March 15th, 2024
Asian Indigeneities: Anthropological and Ethnographic Perspectives
March 15th, 2024 - 9 am - 10:30 am
Many countries in Asia deny the existence of Indigenous people. Countries that do recognize Indigenous groups tend to do so superficially while continuing oppressive policies towards these communities. Simultaneously, some scholars question the empirical validity and analytical utility of the concept of Indigeneity in Asian contexts. But with two-thirds of the global population residing in Asia, the exclusion of Asia from theories of Indigeneity and settler-colonialism arguably undermines scholars’ ability to adequately grasp global capitalism, which builds on the exploitation of Indigenous lives and land. For Asian Indigenous communities, genocide, land dispossession, and cultural loss are ever-present realities. Thus, this panel moves beyond conventional approaches by exploring global settler-colonialism from the vantage of Asian Indigeneity. The presenters, the majority of whom are Indigenous, use comparative ethnographic approaches to examine Indigeneity as a dynamic and diverse category. Panellists investigate the politics of sovereignty in West Papua, the layered and complex experiences of Indigenous Lepcha in India, home-making and belonging among the Sherpa diaspora in North America, and the identity struggles of Indigenous youth in urban Taiwan. The panel asks: What does it mean to be Indigenous in Asia? What are the common struggles that Asian Indigenous people in various contexts face? How does thinking through the experiences of Asian Indigeneity expand understandings of colonialism and decolonization globally? By addressing these questions ethnographically and comparatively, this panel contributes much-needed in-depth contextual knowledge to contemporary debates about colonialism and Indigeneity in Asia and beyond.
Michael Hathaway (he/him/his), Professor, Simon Fraser University
Veronika Kusumaryati (she/her/hers), Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Charisma Lepcha (she/her/hers), Assistant Professor, Sikkim University
Pasang Sherpa (she/her/hers), Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia
Liangyu (she/her/hers), PhD Candidate, Cornell
Chair and Organizer:
Lau Ting Hui (she/her/hers), Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore
Indigeneity Beyond the State: Thinking and Moving Across the Pacific Rim
March 15th, 2024 - 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Studies of Indigeneity in Asia often explore one country or compare two at most with particular reference to the nation-state’s framing of Indigeneity. This majority-Indigenous panel explore Indigeneity beyond the State to inform a stronger understanding of the richness, diversity, and connections of Indigenous peoples from Asia. Six presenters at different stages of career with deep ties and long-standing engagement with Sherpa, Ainu, Tibetan, Yi, and Siraya communities discuss the usefulness of the concepts of diaspora, transnationality, and inter-Asian dynamics to foster a lively sense of Indigenous futures. The discussion is grounded in the principle of relationality and connection instead of the traditional comparison of cases. The emerging dynamics of Indigenous identity, culture and politics are considered within a wider diasporic framework across the Pacific Rim. We pay particular attention to how Indigenous peoples, concepts, ideas and inspirations travel across State, linguistic, and cultural boundaries.
Cheyanne Connell is a Dunne-Za Cree from West Moberly First Nations. She is a PhD student in socio-cultural and Indigenous anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her research project focuses on the relationship between contemporary Indigenous identity-making and traditional language.
Aynur Kadir is an Indigenous Uyghur scholar, filmmaker and curator with a research focus on the documentation, conservation and revitalization of Indigenous cultures and languages.
Pasang Yangjee Sherpa is a Sherpa anthropologist from Nepal. Her research areas include Indigeneity, human dimension of climate change and the Sherpa diaspora.
Michael Hathaway is a Euro-American scholar whose research areas include China, social studies of science, globalization, Indigeneity, postcolonial theory, multi-species ethnography, and more-than-human studies.
Huatse Gyal is a Tibetan anthropologist, writer, filmmaker whose research areas include the interdependent relationships between land, language, and community, focusing on state environmentalism and climate change, and an interdisciplinary approach to land-based indigenous revitalization movements in a global context.
Jolan Hsieh is an indigenous scholar from the Siraya Nation in Taiwan. Her research areas are Law and Society, Human Rights, Identity Politics, Global Indigenous Studies, Gender/Ethnicity/ Class, Environmental Justice, Indigenous Research and Ethics.
