Thinking with Soils

The new edited volume Thinking with Soils – edited by Juan Francisco Salazar, Céline Granjou, Matthew Kearnes, Anna Krzywoszynska, and Manuel Tironi – is now available. You can download a pre-print version of my chapter here, which examines the use of biosolids (i.e. treated sanitation waste) as part of a broader trend to “close the loop” in contemporary agricultural management. The chapter is part of a larger ethnographic research project in which I’m bringing together insights from wastewater treatment experts, soil scientists, and farmers to understand both the productive possibilities and potential pitfalls of using treated sanitation waste on agricultural landscapes in the US (and beyond).

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Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon

The edited volume Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon, edited by Cymene Howe and Anand Pandian, was just published by Punctum Books and is available in pdf format FOR FREE (although Punctum does welcome donations). My contribution – simply titled “Shit” – can also be found in the original series published online by Cultural Anthropology.

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Review of “Amazonia in the Anthropocene” in TLS

Michael F. Brown reviewed my book in the Times Literary Supplement this July. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Growing awareness of humankind’s role in shaping Amazonian environments raises new questions about anthropology’s hoariest dichotomy: the distinction between nature and culture. Anthropologists working elsewhere in Amazonia – notably Philippe Descola, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Eduardo Kohn – have embraced strands of post-humanist thought that reject an exclusive focus on human intentionality in favour of indigenous ideologies that portray the natural world as an eminently social domain…Amazonia in the Anthropocene offers an admirably concise and accessible contribution to this analytical ferment…[Kawa] wishes to challenge current scientific thinking about the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch defined by humanity’s pre-eminent role in reshaping the planet’s physical features – land, water, and atmospheric conditions. We may think of ourselves as having achieved planetary mastery, but ultimately, Kawa insists, “humans are not the only actors of consequence in the world, nor are humans the only ones who can ‘see’ or ‘think’ or ‘know’.”

Q&A with UT Press

University of Texas Press just posted a short interview with me about my new book Amazonia in the Anthropocene: People, Soils, Plants, Forests, which was published this month. The interview touches on recent debates over the origins of the Anthropocene as well as my critiques of its current conceptualization. It also discusses some of the problems with the dominant portrayals of Amazonia and its people that circulate outside of the region. UT Press will be promoting the book at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) in New York City this week.