Natureculture: Entangled Relations of Multiplicity, 2010

Society for Cultural Anthroplogy

Spring 2010 Meeting

Natureculture: Entangled Relations of Multiplicity

La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, NM

May 7-8, 2010

Organized by: Marisol de la Cadena (UC Davis) and Brad Weiss (William & Mary C)

In recent years, a number of theoretical developments in anthropology, geography, and Science and Technology Studies have problematized the modernist ontological divide between Nature and Culture and a whole series of binary oppositions that follow from it. The applications of these problematizations have been on topics as diverse as the concrete issues from which they arose: human/animal relations; the ‘imbroglios’ of natureculture produced by technology; shifting notions of personhood; the status of ‘things,’ substance and property; approaches in terms of “rooted networks,” “relational webs,” and “intra-action” to mention a few. Current events (ranging from global warming, opposition to mining technologies by indigenous groups, forms of human kinship emerging from new reproductive technologies, animal cloning, and most recently, swine flu) indicate the timeliness of these conceptual developments.

This concern with natureculture has generated a host of useful conceptual tools: partial connections; the cyborg; multinaturalism; cosmopolitics; actor-network; intra-action; ontological politics. The epistemic and political implications of these tools go beyond their analytical usefulness as innovative devices to explore novel phenomena. They complicate well established fields of inquiry, s such as political ecology, sexuality and human reproduction, kinship, modern politics, and even history; as well as categories like space, place, and scale, and, indeed, the singular ontology that these fields sustain.  An expansive notion that ignores traditional divisions among spheres of life, natureculture also blurs disciplinary boundaries and creatively connects fields of knowledge—indeed the natural and the social sciences can creatively collaborate, each becoming more than one.

At the 2010 SCA Conference we seek to encourage inquiry into the ways that anthropological, and specifically ethnographic inquiry, present opportunities to interrogate both the ontology of Western notions of history (and effectively provincialize it) and reciprocally, to historicize the notion of ontology thus pluralizing it. How are diverse ontologies made and deployed? How are distinctive ontological claims that sustain scientific, economic, domestic, ritual, and/or governmental projects articulated both within and across orders of natureculture?  Anthropological exploration of these questions (that suspend "ethnographic" and "theoretical" divides) may enable an iteration of ontologies as a relational analytic device, displacing its version a as pre-established reality-out-there (even if an open and shifting one), the end-goal of investigative endeavors.

Our conference invites papers, films, photo essays, and multimedia installations that track, propose, or otherwise reveal and interrogate paradigmatic, disciplinary and ethico-political ruptures effected through the analytics of naturecultures. We are as interested in topics ‘traditional’ to anthropology (magic, ritual, kinship, to name a few) as we are in thematic newcomers (animals, climate, oceans, air, GMOS) and, of course, those fields—such as race, the state, the environment, art, health and bodies, neo-liberalism, sexuality, globalization - that have occupied our discipline in the last generation. Multi-disciplinary presentations as well as contributions by other than anthropologists will also be considered.

In our program thus far, we are pleased to announce that the David Schneider Memorial Lecture will be given by Donna Haraway (History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz), in conversation with John Law (Sociology, Lancaster U).

Our plenary speakers include: Debbora Battaglia (Mt Holyoke C), Judith Farquhar (U Chicago), Stefan Helmreich (MIT), Deborah Bird Rose (Macquarie U, Sydney), and Sarah Whatmore (Geography, Oxford U).


Friday, May 7, 9:00am—10:45am

Plenary Session I, Location: Ballroom

Chair: Brad Weiss (College of William & Mary)

Debbora Battaglia (Mt Holyoke College) No Longer an Earthling

Sarah Whatmore (Oxford) Affective Environments: Thinking through Flooding

Stefan Helmreich (MIT) Nature/Culture/Water

Friday, May 7, 11:00am—12:45pm

Reworking Extraction, Location: Ballroom North

Elizabeth Ferry (Brandeis University) Extraction and Design: How Some Mineral Specimens are Meant to Be

Karen Hebert (Yale U) Capturing the Wild Economy: The Reinvention of Salmon Production in Southwest Alaska

Peter Benson (Washington U in St. Louis) Nicotine

Suzana Sawyer (UC Davis) Toxic Matters: The NatureCulture of Risk in an Ecuadorian Lawsuit against the Chevron Corporation