November 15th, 2023
Stir: Porous Silos and Unsettling Collaborations in Art-Science-Anthropology
Type: Roundtable/Town Hall - In-Person
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:45 PM
Location: TMCC, 801 B
Description: This roundtable critically and creatively explores the potential of re-mixing art, science and anthropology. Recently, a variety of stimulating projects combining art, science and anthropology have emerged, as the limits of siloed disciplinary practices for engaging with the complexity of life become increasingly apparent to practitioners in those fields and in the world at large. The panel explores the possibilities of agitating and re-mixing art and science, while also asking, how might anthropologists and other practitioners in these conjoined spaces understand and work non-innocently with the openings that "art-science-anthropology" collaborations offer in the present moment without reproducing the colonial worldings that gave us those categories and modes of interest as such? Panelists will approach these questions based on a variety of situated engagements with art, science and anthropology, including: philosophical and artistic exploration with fish, speculative elaborations of lichen biology, explications of the colonial aesthetics of ice in Anthropocene arts and sciences, culinary arts of huitlacoche, beadwork following mushroom forms, curatorial collaborations with artists employing pursuing art-science projects, and enrollments of fungi as filmic collaborators. We ask not only how the specificities of organisms and materials alter what is brought to the table for practitioners and projects - whether conceptual vocabularies, repertoires of technique, or inventories of material - but also how differently situated practitioners negotiate the terms by which phenomena might register as "life," "matter," and "form" in the first place. What methods, we ultimately ask, are available or might be made for holding art, science, and anthropology in tension, for grappling in a situated way with coloniality, knowledge, and creativity while working closely with other living beings and rethinking ways of connecting, sensing, and knowing? While reckoning with the colonial legacy of the division between arts and science, panelists approach these questions without seeking romantic unity or anthropological holism. Rather, they tune into the resonance and dissonance generated by re-mixing and stirring these realms. Might non-innocent stirrings of art, science and anthropology support transitions towards repair of ongoing colonial relationships and practices?
October 14, 2023
September 29, 2023
August 14-16, 2023
Mushroom Methods Workshop
New Directions for Researching Fungal Futures
There is something underfoot.
They were not there recently. Yet, seemingly overnight, they sprouted up above the surface and forced the world to notice. The mushrooms are here, and they are having a moment.
In many academic disciplines, and in many areas of social life, fungi are being re-discovered, and starting to be worked with in new ways. Mushrooms have been called “world-makers” for their abilities to bind the lives of humans, plants, animals, and soils together (Hathaway 2022), celebrated for their contribution to ecological stability and health (Talbot, Allison, and Treseder 2008; Phillips 2017), investigated for the therapeutic benefits of their properties (Johnson and Griffiths 2017; Borgwardt, Johnson, and Müller 2020; Davis et al. 2021), mapped within citizen science conservation initiatives (Heilmann-Clausen et al. 2019; Sieniatlas 2023; SPUN 2023), distilled for novel chemical components and supplements (Syarifah et al. 2022; KÄÄPÄ 2023), and employed to design art, clothing, furniture, and building material (Ross 2017; Grunwald, Harish, and Osherov 2021; Koppanen 2023). At the same time, fungi are still seen as a threat to everything from human heritage and health (Sterflinger 2010; Sterflinger and Piñar 2013; Kwaśna and Kuberka 2020; Azeem, Hakeem, and Ali 2020) to the integrity of buildings (Ortiz et al. 2014; Embacher et al. 2023), and even to seeds of a zombie apocalypse (Mazin 2023; Pelley 2023).
As demonstrated by this flurry of activity, Kingdom Fungi carries the promise of transforming how humans relate to and live in a changing world in nuanced and dynamic ways. However, interdisciplinary efforts at engaging with fungal futures continue to be limited, and the transdisciplinary potential of mushroom research (i.e. with active participation of the non-academic public) is also under-explored. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together fungal experts from social science, humanities, and natural science disciplines, as well as artists, professionals, and members of the interested public from Finland, the Nordics, and beyond to explore how we may produce mushroom knowledge, and for what purposes. To do so, we ask the following questions:
How has interacting with mushrooms changed the way researchers think about their work/research area, or the values and objectives of their research/work?
What, if anything, can fungi teach us about creating a healthier, more sustainable world? Conversely what potential dangers may ‘the mushroom hype’ pose?
Can we do research not on, but with mushrooms? Can we learn from mushrooms, not just about mushrooms? What would be the value of such a shift?
How do human-fungi relations matter to different groups of people and in different places? In what ways are fungi relevant to Finland, the Nordics, and the wider world?
How does mushroom-oriented research and social activity link with climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental toxicity, and other challenges related to the ‘Anthropocene’?
Ecologist and Environmental Photographer
Book Launch: Underground Lovers - Encounters With Fungi
"Fungal Liveliness: Forays into the Worlds of Mushrooms"
Designer and Artist
"Designing with Fungal Wonders: Exploring New Horizons with Polypores, Yeast, and Lichen"
"Fungal Liveliness: Forays into the Worlds of Mushrooms"
Fungi are remarkable beings: breathing in oxygen, dissolving rocks, and building webs of connection across kingdoms of life. Their lives have been shaping our planet for perhaps a billion years, but all of a sudden, now in the beginning of the 21st century — a time of ratcheting environmental despair — fungi are capturing the attention of a wide swath of society. Some say a “mushroom renaissance” is upon us.
