Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Jennifer Deger, Alder Keleman Saxena, Feifei Zhou eds. Feral Atlas: The More-Than-Human Anthropocene – Stanford University Press, 2020

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Jennifer Deger, Alder Keleman Saxena, Feifei Zhou eds. Feral Atlas: The More-Than-Human Anthropocene – Stanford University Press, 2020

A digital, online project – here

Every event in human history has been a more-than-human event. When hunter-gatherers burn the land, they cooperate with herbs that seed quickly and grasses that sprout after fires, attracting game. Inside us, intestinal bacteria make it possible for us to digest our food. Other things, living and nonliving, make it possible to be human. Yet powerful habits of thought over the last centuries have made this statement less than obvious. With the arrival of the idea of the Anthropocene, we move away from such thinking to reconsider how human and nonhuman histories are inextricably intertwined.

Convening over one hundred researchers to trace a whole range of such intertwinements, Feral Atlas offers an original and playful approach to studying the Anthropocene. Focused on the world’s feral reactions to human intervention, the editors explore the structures and qualities that lie at the heart of the feral and make the phenomenon possible. This publication features original contributions by high-profile artists, humanists and scientists such as Amitav Ghosh, Elizabeth Fenn, Simon Lewis, Mark Maslin, and many others.

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Jamie Lorimer, The Probiotic Planet – University of Minnesota Press, November 2020

Jamie Lorimer, The Probiotic Planet: Using Life to Manage Life – University of Minnesota Press, November 2020

Most of us are familiar with probiotics added to milk or yogurt to improve gastrointestinal health. In fact, the term refers to any intervention in which life is used to manage life—from the microscopic, like consuming fermented food to improve gut health, to macro approaches such as biological pest control and natural flood management. In this ambitious and original work, Jamie Lorimer offers a sweeping overview of diverse probiotic approaches and an insightful critique of their promise and limitations. 

During our current epoch—the Anthropocene—human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment, leading to the loss of ecological abundance, diversity, and functionality. Lorimer describes cases in which scientists and managers are working with biological processes to improve human, environmental, and even planetary health, pursuing strategies that stand in contrast to the “antibiotic approach”: Big Pharma, extreme hygiene, and industrial agriculture. The Probiotic Planet focuses on two forms of “rewilding” occurring on vastly different scales. The first is the use of keystone species like wolves and beavers as part of landscape restoration. The second is the introduction of hookworms into human hosts to treat autoimmune disorders. In both cases, the goal is to improve environmental health, whether the environment being managed is planetary or human. Lorimer argues that, all too often, such interventions are viewed in isolation, and he calls for a rethinking of artificial barriers between science and policy. He also describes the stark and unequal geographies of the use of probiotic approaches and examines why these patterns exist. 

The author’s preface provides a thoughtful discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the probiotic approach. Informed by deep engagement with microbiology, immunology, ecology, and conservation biology as well as food, agriculture, and waste management, The Probiotic Planet offers nothing less than a new paradigm for collaboration between the policy realm and the natural sciences.

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Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler and Bonnie Honig, Towards a Feminist Ethics of Non-Violence – Fordham University Press, 2021

Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler and Bonnie Honig, Towards a Feminist Ethics of Non-Violence – Fordham University Press, 2021

Toward a Feminist Ethics of Nonviolence brings together major feminist thinkers to debate Cavarero’s call for a postural ethics of nonviolence and a sociality rooted in bodily interdependence.

Toward a Feminist Ethics of Nonviolence brings together three major feminist thinkers—Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler, and Bonnie Honig—to debate Cavarero’s call for a postural ethics of nonviolence. The book consists of three longer essays by Cavarero, Butler, and Honig, followed by shorter responses by a range of scholars that widen the dialogue, drawing on post-Marxism, Italian feminism, queer theory, and lesbian and gay politics. Together, the authors contest the boundaries of their common project for a pluralistic, heterogeneous, but urgent feminist ethics of nonviolence.

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Saiba Varma, The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir – Duke University Press, October 2020

Saiba Varma, The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir – Duke University Press, October 2020

The Introduction is open access here.

In The Occupied Clinic, Saiba Varma explores the psychological, ontological, and political entanglements between medicine and violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir—the world’s most densely militarized place. Into a long history of occupations, insurgencies, suppressions, natural disasters, and a crisis of public health infrastructure come interventions in human distress, especially those of doctors and humanitarians, who struggle against an epidemic: more than sixty percent of the civilian population suffers from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or acute stress. Drawing on encounters between medical providers and patients in an array of settings, Varma reveals how colonization is embodied and how overlapping state practices of care and violence create disorienting worlds for doctors and patients alike. Varma shows how occupation creates worlds of disrupted meaning in which clinical life is connected to political disorder, subverting biomedical neutrality, ethics, and processes of care in profound ways. By highlighting the imbrications between humanitarianism and militarism and between care and violence, Varma theorizes care not as a redemptive practice, but as a fraught sphere of action that is never quite what it seems.

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Federico Italiano (ed.), The Dark Side of Translation – Routledge, 2020

Federico Italiano (ed.), The Dark Side of Translation – Routledge, 2020

We tend to consider translation as something good, virtuous and bright, but it can also function as an instrument of concealment, silencing and misdirection—as something that darkens and obscures. Propaganda, misinformation, narratives of trauma and imagery of the enemy—to mention just a few of the negative phenomena that shape our lives—show patterns of communication in which translation either functions as a weapon or constitutes a space of conflict. But what does this dark side of translation look like? How does it work? 