Katherine Martineau (U Michigan) The Purloined Mine: Rhetorics of Legitimacy and Hidden Profits in Eastern India

Discussant: Anna Tsing (UC Santa Cruz)

Toward a Recombinant, Transversal, Minor, and Promising STS Literature, Location: Ballroom South

Mike Fortun (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Care of the Data, Solicitude, and the Right to Make Promises in the Sciences-to-Come

Elizabeth Wilson (Emory U) Weak Affect Theories

Rich Doyle (Department of English, Penn State) Attention, Attention: Modeling Plant Intelligence

Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn and Kim Fortun (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) The Asthma Files 2.0: Promising Experimental Scientific and Environmental Communication

Discussant: Michael Fischer (MIT)

The Nature of Empire, Location: New Mexico Room

Elizabeth Dunn (U Colorado) Anti-Coagulant Empires in the South Caucasus

John Collins (Queens College and the Grad Center at CUNY) "Hunters Helping the Hungry": Protein, Exchange and Sacred Mediations in New Jersey's Central Highlands

Genese Sodikoff (Rutgers U) Of Dubious Extraction: Imperialist Constructions of Persons, Animals, and Timber in Contemporary Madagascar

Erik Mueggler (U Michigan) Lost worlds: Ritualized Theaters of Photographic Exchange in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Carole McGranahan (U Colorado) Illegal and Imperial: Tibetan Practices of U.S. Citizenship

Discussant: Diane Nelson (Duke U)

SuperNature, Location: Santa Fe Room 

Margaret Wiener (UNC Chapel Hill) Between Rocks and Hard Places

Graham Jones (Princeton U) Conjuring the Supernatural

Misty Bastian (Franklin and Marshall College) Spectral Production: Ghost Hunting and American Masculinity

Alaina Lemon (U Michigan) The Wondrous Skepticism of Battle of the Psychics

Gillian Goslinga (Wesleyan) The Social Life of South Indian Demon-Lovers Or, Thoughts on Why Anthropology Continues to Bungle its Encounters with the Spirit World

Krisztina Fehervary (U Michigan) Supernatural Materialities and the Postsocialist Middle Class

Friday, May 7th, 11:30am until Saturday May 8th, 4:00pm

Multimedia Installation, Location: Stiha Room

Anand Pandian (Johns Hopkins U) Nature's Expression: Landscapes of Affective Encounter in South Indian Cinema

Friday, May 7th, 1:00pm-2:45pm

The Multispecies Salon, Location: Ballroom North

Multispecies Meal 30:00

Audience members will be invited to eat ethnographic objects in the Multispecies Meal--a poster session of sorts. Food will be on offer from Heather Paxson (cheese), Jake Kosek (honey), the Matsutake Worlds Project (mushrooms), and Lindsay Kelley (Starvation Seeds), Deborah Bird Rose (emu), and Brad Weiss (guanciale), among others.

Carnal Light: Following the White Rabbit 15:00, Eva Hayward & Lindsay Kelley

Discussion 5:00

The Umwelt of an Uncommon Ant Ectatomma ruidum through Multispecies Commodities and Spectacles 15:00, S. Eben Kirksey

Discussion 5:00

The Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno 15:00, Reverend Praba Pilar

Discussion 5:00

Geek Cosmologies: Crafting Future Natureculture, Location: Ballroom South 

Tiffany Romain (Stanford U) Orienting Toward the Inevitable

Valerie Olson (Rice U) From Foresight to Forepositioning: Ontological Tactics in Space Exploration Advocacy

Chris Kortright (UC Davis, Engineering) New Photosynthetic Pathways: Visions of Evolution and Militant Optimism in C4 Rice Project Davis

Abou Farman (CUNY) Utopia Americana: A Comparative Typology of Technological Utopias

Lisa Messeri (MIT) Living in a Science Fiction

Discussant: Christopher Kelty (UCLA)

Organizers: Tiffany Romain (Stanford U) Valerie Olson (Rice U)

Naturecultures in Latin American Forests and Fields, Location: Santa Fe Room 

Andrew Mathews (UC Santa Cruz) Carbon Science Fictions and Mexican Forests

Adam Henne (U Wyoming) Forests, Fields, Fences: Trees and Territoriality in southern Chile

