Our latest article is out, which examines the history and cross-cultural management of human waste (or “night soil”) as an agricultural resource. The paper grew out of a collaborative class project that I proposed to Master’s degree students enrolled in my Environmental Anthropology course in the spring of 2017. Together, we delved into the archaeology and history of night soil use and management, as well as some recent ethnographic research on the subject. This paper synthesizes that work and puts it in conversation with contemporary theorizing of the “metabolic rift” — or the notion that the rise of industrial capitalism led to a fundamental rupture in human relations to the earth’s ecological systems. The article, titled “Night Soil: Origins, Discontinuities, and Opportunities for Bridging the Metabolic Rift,” can be found in the latest issue of the open access journal Ethnobiology Letters.
Published by nckawa
I'm a cultural and environmental anthropologist with interests in biodiversity management and smallholder agriculture in rural Amazonia. I've conducted research on agrobiodiversity management, anthropogenic soils, and community-based conservation. Currently, I'm also interested in the ways that farmers rely upon social networks, local ecological knowledge, and agrobiodiversity management to contend with the uncertainties of global climate change. View all posts by nckawa