Ground-breaking in its theoretical conception and pioneering in its thematic approach, this book unites international scholars from a range of disciplines including philosophy, translation studies, literary theory, ecocriticism, game studies, history and political science. With examples that illustrate complex theoretical and philosophical issues, this book also has a major focus on the translational dimension of ecology and climate change.

Transdisciplinary and topical, this book is key reading for researchers, scholars and advanced students of translation studies, literature and related areas.

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Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh: What you need to know about the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan – video with Gerard Toal, John O’Laughlin and Maia Otarashvili

Join us for a special virtual panel discussion about the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The “frozen conflict” in Nagorno Karabakh is no longer “frozen”. Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh renewed on September 27th and still continues to rage. The current death toll stands at nearly 300 and counting, this includes civilians. Both sides are shelling major cities, and the conflict appears to be intensifying. The conflict has major ramifications not just for Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also for the region more broadly and could draw in major regional powers – Russia, Turkey, Iran. It threatens to destabilize the Black Sea/ Caucasus region, where peace is already fragile.

Video from 15 October 2020

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Mira L. Siegelberg, Statelessness: A Modern History – Harvard University Press, 2020

Mira L. Siegelberg, Statelessness: A Modern History – Harvard University Press, 2020

The story of how a much-contested legal category—statelessness—transformed the international legal order and redefined the relationship between states and their citizens.

Two world wars left millions stranded in Europe. The collapse of empires and the rise of independent states in the twentieth century produced an unprecedented number of people without national belonging and with nowhere to go. Mira Siegelberg’s innovative history weaves together ideas about law and politics, rights and citizenship, with the intimate plight of stateless persons, to explore how and why the problem of statelessness compelled a new understanding of the international order in the twentieth century and beyond.

In the years following the First World War, the legal category of statelessness generated novel visions of cosmopolitan political and legal organization and challenged efforts to limit the boundaries of national membership and international authority. Yet, as Siegelberg shows, the emergence of mass statelessness ultimately gave rise to the rights regime created after World War II, which empowered the territorial state as the fundamental source of protection and rights, against alternative political configurations.

Today we live with the results: more than twelve million people are stateless and millions more belong to categories of recent invention, including refugees and asylum seekers. By uncovering the ideological origins of the international agreements that define categories of citizenship and non-citizenship, Statelessness better equips us to confront current dilemmas of political organization and authority at the global level.

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David Harvey, The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles – Pluto, October 2020

Progressive Geographies

4930David Harvey, The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles – Pluto, October 2020

Amidst waves of economic crises, class struggle and neo-fascist reaction, few possess the clarity and foresight of world-renowned theorist, David Harvey. Since the publication of his bestselling A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Harvey has been tracking the evolution of the capitalist system as well as tides of radical opposition rising against it. In The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Harvey introduces new ways of understanding the crisis of global capitalism and the struggles for a better world.

While accounting for violence and disaster, Harvey also chronicles hope and possibility. By way of conversations about neoliberalism, capitalism, globalisation, the environment, technology and social movements, he outlines, with characteristic brilliance, how socialist alternatives are being imagined under very difficult circumstances.

In understanding the economic, political and social dimensions of the crisis, Harvey’s analysis in The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles will be of strategic importance to anyone…

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Capture: American Pursuits and the Making of a New Animal Condition (2020)

Antoine Traisnel, Capture: American Pursuits and the Making of a New Animal Condition – University of Minnesota Press, 2020

Foucault News

Antoine Traisnel,Capture: American Pursuits and the Making of a New Animal Condition, Minnesota University Press, 2020

University of Minnesota Press | 368 pages | September 2020
ISBN 978-1-5179-0964-2 | paper | $27.00

ISBN 978-1-5179-0963-5 | cloth | $108.00

Reading canonical works of the nineteenth century through the modern transformation of human-animal relations

Antoine Traisnel reveals how the drive to contain and record disappearing animals was a central feature and organizing pursuit of the nineteenth-century U.S. cultural canon. Capture offers a critical genealogy of the dominant representation of animals as elusive, precarious, and endangered that came to circulate widely in the nineteenth century.

From Audubon’s still-life watercolors to Muybridge’s trip-wire locomotion studies, from Melville’s epic chases to Poe’s detective hunts, the nineteenth century witnessed a surge of artistic, literary, and scientific treatments that sought to “capture” the truth of animals at the historical moment when animals were receding from…

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Peter Brooks, Balzac’s Lives – NYRB, October 2020

Peter Brooks, Balzac’s Lives – NYRB, October 2020

Balzac, more than anyone, invented the nineteenth-century novel, and Oscar Wilde went so far as to say that Balzac had invented the nineteenth century. But it was above all through the wonderful, unforgettable, extravagant characters that Balzac dreamed up and made flesh—entrepreneurs, bankers, inventors, industrialists, poets, artists, bohemians of both sexes, journalists, aristocrats, politicians, prostitutes—that he brought to life the dynamic forces of an era that ushered in our own. Peter Brooks’s Balzac’s Lives is a vivid and searching portrait of a great novelist as revealed through the fictional lives he imagined.

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