Books

Book forum: Julie Livington’s Self-Devouring Growth

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This book forum brings together seven scholars to discuss Julie Livingston’s Self-Devouring Growth: A Planetary Parable as Told from Southern Africa (Duke 2019), a story of what grows alongside “growth” and the price of “a good life.” Botswana offers lessons that are peopled and elemental; lessons that tug between the local and the global. Livingston shows how water, food, transportation…

Lectures

Events of Disruptive Transformation

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We have been discussing the prospects of catastrophes of our own making for decades. We have been debating risks linked to anthropogenic climate change and runaway technologies, trying to fathom even those futures that we otherwise deem unfathomable. Yet it is a known natural risk that wreaks havoc around the globe today.

Events of Surprise

Despite the fact that we …

Lectures

Clean in Times of Covid-19: on Hygiene and Pollution

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As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, air pollution and greenhouse emissions decrease, or so news reports say. The satellite images of China in lockdown provided a first striking example. In response to this, one Dutch newspaper even proclaimed ‘a winner’ in the coronavirus pandemic, namely ‘the environment’. But that is a bit too hasty. Not only are (as environmental experts warn) …

Lectures

Silent Spring in Europe calls for a New Social Ecology

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Deserted streets in Rome, empty dance-halls in Berlin, died-out tourist attractions in Barcelona, and a lonely Eiffel-Tower in Paris: Europe is experiencing its first locked-down spring. It marks an experiential as well as a paradoxical break in our everyday lives. On the one hand, Covid-19 has emerged as a brutal, tragic and unquestionable fact within world society. On the other …

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 …

BooksFeatures

Book Forum: Daniel Renfrew’s Life Without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay

Introduction

Daniel Renfrew’s Life Without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay (2018) is a masterful undertaking on the anthropology of disaster and its everydayness. An ethnographic portrayal that is prismatic in its attention, the book combines numerous elements––place, civic performance, history, political economy––to bear on the lead poisoning epidemic in Montevideo, Uruguay at the turn of the 21st