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Heeding Headless Thoughts

Eduardo Kohn

This afterword reflects on how the Matsutake Worlds Research Group project can be considered as ontological. The multispecies ethnographic engagements presented in this special issue manifest not only the concepts inherent in the worlds of others that defy the categories of Western metaphysical thought (e.g., life forms seen as ‘events’ rather than mere things), but also the way in which non-human life forms themselves can demand that we practice another kind of thought and embrace another vision of our own selves. By succumbing to the allure of the matsutake fungus, the Matsutake Worlds Research Group has begun one of the most suggestive and original conceptual enterprises today, a practice that perhaps could be named ‘heeding headless thoughts’.

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Euphoric Anomaly

Matsutake’s Elusive Elusiveness in 2010 Japan

Lieba Faier

Elusiveness can itself be elusive. This article considers why matsutake draw over-the-top excitement as an elusive commodity even in years of prolific harvests. In 2010 Japan, an unexpectedly copious domestic matsutake harvest prompted a precipitous drop in the mushroom’s price and made the mushroom readily accessible. The article traces the sources of consumer excitement that year, showing how matsutake commodity elusiveness is itself produced through contingent coordinations among trees, fungi, weather, pickers, mycology, popular media, and consumers. It suggests that, in 2010, media outlets and consumers resolved the contradictions of this elusiveness—celebrating matsutake’s elite status as an elusive commodity while enjoying its accessibility—by treating the bumper harvest as a euphoric anomaly.

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Laurent Berger

wage labor and innovations as by the “free gifts” offered by the ecosystem (such as the cost of maintaining and reproducing the multiscalar interdependences between the animalia, fungi, plantae, protista, bacteria, and archaea kingdoms) 1 . Capitalists

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Patrick McEvoy

artisan cheesemakers, who are much more comfortable working with diverse assemblages of generally benign bacteria and fungi. Novel concepts are found throughout The Life of Cheese , and Paxson structures some of the book’s chapters around the most

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Anna Tsing

and washed the trees to deter insects and fungi. Still, almost no rubber was produced throughout the entire experiment. To this day, no one produces rubber in plantations in Brazil; rubber plantations are limited to Asia and Africa, where Brazilian

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Milja Kurki

negotiations with fungi, trees, trucks, and financial algorithms, not just “between human actors.” Indeed, what we call “humans” themselves are made in relation to non-humans. In other words, humans are already “more than human”; that is, made by solar energy

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Vignerons and the Vines

Mediators of Place-based Identity in Alsace, France

Mark Anthony Arceño

Volunteers, consumers Fungi (botrytis, esca ) Electrical fencing Lawmakers ( appellations ) Yeast (natural, artificial) Chemical agents Researchers (INRA, climate scientists, anthropologists) Soil microbes Weather conditions

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English Wetland Immersions

Encountering, Slowing, Navigating, Imagining in Terrestrial Water Worlds

Mary Gearey

which highlights our reliance on processes beyond our ken—the role of fungi, 93 of microbial networks, 94 of soil structures, 95 of mosquitoes and other awkward pollinators 96 —champions close attention to detail in specific sites as a means to

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Fearful Intimacies

COVID-19 and the Reshaping of Human–Microbial Relations

Carmen McLeod, Eleanor Hadley Kershaw, and Brigitte Nerlich

‘microbes’ and ‘microbial life’ in their broadest sense. While micro-organisms are technically defined as microscopic biological (cellular) entities such as bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae and protozoa – viruses (which are not cellular) – are also often

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Jaime Moreno Tejada

Borba (contrary to popular belief, the Amazon is an urbanized wilderness, with over 70 percent of the population residing in cities) and the agricultural plots located in its hinterland. We learn about local struggles against pests and fungi