Anna L. Tsing, "Feral Atlas: The More-than-human Anthropocene" (Stanford UP, 2020)


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Do you feel lost in the Anthropocene? Would you like a map to chart your way through our changing world? How about an atlas? Well, the Feral Atlas Collective has something that might help you out. In this episode Anna Tsing, an anthropologist from U.C. Santa Cruz, tells us about the Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene.

Feral Atlas is one of the most unusual book projects that I have seen or been a part of (it includes my “field report” about colonial era sewer rats in Hanoi). It is a digital book published by Stanford University Press in 2020 and can be accessed for free here.

Exploring Feral Atlas is like taking a walk on the wild side as there is no structured or required way to enter into its various conversations. Instead, you are invited to explore at your own risk. There are luminary essays by Sven Beckert, Amitav Ghosh, Gabrielle Hecht, Karen Ho, Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin, David M. Richardson, and Will Steffen; field reports by dozens of scholars from the humanities and sciences; and art ranging from video to poetry to music. Informative and thought-provoking, alternately humorous and emotionally gut wrenching, and provocative in both form and content, Feral Atlas invites you to go wild.

Anna Tsing is a professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her numerous books include In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an Out-of-the-Way Place (1993) Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2005) and The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015). She has received far too many awards to list here but they include Harry J. Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies, the Victor Turner Award, and a Guggenheim. The Feral Atlas Collective is composed of: Jennifer Deger: a visual anthropologist, filmmaker, and research leader at James Cook University, as well as the president of the Australian Anthropological Society; Alder Keleman Saxena: an environmental anthropologist at Northern Arizona University who examines the relationships linking agricultural biodiversity to human food cultures; Feifei Zhou: an artist and architect who explores ecological and cultural preservation through architectural interventions; and my guest, Anna Tsing.

Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.

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