Why might this be happening and how might we engage with it joyfully and also critically? For social scientists and humanists, how might they engage with scientific and other forms of knowledge to think hard and with these modes of knowing? For natural scientists, how might they engage with others to learn more, to learn otherwise about our fungal kin? Some years ago, animal studies brought together scholars from many disciplines into a sometimes shared, often fractured conversation. More recently, plant studies is emergent, revealing some of the ways in which our understandings, shaped by animal ways of being ourselves, might need to be queered in relation to botanical ways of being. Now, how might us lovers and scholars of fungi learn from our peers as they have gone about their own engagements with plants and animals?
June 8, 2023
The presentations and discussions will examine how "Global China," "Chinese Empire," and "US/Western empire" are conceptualized in diverse ethnographic sites, and the implications for how anthropologists conceptualize world order and navigate an increasingly fractured and imperiled world.
Panel: Global China and Imperial Heritage
Chair: Jan Harm Schutte (Zhejiang University)
Presenters: Jing Wang (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Brendan Galipeau (NTHU), Jacqueline Zhenru Lin (CUHK)
Discussants: Shu-Li Wang (Academia Sinica)/ Michael Hathaway (Simon Fraser University)/
Wen-Chin Chang (Academia Sinica)
June 2, 2023
Making an Indigenous Pacific
National Taiwan University, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures Faculty Colloquiam
Speakers: Dr. Scott Harrison (Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada) and Dr. Michael Hathaway (Simon Fraser University)
Moderator: Dr. Guy Beauregard (National Taiwan University)
May 31, 2023
May 15, 2023
ABSTRACT: In this talk, Michael J. Hathaway will introduce us to his new book, What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make, which was published last year by Princeton University Press. He will explain how this book, the second in a trilogy by the Matsutake Worlds Research Group, came into being and how the research was carried out. The book draws equally on fieldwork in the mountains of Southwestern China and an anthropological analysis of scientific studies of fungal lives. In this talk, Hathaway will highlight a few of the major concerns that animated this book, and ask how anthropologists might form critical relationships with the scientists we study and collaborate with? How might anthropologists contribute to new forms of scientific knowledge making in ways that expand our role from critic to interlocutor?
May 11, 2023
What a Mushroom Lives For selected as a finalist for the 2023 BC and Yukon Book Prizes in two categories!
Join us for an evening in celebration of the 2023 BC and Yukon Book Prize finalists! Book Warehouse on West Broadway will be hosting this gathering that brings together great books, book lovers, and the shortlisted authors, illustrators and publishers. The Soirée is the perfect opportunity to make sure you have this year’s finalists, and maybe even to have them signed by the authors or illustrators. There will be light snacks and a bar.
The Soirée will be held at Book Warehouse at 632 W. Broadway, Vancouver from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Registration is NOT required. We hope to see you there!
April 3rd, 2023
Environmental Humanities Colloquium Series: "What a Mushroom Lives For"
Michael Hathaway, Professor of Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, will present “What a Mushroom Lives For” for the third talk in the spring 2023 Environmental Humanities and Social Transformation Colloquium.
This talk tells the fascinating story of one particularly prized species, the matsutake, and the astonishing ways it is silently yet powerfully shaping worlds, from the Tibetan plateau to the mushrooms’ final destination in Japan. Many Tibetan and Yi people have dedicated their lives to picking and selling this mushroom—a delicacy that drives a multibillion-dollar global trade network and that still grows only in the wild, despite scientists’ intensive efforts to cultivate it in urban labs. But this is far from a simple story of humans exploiting a passive, edible commodity. Rather, the talk reveals the complex, symbiotic ways that mushrooms, plants, humans, and other animals interact. It explores how the world looks to the mushrooms, as well as to the people who have grown rich harvesting them.
The Environmental Humanities and Social Transformation Colloquium is co-sponsored by the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI), the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Department of Anthropology.
March 31, 2023
March 18, 2023
Strategies of Resistance and Refusal: The Politics of Citizenship, Indigeneity, and Historiography in Post-Mao China
Amidst state-sponsored colonization and assimilation, China’s indigenous ethno-religious minorities have negotiated their identities, status and citizenship in complex and mediated ways. Taking the post-Mao period since the 1980s as their focus, the four studies in this panel examine the struggles that minorities groups across China’s northwest, southwest, and northeast regions have undergone, and the strategies they have adopted, in response to anti-Muslim racism, ethnic assimilation, and dispossession of indigenous groups’ ancestral land and resources. Piecing together their polyphonic responses to the cyber neologism “muhei” (“Muslim haters”) through participant observation, interviews, and life histories, Jing Wang examines the intimate, embodied, and mediated ways in which Sinophone Muslims interpret anti-Muslim racism. Focusing on a Central Asian politics of refusal in the face of dispossession by the Chinese state, Guldana Salimjan investigates the ways in which Turkic Muslim Kazakhstani citizens in Xinjiang have inserted themselves into negotiations between Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang government over the issues of citizenship and ancestral land entitlement. Applying the question of indigeneity to China’s southwest region of Guizhou Province, Yu Luo addresses Tai-speaking Buyi intellectuals’ intervention in the historiography of imperial expansion and assimilation through their use of oral histories, ritual and genealogical records, and contemporary heritage promotions to claim indigeneity and ethnic distinctiveness from the Han settler population. Martin Fromm examines historiographical controversies and debates in China’s northeast borderlands, comparatively evaluating the perspectives of Han and ethnic minority intellectuals in co-constructing and counterposing narratives of ethnic diversity, assimilation, and particularity during the post-Mao transition in the 1980s.