Kristina Lyons (UC Davis) Science, Storytelling and the Politics of 'Soil' in Colombia

Roseann Cohen (UC Santa Cruz) Mapping Absence: Cartographies of a Mobile Landscape

Kregg Hetherington (Dalhousie U) Beans have never been modern

Jeremy Campbell (Roger Williams) Conjuring Property: Frontier Futures in Amazonia

Discussant: Sarah Whatmore (Oxford)

Dangerous Natures: Containing The Unpredictable Body, Location: New Mexico Room 

Melanie Armstrong (U New Mexico) Building a Bio-lab for the 21st Century: Community Responses to the Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory in Hamilton, Montana

Alison Fields (U Oklahoma) Healing Power: The Hiroshima Maiden Project

Carson Metzger (U New Mexico) Controlling Tuberculosis in the Lab and in the Body: Late 19th-Century Philadelphia and the Individual as Master of Disease

Jennifer Richter (U New Mexico) Naturalizing Radioactive Waste: How Science Shapes Risk in Yucca Mountain and New Mexico

Discussant: Jake Kosek (UC Berkeley)

Friday, May 7th, 3:00pm- 4:45

Tarrying with Neurodiversity: Moving Beyond Pharmaco-natures, Location: Ballroom North 

Matthew Wolf-Meyer (UC Santa Cruz) American Sleep and Capitalism, from Variation to Pathology

Stephanie Lloyd (McGill University) The Paxilization of France: Anodynes, Cures and Normality Amid French Neurodiversity

Michael Oldani (U Wisconsin Whitewater) Scripting the Ordinary: Pharmaceutical Families as the New Normal

John Marlovits (UC Santa Cruz) Odd Minds: Neurodiversity and The Politics of Mental Health Movement Culture in Seattle

Nurit Bird-David (University of Haifa) Situational Personhood in Bio-medical Naturculture: A Case of PVS Patients in an Israeli Hospital

Eating NatureCulture I, Location: New Mexico Room 

Hannah Landecker (UCLA) Food as Exposure: Nutritional Epigenetics and the Molecularization of the Environment

Anne Meneley (Trent U) Palestinian Olive Trees as Kin

Diane Nelson (Duke) OmniLifeNatureCulture

Sophia Roosth (MIT) On Souffles and Centrifuges: Molecular Gastronomy, Scientific Consumption, and Craft Practice

Discussant: Brad Weiss (College of William & Mary)

Past and Future Connections, Location: Santa Fe Room 

Les Field (U New Mexico) Relativity Effects: Reconsidering the Cultural Biography of Pre-Columbian Gold Objects

Lucy Suchman (Lancaster U) Robot Biographies

Astrid Schrader (Sarah Lawrence College) Species Differences and Anthropocentrism in Harmful Algal Research: A Matter of Time

Jeanette Edwards (U Manchester) The nature of ancestors

Matthew Hull (U Michigan) The Anthropology of Databases and the Ontology of Real Estate in Islamabad

Other Materialisms I: Thinking Natureculture Through Transitional States of Matter, Location: Ballroom South 

Stuart McLean (U Minnesota) Black Goo: Natureculture and the Imagination of Matter in Europe's Muddy Margins

Diane Willow (U Minnesota) The Tangible Intangible: Ambient Sites, Charged Atmospheres, and Permeable Boundaries

Todd Ramón Ochoa (UNC Chapel Hill) Building and Dissolving Bonds: Asymmetrical Synthesis in Cuban-Kongo Sorcery

Naveeda Khan (Johns Hopkins U) The Theological Properties of Soil and the Conditions of Dog Becoming in the Shifting Silt Islands of Riparian Bangladesh

Niall McBrierty and Brien-McBrierty (Dublin, Ireland) Glass: When Will We See Through It?

Friday, May 7th, 5:00pm- 6:30pm

David Schneider Memorial Lecture, Location: Ballroom 

Chair: Marisol de la Cadena (UC Davis)

Donna Haraway (UC Santa Cruz) Staying with the Trouble: Xenoecologies of Home for Companions in the Contact Zones

In conversation with John Law (Open University Sociology and the CRESC ESRC Research Centre)

Friday, May 7th, 6:45pm- 7:30pm

Reception, Location: La Terraza, Cash Bar, Hors d’Oeuvres

Friday, May 7th, 9:00pm

SCA Screening of “SWEETGRASS”, Location: “The Screen” at 1600 St. Michael’s Drive, Santa Fe

A Film by Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Harvard U-Sensory Ethnography Lab)

Followed by a conversation with Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Harvard U-Sensory Ethnography Lab) moderated by Steve Feld (U New Mexico).

