Books

Christopher Kelty’s The Participant: A Century of Participation in Four Stories

The Participant: A Century of Participation in Four Stories

Christopher M. Kelty

University of Chicago Press, 2020. 344 pages.

A book about participation? Chris Kelty’s delightful new book begins by giving voice to his audience’s likely incredulity. Mimicking the standard response to the project, he launches with the question, “Participation in what?” In everything and nothing, of course. He notes …

Lectures

How to Make Sense of “Traditional (Chinese) Medicine” In a Time of Covid-19: Cold War Origin Stories and the WHO’s Role in Making Space for Polyglot Therapeutics

This article is part of the series:

Note: I wrote this for anyone trying to “teach the virus,” something I will soon be doing myself. The question in the title is meant to signal that this is an open-ended dialogue. Most of the sources are in English and are easily available, meaning that students can use them as evidence, read other scholarship, and develop their own (counter)

Lectures

Events of Disruptive Transformation

This article is part of the series:

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

Silent Spring in Europe calls for a New Social Ecology

This article is part of the series:

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

“The Measles from the Time of My Grandfather”: Amazonian Ethnocide Memories in Times of Covid-19

This article is part of the series:
“Kanari Kuikuro shows me a pot full of winged leafcutter ants he has just collected”. November, 2002. Xingu Indigenous Land, Brazil. Photo by Carlos Fausto

Two weeks ago, Kanari Kuikuro called me from Canarana, a small town in the Brazilian Amazon, where he now lives with his wife and many children. He is originally from the Xingu Indigenous Land, which lies …

Lectures

Gloves, embryos, and DDT: thinking with surfaces on toxicity in South Africa

In the early 1980s, researchers at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa were confounded by the persistent failure of their experimental mice embryos. The researchers had hoped to develop the first successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) programme in Africa. Yet, attempt after attempt, the mice embryos died. One researcher recounted to me later that he reviewed other protocols and …