Title, Author & Summary



May 30, 2015

Love Stories, or, Multispecies Ethnography, Comparative Literature, and their Entanglements

Mara de Gennaro

“Species interdependence is a well-known fact—except when it comes to humans.” When Anna Tsing writes this in one of a series of essays that look to diverse matsutake mushroom forests around the world to show that “human nature is an interspecies relationship,” she joins a small but growing number of anthropologists and artists for whom the influential interdisciplinary work of animal studies has not yet gone far enough. For these multispecies ethnographers, what is needed is not simply a recognition of nonhuman agents still on the margins of current discourse on animality, whether plants, microorganisms, or less charismatic animals belonging to “unloved species.” What most animates these scholars, from Tsing and her Matsutake Worlds Research Group, to Deborah Bird Rose studying Aboriginals and their wild dingo “kin,” to Eben Kirksey and his Multispecies Salon, is the work of understanding the intricate, continually fluctuating relationships and interdependencies of humans and nonhumans across multiple species, in cultures and ecosystems treated as highly variable.

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Ideas of the Decade

September 8, 2014

Next: New Orality

Charlotte Eubanks

Conceptions of “orality,” a big idea of the 1980s, held that the introduction of writing enforced global, fundamental cognitive changes to human society. That model has exhausted itself. What’s next?

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Ideas of the Decade

March 3, 2014


Joseph R. Slaughter

Comparative literature has mostly disregarded the weaponization of culture under the counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN) crafted for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, released as Army Field Manual 3-24 and published simultaneously by the University of Chicago Press. However, COIN has not ignored comparative literature. During the “counterinsurgency decade” (General David Petraeus’s words), comparative literature was (like everything else) entangled in the contest between insurgency and counterinsurgency.

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