Lectures

From Bat Soup to Bean Sprouts: Coronavirus Food Fears in Historical Perspective

This article is part of the series:

On a trip to Shandong, China, at the end of January 2020, a few days after the lockdown of Wuhan, I watched a video of a stewed bat on Douyin – the Chinese video-sharing app. The bat sat in a bowl of soup, its boiled skin drawn back across its face to reveal its teeth, almost as if maliciously grinning. …

Lectures

The politics of Amphibiosis: the war against viruses will not take place

This article is part of the series:

“We are at war.” This was Emmanuel Macron’s chosen refrain when he addressed the French nation about the current COVID-19 pandemic. He is certainly not the first to present human/pathogenic microbe relations in this way. Indeed, the history of immunology and epidemiology is littered with the vocabulary of war. But this presidential rhetoric reveals a certain communication strategy based on …

Lectures

Of dogs and their humans: Late life in a more-than-human world of the COVID-19 pandemic

This article is part of the series:

Sometimes when we go to the park, Bruce – my canine research assistant – and I meet with another more-than-human pair, who join us for a game of fetch. The other pair, both human and dog, are quite old and slow, and pace to each other’s rhythm in a way that only partners who have lived together for a long …

Features

Life/NonLife: a forum

This Somatosphere forum features essays written in the wake of a debate held at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The debate was organized around the following motion: “Lacking empirical traction and heuristic power, the distinction between life and nonlife is one that anthropology needs to discard.” We hope …

Books

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s “The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins”

tsingcoverThe Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Princeton University Press, 2015, 352 pages

Yeah. What a nice book. Thank goodness there are feminists at the controls as we enter the ecological—which is to say, truly post-modern (note the hyphen) era. This is a profoundly nonviolent, and therefore …