New Featured Article!

“Anthropological Engagement with the Anthropocene”

February 22, 2017

The latest Environment and Society featured article is now available! This month’s article, “Anthropological Engagement with the Anthropocene: A Critical Review,” comes from Volume 6 (2015), a special issue on the Anthropocene. In their review of anthropology’s evolving engagement with the Anthropocene, HannahGibson and Sita Venkateswar contemplate multifarious approaches to research and discuss critical engagement discussed including anthropology beyond disciplinary borders, queries writing in the Anthropocene, and anthropology of climate change.

Visit the featured article page to download your copy of the article today before it’s gone! A new article is featured every month.

“It is not a concrete state of ‘being’ but a process of becoming. For example, consider that a rider on a horse has to some extent ‘become’ like a horse in order to interact, connect, and think with the horse, just as we can say that an animal may ‘become human’” (Gibson and Venkateswar 2015: 13). Photograph by Pranav Bhasin via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


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A Research Question

Bees, Theories, and Whether Posthumanism Comes to Matter

April 12, 2016

Daksha Madhu Rajagopalan


In responding to Eduardo Kohn’s recent scholarship on How Forests Think, Bruno Latour has written:

The test is still to come: how could an ethnographer … equipped with such a philosophical anthropology find ways to make his or her ontological claims understood in negotiating what a forest is made of, when faced with forestry engineers, loggers, tourists, NGOs, or state administrators? (2014: 265–266)

Indeed, I wonder the same thing. How might anthropology’s recent “posthuman” and “multispecies” turns be useful? These ontologically inspired theories elegantly dismiss the duality of nature/culture and hold forth a vision of symmetry in the world, yet doing so, as Lucas Bessire and David Bond have argued, is an “unmoored form of speculative futurism” that sidesteps the political and historical realities of life (2014: 441). So I wonder, in politically and historically forged spaces, how can these theories be made useful? Exploring the practical value of anthropology’s recent posthuman/multispecies approaches in politically charged agricultural border zones, such as to aid the honeybee populations who face dire global collapse, is precisely what I wish to do.

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Being with Bees, Sitting with Complexity

The Changing Bee in a Meshwork of Entanglements

August 19, 2015

Daksha Madhu Rajagopalan


I am walking this afternoon under the burning-crisp summer sun. Limestone surrounds me: in rough rock, in hewn rock, in built houses. The vivid blue Mediterranean Sea, extending from the horizon, also peeks out from the nearby bay, which appears yet distant because it is a steep descent to beach level. I am on the island of Gozo, the second largest of the Maltese Islands. Gozo is hillier and more agricultural than its sister island, Malta. There is a rich tradition of beekeeping on these islands, extending to Roman and perhaps pre-Roman times, and this month of June finds me in Gozo to research the contemporary beekeeping tradition and understand the human­­–bee, flower–hive interactions.


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Spillover Anthropology

Multispecies Epidemiology and Ethnography

August 5, 2015

Genese Marie Sodikoff

In November 2014, Madagascar was hit by a major outbreak of bubonic plague. Its epicenter was in Amparafaravola, a midsize town with a hospital staff that was caught off guard. Public outreach was slow and disorganized, dispensaries were understocked with antibiotics, and people did not believe the new fever was the actual plague … until several deaths occurred.

The evolution of the disease into the more lethal pneumonic variety risked a cataclysmic rise in mortalities. Health-care providers feared it would spread like wildfire into the capital, Antananarivo, where it has long existed at low-grade levels, especially within prisoner and homeless populations.

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