Saturday, May 8th, 9:00am—10:15am

Plenary Session II, Location: Ballroom

Chair: Danilyn Rutherford (UC Santa Cruz)

Judith Farquhar (U Chicago) Information Databases, Knowing Traditions

Deborah Rose Bird (Macquarie U) Double Death: in the shadow of extinction

Saturday, May 8th, 10:30am—12:15pm

Naturecultures of Science, Location: New Mexico Room

Tom Boellstorff (UC Irvine) Virtual Nature

Goetz Hoeppe (College of William & Mary) Observatories versus Laboratories in Conceiving of "the Natural"

Daniel Segal (Pitzer College) Jane Goodall and the Making of Chimp-Human Closeness

Kath Weston (U Virginia) Entanglement, Really: Or Why Anthropology Needs a Quantum Eraser

Other Materialisms II: The Substance of Politics,Location: Ballroom North 

Cori Hayden (UC Berkeley) Chemical Multiplicities

Tim Choy (UC Davis) Air's Aesthesia

Myra Hird (Queen's University) The In/Organic Juncture: Exploring the Boundary between Life and Matter

Jake Kosek (UC Berkeley) Apiary Ambiguities: The Science and Politics of Honey Bee Mortality

S. Lochlain Jain (Stanford U) Quality of End of Life and the Billion Dollar Substance

Alexei Yurchak (UC Berkeley) Lenin's Two Bodies: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty

Organizers: Cori Hayden (UC Berkeley) Tim Choy (UC Davis)

How the Concept of Naturecultures May Be Useful for Understanding War Now, Location: Ballroom South 

Deb Cowen (U Toronto) Colonial Metaphor, Military Mapping and Systems Spaces: The Naturecultures of Business Logistics

Caren Kaplan (UC Davis) The Mind's Eye in Motion: How Airpower Makes Naturecultures

Jennifer Terry (UC Irvine) Bodies as Strategic Resources in Post-Human Warfare

Architecture of the Future: Human Potentials and Hypothetical Monsters, Location: Santa Fe Room 

Courtney N. Nickerson (York U) Moby-Dick; or, Hope and the Ungraspable Phantom of Life

Mona Bhan (Depauw U) Building Monsters: Architecture of Human Potentials

Mark Robinson (Princeton U) The Mathematics of Monsters: Time and the Moral Brain

Noelle Mole (Princeton U) Italian Mobbing and its Evil Potentials

David Valentine (U Minnesota) Discussant

Saturday, May 8th, 12:30pm—2:15pm

On Shaky Ground: Sketching a 'More-than-Human' Anthropology of Life, Location: Ballroom South 

Shubhra Gururani (York U) Live Stock: When Humans, Cattle, Hybrids, and Jerseys Meet in Kumaon Himalayas, India

Carlota McAllister (York U) Life Itself: Imperial Visions of Patagonian Nature

Kavita Philip (UC Irvine) Rethinking Environment, Politics, Development and Culture in India

Adriana Premat (U Western Ontario) Urban Agriculture: Stabilizing and Destabilizing Boundaries between Humans and Nonhumans in the City

Anne Rademacher (NYU) Producing Green Expertise: Place, Pedagogy, and Sustainable Architecture in Mumbai

Jaime Yard (York U) Salmon Habitat Please Protect Our Heritage

Technoanimals, Location:Santa Fe Room

Aoife Iredale (UNC Chapel Hill) Guiding Entanglements: an Exploration into the Triune Seeing Eye Partnership with an Emphasis on the Guidedog Harness as Latourian Actor and Baradian Apparatus

Paolo Bocci (UNC Chapel Hill) What is the Matter with Goats?

Anita Maurstad (Tromså University Museum) Kissing Cod at the Museum: On Relational Materiality, Ontological Politics and Museum Knowledge Making

Matei Candea (Durham U) The Meerkat and the Abstentionist: Unfinished Ontologies in Human-Animal Relations

Matsutake Worlds, Location: Ballroom North

Tim Choy (UC Davis) will discuss theories of the senses, having digested Miyako Inoue's (Stanford) report on the "haunting" presence of matsutake's smell.

