Composing the Cosmos with Bruno Latour

Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy, translated by Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

US anthropology was already suffering the “suffering subject” when the abject cruelty of fascist culture warmongers assumed power here in the grotesque form of our Erdoğan, our Putin, our Bolsonaro: Donald Trump.[1] After this hard-right turn, appeal to a political imaginary of the late-1990s and early aughts might seem, to put it mildly, a neoliberal nostalgia. All the more so if this political philosophy identified an a priori distinction between politics and science as the problem paralyzing democracy and portending a climactic horizon of climate disaster. How quaint!

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The Witches’ Stock

George Stocking was the anthropologist’s historian of anthropology: a “professional stranger” who plowed furrows in department halls arm-in-arm with anthros tending fields and chickens.[1] The horticultural trope–his for us–strikes me as more taboo than totemic today, but I’ll take it anyway.[2] I suspect he would’ve liked the image of toil in common.[3]

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Special Focus: Fields, Furrows, and Landmarks in the History of Anthropology

Read the full Focus Section here.