Author Archives: danieltubb

Colin West interviews Shaylih Muehlman

Muehlmann, Shaylih. 2012. Rhizomes and other uncountables: The malaise of enumeration in Mexico’s Colorado River Delta. American Ethnologist 39(2): 339-353. Dr. Muehlmann's article is a wonderful and compelling account of how three distinct processes of enumeration interact to create a crisis narrative regarding the people, language, and ecology of the lower Colorado River Delta of northern Mexico. I have to admit that I was rather skeptical from the outset. I know a lot about the area and have personally interacted with many of the researchers who work in the region. I initially thought to myself, “C’mon now! How could counting residents, birds, fish and native language speakers really have negative consequences for people struggling to assert local control over natural resources?” As I read the paper, I got sucked into the story by Muehlmann’s clear prose and vivid imagery. Like all really good ethnographies, I felt like I was there. I felt like I was talking with Don Madeleno, catching birds in nets with Christian, or listening to the radio with Cruz’s family. So, my skepticism faded away and I became convinced that counting does matter.
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Jerry Jacka from UT San Antonio interviews Jen Shaffer from the University of Maryland

Jerry Jacka from UT San Antonio interviewing Jen Shaffer from the University of Maryland, about her article: 2010. Shaffer, L. J. Indigenous fire use to manage savanna landscapes in southern Mozambique. Fire Ecology 6(2): 43-59. I guess one of my concerns is what the future of environmental anthropology should look like. I too often worry that people haven't taken Vayda and Walters' critique of the lack of ecology in political ecology/environmental anthropology seriously enough. How do you feel about this critique and how do you think your work fits into it?
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Alex Nading, nominee for 2012 Junior Scholar Award

by Pamela McElwee, Rutgers University The Junior Scholar Award of the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association for 2012 had seven nominations. The award is for scholars beginning their careers, and is based on a nominated article that was published or in press in the award year. This year the judges for that award are highlighting the work of the nominated scholars.
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Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution

Eugene N. Anderson reviews Sponsel’s Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution:

Leslie Sponsel has defined a new field of inquiry: spiritual ecology. He traces spiritual views on the environment from early roots to modern advocates for religious, spiritual, or mystical approaches to environment. The first three chapters concern traditional societies. The first examines animism, a concept being rehabilitated after some years of relative eclipse. Sponsel then surveys the better-known studies of traditional societies and their views of their environments. The third chapter covers the “ecologically noble vs. ignoble savage” controversy. Sponsel dissects the popular culture views of the former and the various protests, ranging from politically conservative to academically searching. He compares these with the actual record, which reveals a tremendous variety and a lack of any “savages” or other stereotypic beings.

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Q and A on Courtney Carothers and Catherine Chambers

Laurie: I really appreciated the way this article captured and clearly conveyed broad historical trends and patterns that crossed space, at the same time that it attended to variations within these patterns. Both the arguments and the language in which they were presented were refreshingly clear!
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The Junior Scholar Prize Winner Shaylih Muehlmann interviews the 2012 Rappaport Prize Winner, Sarah R. Osterhoudt

By Shaylih Muehlmann, Junior Scholar Prize Winner, University of British Columbia

The 2012 winner of the Rappaport Student Paper Prize from the Anthropology and the Environment section is Sarah R. Osterhoudt who is a student in the combined doctoral program in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Yale University.  Her winning paper is entitled  “Clear Souls | Clean Fields: Environmental Imaginations and Christian Conversions in Northeastern Madagascar.” In this lucidly written essay Osterhoudt analyzes the experiences of rural Malagasy farmers who are in the process of converting to Christian religions from prior systems of ancestor belief.  She argues, compellingly, that in this process, shifts in religious ideologies are profoundly connected to shifts in environmental imaginations and practice.  Drawing on long-term fieldwork in the village of Imorona in Northeastern Madagascar Osterhoudt argues that ideas of what it means to be a good farmer and what it means to be a good Christian have become intertwined in local experiences of religious conversion which reconfigure understandings of the role of central environmental elements such as stones, rice fields, and forests. By considering local experiences of religious conversions jointly with changing understanding of environmental meanings, the paper offers a unique perspective on the interconnections between environmental and religious ideologies.

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Univ. of British Columbia anthropologist Shaylih Muehlman Awarded Junior Scholar Prize for 2012

Press Release: 14 December 2012

The Anthropology & Environment Society has awarded its Junior Scholar Prize to Univ. of British Columbia anthropologist Shaylih Muehlman. The prize is given annually to an early‐career scholar for an exemplary article in the area of environmental anthropology.

Muehlman won for her 2012 article Rhizomes and Other Uncountables: The Malaise of Enumeration in Mexico’s Colorado River Delta, in American Ethnologist 39(2): 339‐353.

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Bring heritage breeds to holiday table

Peggy F. Barlett’s Op-Ed on genetic diversity in our food system on CNN:

Last week, I sat down with colleagues and students to an early Thanksgiving meal prepared by my university’s cafeteria. Along with our winter greens, butternut squash, brussels sprouts with apples and bacon, and pumpkin grits, we ate a roasted “heritage breed turkey.”

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AAA 2012 – Anthropology and Environment Society Invited Sessions & Events

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2012

12:15 PM-1:30 PM ANTHROPOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY (A&E) DISSERTATION WORKSHOP (2-0250) Sarah A Besky and Andrew S Mathews

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Forest and Labor in Madagascar: From Colonial Concession to Global Biosphere

Marie Sodikoff new book comes out October 17:

Protecting the unique plants and animals that live onMadagascar while fueling economic growth has been a priority for the Malagasy state, international donors, and conservation NGOs since the late 1980s. Forest and Labor in Madagascar shows how poor rural workers who must make a living from the forest balance their needs with the desire of the state to earn foreign revenue from ecotourism and forest-based enterprises. Genese Marie Sodikoff examines how the appreciation and protection of Madagascar’s biodiversity depend on manual labor. She exposes the moral dilemmas workers face as both conservation representatives and peasant farmers by pointing to the hidden costs of ecological conservation.

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