Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Sarah Besky – How Nature Works Book Workshop

Thursday, April 20, 2017

3:00pm – 5:00pm

McKinney Conference Room

Reception to follow

Sarah Besky Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International and Public Affairs, along with co-editors Alex Blanchette (Tufts University) and Naisargi Dave (University of Toronto) will lead a discussion of the introduction to How Nature Works.

How Nature Works is motivated by the idea that ongoing ecological and economic crises will require a critical reconsideration of labor as the overarching measure of human uniqueness, value, and social merit. If we accept that climate change and similar planetary mutations are largely irreversible—the new normal—then we must now take seriously the capacity of the nonhuman world to work on us, against us, and perhaps with us. By bringing together this burgeoning “posthuman” sensibility with issues of longstanding concern in political economy, this book theorizes the strengths and limitations of ascribing “nature” working agencies over humankind. The contributions are united by an ethnographic attention to moments in which it becomes impossible to treat work as a natural feature of any particular species or form of life. Rather, the meaning and content of work emerge in relationships among humans, nonhumans, and their built environments. As How Nature Works will show, it is only by attending to this relational quality of work that a politics capable of confronting ecological and economic crisis might emerge.

Read the Draft Introduction to How Nature Works.