Features

Bleach

My friend Dr. Muñoz makes his own bleach.  He uses salt, water, and electrodes to render sodium hypochlorite.  To do this, he has colonized a small space in a garage-cum-storage unit nestled on the grounds of the Managua health center where he works.  His bleach-making is ad-hoc and off the books.  Dr. Muñoz doesn’t get extra money or time from …

Features

Petri Dish

The petri dish was made for separation.  It was developed for culturing microorganisms while separating them from airborne contaminates.  As part of its ability to make separations between the contaminated world outside and the uncontaminated world inside, the dish also assisted in separating individuals from disease.  These days, it’s getting harder for petri dishes to maintain these separations.

Julius Richard …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: The Gut Microbiome and our Bacterial Selves

Attempts at understanding the true nature our innermost selves has long been a human preoccupation. Are our inner worlds populated with repressed memories and persistent neuroses? Or perhaps our genes direct and define us even as they hide in the interior spaces of our interior spaces? Well, now there is a new contender in the hidden constitution of human selfhood: …

In the Journals

“Multispecies Ethnography": a special issue of Cultural Anthropology

Just when you thought it was safe to engage in human exceptionalism…. Cultural Anthropology comes along with a special issue on “Multispecies Ethnography.

In their introduction– which surveys a range of literatures and conceptual turns which have preceded and laid the groundwork for this “species turn” – S. Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich write:

“A new genre

Features

Emerging thoughts on swine flu

Globally, the number of cases of swine flu, and deaths attributed to or probably caused by the H1N1 virus are escalating; the microbe is certainly on the move. The BBC has a decent map of the outbreaks. Today, (in an article depicting a cool picture of a thermal scanner at Incheon International Airport in South Korea), The New York Times

Features

Microbes and Anthropology

Microbes are everywhere; viruses, bacteria, and fungi are among the most abundant and diverse forms of life on earth. Anyone who has ever contemplated purchasing—or experienced bewilderment at the existence of antibacterial ballpoint pens, bedding, athletic clothing, soaps or similar products can attest to the prominence of bacteria in everyday cultural consciousness in the U.S. I for one am building …