Michael Hathaway (Simon Frazer U) will introduce matsutake's entangled ecologies in southwest China, digesting Lieba Faier's (UCLA) report on matsutake's multispecies worlds in central Japan.

Shiho Satsuka (U Toronto) will speak about the multiple time frames of matsutake's presence, using Anna Tsing's (UC Santa Cruz) report on nonhuman historiographies of the matsutake forest.

Anna Tsing will discuss how matsutake stories - including those gathered for our web site - open worlds.

Unmaking the Subject, Attenuating the Person, Location: New Mexico Room

Beth A Conklin (Vanderbilt) Edgy Mutuality an the Murder of Kin: Tracking the Animal in Native Amazonia

Janelle S Taylor (U of Washington) The Making and Unmaking of the Demented Subject in Health-Care Research

Rebecca A Allahyari (School for Advanced Research) Witnessing Dementia: Attenuating Care and Experiencing Doubt in Guardianship

Joshua H Roth (Mount Holyoke College) Speed, Safety, and Licensing: The Making and Unmaking of Driving Subjects

Noa Vaisman (U Chicago) Shedding Our Selves" Reithinking the Nature/Culture Divide in Post-Dictatorship Argentina

Discussant: Lynn M Morgan (Mount Holyoke College)

Organizers: Lynn M Morgan (Mount Holyoke College) and Janelle S Taylor (U Washington)

Saturday, May 8th, 2:30pm-4:15pm

Eating NatureCulture II, Location: Ballroom North

Heather Paxson (MIT) Toward An Animal Anthropology of Farmstead Cheesemaking

Deborah Heath (Lewis & Clark College) The Reign of Terroir: NatureCulture as Local Brand & Global Market

Mara Miele (Cardiff University) The Taste of Happiness: Free Range Chicken

Discussant: Brad Weiss (College of William & Mary)

When Worlds Meet: Nature/Culture and Indigeneity, Location: Ballroom South

Sylvie Poirier (Laval U) Encountering Indigenous Ontologies. Towards an Anthropology of Difference and Co-existence

Harvey Feit (McMaster U) Indissolvable Relations, Ontological Worlds, and the Varied Engagements of James Bay Crees with States

Brian Noble (Dalhousie Uy) Living With, Living Together: Treaty Ontology and the Undoing of Biopolitics

Florence Brunois (CNRS Paris) When Modern Artefacts Enter the World of the Kasua

Colin Scott (McGill U) Relational Ontology in the Crucible of Modernity: Environmental Protection and Economic Development in a James Bay Cree Community

Mario Blaser (Memorial University of Newfoundland) Between Reciprocity and Representation: Leadership in the Hinge

Natureculture and Multipli-'Cities': New Engagements of Anthropology and Urbanism, Location: New Mexico Room

Alex Nading (U Wisconsin-Madison) Dengue Mosquitoes are Single Mothers: Culture, Nature, and the Aesthetics of Urban Health

Alison Kenner (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Simpli-cities: Environmental Health, Asthma, and Graphematic Space

Shiloh Krupar (Georgetown U) The Transnatural Fantastic

Austin Zeiderman (Stanford U) On Shaky Ground: Governing Risk in Bogotá Colombia

Nikhil Anand (Stanford U) On Pressure

Rodney Collins (Georgetown U) Itineraries at the Crossroads of Civilizations: Discourses of Decay and Desire in Contemporary Inner City Tunis

Discussant: Daniel Hoffman (U Washington)

Translations of Modernity, Location: Santa Fe Room

Lesley Green (U Cape Town) Palikur Geometries of Knowledge and Knowledge Pattern Recognition: Towards a Symmetrical Anthropology

Salvador Schavelzon (Rio de Janeiro Federal University) Popular Indigenous Worlds and the State: Ethnography of a Constitutional Assembly in Bolivia.

Robert Brightman (Reed College) and Maria Lepowsky (U Wisconsin-Madison) Irony and Ontology in Luiseño Cosmogony

Stacey Langwick (Cornell U) The Politics of Those Things that are Not: Postcolonial Healing in Tanzania

Neal Akatsuka (U Hawai'i at Manoa) On Stopping to Smell the Recombinant Roses in Japan