigs. Humans become infected with T. solium, also known as the pork tapeworm, when they consume undercooked pork infected with porcine cysticercosis. Human cysticercosis develops when humans ingest T. solium eggs. If cysterici travel to the human brain this leads to neurocysticercosis, a leading cause of onset epilepsy in endemic …

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 …