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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Little Free Zine Library in the Collaboratorium @ Ohio State

As students and I have been creating more zines (both through classes and research projects), we have started to build a critical mass of them. You can now find several in the Collaboratorium (Smith Lab 4180) here at OSU.  Best of all, they are free!ELHe0PWUEAE_fcr

Zines!

Rather than do terms papers or group presentations for my History of Anthropological Theory class this semester, I had students work in groups to develop zines based on different schools of thought. The results were better than I hoped. I saw everything from “The Communist Memefesto” to a Postcolonial “Dear Abby” Column to even a Twitter battle fought between Tylor and Boas. I’ve attached the scaffolded assignments from the project here (#1, #2, and #3) for those who might be curious in tinkering with the model for other classes. The best part is that they are actually fun to grade.IMG_1412.jpg

What Happens When We Flush? Public Talk at Whetstone Library

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If you want to learn about all the fascinating things central Ohio does with its so-called “human waste,” come to this public talk I’ll be giving at Whetstone Library in Columbus on October 27th at 1pm. I’ll discuss how the city is transforming waste into an agricultural resource used to sustain poplar farms on abandoned strip mines, fertilize commodity crops, and produce garden compost, among other things. To conclude, I’ll discuss some of the ongoing obstacles and concerns about expansion of its use in the region. See you there!

A Pretext for Plunder? Environmental Change and State-Led Redevelopment in the Peruvian Amazon

Gordon Ulmer, Sydney Silverstein, and I just published a short article (with lots of photos!) in the latest edition of Anthropology Today. It examines how projected environmental changes in the Amazonian city of Iquitos have been used by the Peruvian government to propose the resettlement of a low-income community and promote state-led redevelopment plans. The article is available free of charge over the next month. You can download it here.Figure 7.JPG

Plant Semiotics Workshop

On Feb. 24th, I’ll be participating in a workshop at Rutgers University that centers on “the semotics of plant-human sociality.” Becky Schulthies from the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers organized the event and other participants will include Natasha Myers, Paul Kockelman, Ruth Goldstein, and Charles Briggs. The paper I’ll be presenting is tentatively titled “Plants that Keep the Bad Vibes Away (& Other Stories of Ecosemiotic Interplay in the Urban Amazon)” and it should be up be here soon. If you happen to be in the area and want to check it out, the event is free and open to the public. You can register here.

The Social Network of US Academic Anthropology

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This morning I presented a paper at the AAA meeting in Minneapolis as part of a panel I co-organized with Joe Feldman, titled “Challenging Anthropology in the 21st Century.” My paper focused specifically on the social network of US academic anthropology and how hiring networks can contribute to – or at the very least reflect – embedded hierarchies within the discipline. You can download a copy of the paper here. The abstract is below:

“Anthropologists often strive to point out social inequality while using their research to promote meaningful social change. However, academic anthropology can sometimes reproduce the very problems of social inequality that its scholars tend to rail against. Past research on U.S. academic hiring networks has shown evidence of systematic inequality and hierarchy, attributed at least in part to the influence of academic prestige, which is not necessarily a reflection of merit or academic productivity. Using anthropology departments’ websites, we gathered information on all tenured and tenure-track faculty in PhD-granting anthropology programs in the U.S., totaling 1,918 individuals in all. For each faculty member, we noted their current institution and PhD-granting institution, which we treated as a “tie” between those academic programs. With these data, we applied methods from social network analysis (SNA) to examine U.S. academic anthropology’s social network, and we identified multiple factors that help to explain its structure. In this paper, we report on our preliminary findings and we discuss how they can be used to help rethink social reproduction in academic anthropology.”