Martin T Fromm
Michael J Hathaway
An Ordinary Anthropology of Muhei: Islamophobia with Chinese Characteristics in Post-Mao China
Weaponized Citizenship: Negotiating Indigeneity between China and Kazakhstan
Guldana Salimjan, Indiana University
Claiming Indigeneity: The Paradox of Frontier Identities in Guizhou, Southwest China
Yu Luo, University of Puget Sound
Debating Destiny: Post-Mao Politics of Re-Situating Ethnic Minorities in China's Northeast Borderlands
Martin T Fromm, Worcester State University
March 13, 2023
In this talk, Michael will provide an introduction to his latest book, What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make, which was just published by Princeton University Press. For this STS and Anthropology-oriented audience at MIT, he will explore how we might explore the legacy of Enlightenment thinking and the English language in shaping the emergence of the discipline of biology. In contrast, he argues for understanding mushrooms as lively beings. While much of the scientific literature describes their lives in mechanistic ways, Michael suggests that fungi are actively encountering and engaging with the world. Influenced by important thinkers such as the Potawatomi scientist, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Michael shows how we better understand fungi as perceiving and interpreting beings that are shaping the world through their everyday actions. Such a vision, he contends, might help us more beyond our tendencies towards seeing our fellow kin as resources, as utilitarian objects for the plate or for profit and to dethrone the idea of humans as fundamentally and qualitatively different from all other living beings.
What a Mushroom Lives For
European Book Tour
October 6th, 2022
October 10th, 2022
October 12th, 2022
October 13th, 2022
Hosted by Professor Jamie Lorimer
This talk introduces the second book in an academic trilogy that began with Anna L. Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World. In this talk, Michael J. Hathaway draws from his recent book. He delves into the worlds of fungi, showing us how they literally enabled our green planet and carry out active forms of liveliness in the everyday, acting as “world-makers.” Moving from fungi as an enigmatic kingdom that transformed the ancient Earth to the realm of the fascinating matsutake mushroom on the Tibetan Plateau, Hathaway reveals the ways these mushrooms are creating their own multispecies encounters, with and without humans. This forthcoming book challenges a legacy of human exceptionalism and human supremacy that is dominant in Western thinking and offers ways to notice the creative liveliness of all organisms, from mammals to mushrooms.
Hosted by Professor Heather Swanson
University of Edinburgh
Hosted by Professor Michelle Bastian
Hosted by Dr. Ursula Münsler
Soils and Fungi: Thinking and Being with Mycelial Relations - Environmental Humanities Lecture
How has our understandings of relations between soil, plants, and fungi have changed over time? In this lecture, professor of anthropology Dr. Michael J. Hathaway will explore the role of fungal mycelium in engaging the soil matrix.
In today’s talk, I will explore the role of fungal mycelium in engaging the soil matrix. While I will introduce some empirical material, I also apply my training in anthropology and the environmental humanities to look critically at the production of scientific knowledge, showing how our understandings of relations between soil, plants, and fungi have changed over time. In this talk I also consider how soil is a complex matrix that exists in dynamic movement, working as substrate as well as source of food and water for fungal and botanical livelihoods.
November 22, 2022
Rewilding and fungi: our greatest
allies in restoring
the web of life
Join us for one and half hour of stimulating and enlightening storytelling on rewilding and fungi from passionate fungi experts, and learn how fungi can tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis.
About this event
The Rewilding Community of Practice and the Rewilding Academy will host a virtual community gathering on the topic ‘Fascinating Fungi: Invisible Allies in Rewilding‘. The duration of the event will be 90 minutes.
The Rewilding Community of Practice aims to build a network of rewilding enthusiasts and professionals who can exchange ideas and information to help restore ecosystems.
Learn more about the various roles fungi play in rewilding – and how to rewild ecosystems considering fungi networks – from 3 experienced researchers who work on turning these invisible allies into a visible force for good.
We hope you will join us in our efforts to scale our collective impact and rewild our planet!
Author of What a Mushroom Lives For (2022), Anthropologist, Matsutake Worlds Research Group
Program Manager Global Data Science - Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN)