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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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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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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

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Methods for Multispecies Anthropology

Thinking with Salmon Otoliths and Scales

Heather Anne Swanson

life. When brought into dialogue with multispecies anthropology, the approaches of animal behavior set one up well to study relations with dogs but not with, say, bacteria. Anthropologists working on insects, plants, and fungi have often gleaned

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Sarah Besky and Jonathan Padwe

). In this sense, plants and people together work against processes of de-landing and de-skilling under capitalism (we might include fungi here as well, see Tsing 2015 ). The garden as a relationship of humans and nonhumans thus embodies both potentials

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Karen Hébert, Joshua Mullenite, Alka Sabharwal, David Kneas, Irena Leisbet Ceridwen Connon, Peter van Dommelen, Cameron Hu, Brittney Hammons, and Natasha Zaretsky

of reciprocity through expensive mushroom gifts; an ethnically diverse and economically precarious bunch of pickers, many of whom are dispossessed survivors of brutal wars in Southeast Asia, hunting the fungi and multifarious forms of freedom in the

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A Flowering of Memory

Walking Zora Neale Hurston's Cemetery Path to our Mothers’ Gardens

James Jr. Padilioni

with the full communion of climate, the land, plants, animals, fungi, spirits, and the ancestors. Hurston had a vision, but Du Bois could not see it; perhaps such immanent realities of the Hoodoo landscape are veiled to the uninitiated eye that lacks