Lectures

Writing Life No. 14: An Interview with Hélène Mialet

This article is part of the series:
Image 1: Hélène’s home office.

The pandemic has revealed the fragility of our lives and the vulnerability of our bodies. It has also revealed the importance of fleshy connections that drive our energy, and our fundamental dependence on others, humans and non-humans, without which we couldn’t survive. Hélène Mialet has been exploring such themes in her work, most notably in …

Lectures

Writing Life No. 10: An interview with Sebastjan Vörös

This article is part of the series:
Figure 1: Sebastjan’s philosophy notebook and writing space in Ljubljana, Slovenia

“Curiously, our letters turned out to be not a mere sum of (theoretically discrete) elements but a new Gestalt, with its own inner pulse, its own existential thickness, its own elusive, yet curiously concrete style which seems to pervade every message that we produce and exchange” (Sebastjan Vörös, …

Lectures

The toilet paper panic: coronavirus and reflections from confinement

This article is part of the series:

The video shows two women coming to blows over a packet of loo rolls; the manager intervenes, trying to calm them down. One of the women has a supermarket trolley full of toilet paper. The other yells in despair: “I only want one, just give me one!”, and the reply comes back, in the same tone: “no, not even one, …

Lectures

Who feeds (on) whom? Labour and the porosity of environments and bodies

Hannah Landecker writes about the new metabolism as “a model in which food enters the body and in a sense never leaves it, because food transforms the organism’s being as much as the organism transforms it” (2011: 177). Articulating Landecker’s insights into the porosity of bodies through an anthropological lens, Harris Solomon (2016) offers an ethnography of absorption in the …

Lectures

Eating in Class: Notes on Nourishment and Decolonial Pedagogy

It’s a common adage, following Lévi-Strauss, that “food is good to think with.” A class assignment that includes food-centred ethnographic presentations expands the scope of such thinking into embodied and institutional memory. Below I describe such a class feast prepared by second-year social anthropology students at Sol Plaatje University in 2019 (one of two post-Apartheid South African Universities). The idea …

Features

Is Hunger Culture-Bound?

Over the last decade, indigenous Marind communities in the rural district of Merauke, West Papua, have seen vast swaths of their forests and savannas razed to make way for monocrop oil palm plantations. These developments are promoted by the Indonesian government as part of efforts to achieve national self-sufficiency in basic commodities, including palm oil, sugar, and rice. On the …