Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 7:00pm
Kane Hall, Room 210

In his review of Anne Lowenhaupt Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton, 2017), Jeffrey Jerome Cohen writes that while much contemporary environmental writing reads like elegies that disregard “a complicated present” and “offer an insufficient story” of the Anthropocene, Tsing’s work asks “what would happen if we ceased looking back towards the planet’s vanished past, ceased to peer futureward for signs of cataclysm or salvation, and instead observed with ardor and with care the world in which we actually dwell?” Tsing’s prize-winning book does this by tracing the ecological and economic life of the matsutake mushrooms that flourish on the floors of dramatically human-altered woodlands, where they give way to multispecies communities through which Tsing “conveys a milieu of vibrant subsurface interconnection, composing with care a layered story that emerges slowly, yielding both example and delight.”

Professor of Anthropology at the University of Santa Cruz, and a Niels Bohr Professor at Aarhaus University in Denmark, where she codirects Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA), Tsing is well-known for her far-reaching and interdisciplinary work in the environmental humanities and ethnography, exploring not only how the Anthropocene extinguishes life, but also how to gives way to new modes of living. You can listen to and/or read an interview with Tsing about her edited volume, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) here.

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