Melanie Ford, Hetherington, Kregg (ed.): Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthropocene. Durham: Duke University Press, 2019. 304 pp. ISBN 978-​1-​4780-​0148-​5. Price: £ 20.00 in:

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Anthropos, Volume 115 (2020), Issue 1, ISSN: 0257-9774, ISSN online: 0257-9774,

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bined with his own observation, he was able to gather knowledge about ecological resource use and typical Wapishana interactions with the environment. Using Gebser’s structures of consciousness as a con‐ ceptual tool, Henfrey draws on particular examples to illustrate that the Wapishana are able to move effort‐ lessly between the magic, mythical, and mental struc‐ ture in their dealings with the environment. By explor‐ ing cultural beliefs in nature spirits, Amerindian norms and prohibitions, and rationalist choices about resource overuse, he demonstrates various contexts in which the Wapishana would use all three structures of conscious‐ ness. Henfrey illustrates that the magic and mythical structures encode ecosocial knowledge that contributes to sustainable resource use. The main aspect of this dis‐ cussion highlights an indigenous flexibility that allows decision-making to take place in any of these structures, based on the particular situation at hand. Henfrey as‐ serts that this ability, this continual systasis, allows the Wapishana to create, support, and maintain cultural and ecological fringes, rather than frontiers. Despite engaging with a highly varied history of the‐ ories emerging from different disciplines, developing a complex analytical framework, systematically exploring his ethnographic material, and developing well-groun‐ ded but complicated conclusions, Henfrey does an ex‐ cellent job of guiding the reader along on his journey. He consistently draws important connections for the reader and provides ample examples and evidence to support his claims throughout the book. The one aspect where I think this book could improve is something that Henfrey himself identifies towards the end of the book, and this is an increased interest and en‐ gagement with indigenous subjectivities. While the book is incredibly compelling, and it provides some ground breaking conclusions, I was searching for a dir‐ ect engagement with what the Wapishana informants themselves thought about Henfrey’s concepts and anal‐ ysis. This book can provide a jumping off point for an in-depth exploration of environmental and cultural resi‐ lience, and in any future research those indigenous voices should be at the foreground. Overall, this book provides a new way to explore our environmental crisis, and fundamentally rethink Babylon’s, understanding of, characterization of and en‐ gagement with our natural environment. Henfrey argues that working with indigenous communities alone will not prevent the creation of frontiers, as Bablyonian sci‐ entists tend to dominate intercultural interactions and thus create frontiers. Henfrey cannot stress enough the importance of indigenous design, retention, and in‐ terests in future discussions regarding environmental conservation and sustainability. As all of our other at‐ tempts at mitigating the climate crisis continue to fail, this book provides a depth of engagement with a viable alternative, as well as a path towards hope for a differ‐ ent future. Courtney Stafford-Walter ( Hetherington, Kregg (ed.): Infrastructure, Environ‐ ment, and Life in the Anthropocene. Durham: Duke University Press, 2019. 304 pp. ISBN 978-1-4780- 0148-5. Price: £ 20.00 “Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthro‐ pocene” edited by Kregg Hetherington concretizes the importance of studying infrastructure in environmental‐ ly uncertain times as much as it dissolves it. For the contributors in this volume, dissolving is not a retro‐ gressive act. Instead, dissolving is written as a disman‐ tlement of universalism in experiences of ecological de‐ terioration (Carse, Hetherington, Muehlmann, Zeider‐ man); as a method for building anew (Jensen, Wakefield and Braun); as an interrogation of assumptions (Anand, Ballestero); and as a refusal of objectification (Gordillo, Masco, Meyers). Although such a contentious term at the center of the volume’s analysis could prompt a defi‐ nitional debate (see D. Haraway, Anthropocene, Capi‐ talocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene. Making Kin (Environmental Humanities 6.2015.1: 159–165; ), any entertain‐ ment of the “Anthropocene” as a singular concept or setting is quickly refused. Instead, the chapters offered in this volume position the Anthropocene not as an en‐ closed object of study but as an unsettled domain from which to understand how life, environment, and infra‐ structure conceptualize and frame one another. The chapters are distributed across three sections: “Reckoning with Ground,” “Lively Infrastructures,” and “Histories of Progress.” The volume’s tone is set by An‐ drea Ballestero’s opening chapter. In her work on the ju‐ risdiction of aquifers and water policy in Costa Rica, Ballestero examines an aquifer’s elusive and loosely de‐ fined boundaries to show how these spongy bodies be‐ come “thinkable as infrastructures” (21). An aquifer’s continuous temporal, material, and conceptual shifts shatter the technological and legal facts that provide the very foundations on which to govern them. Instead, through an analysis of how we come to know infrastruc‐ tures, Ballestero shows how scientific devices and tools literally figure out the underground. As aquifers sift and flow through sediment, they are always part and parcel of modeling the “underground”; their figures (financial‐ ly and formally) cannot be separated from their environ‐ ment. Thus, in thinking with sponges as flexible con‐ ceptual frameworks, Ballestero unravels with ease any distinct perceptions between what is figure and what is ground, what is infrastructure and what is environment. While in some instances the categories of “infrastruc‐ ture” and “environment” are only separated by bureau‐ cratic imagination, Stephanie Wakefield and Bruce Braun dive into the world of speculative design, where infrastructural plans for the mediation of coastal dam‐ age in United States are redefining the material compo‐ sition of the “built environment.” Through living archi‐ tecture – structures that hinge on species life-cycles – Wakefield and Braun address temporal dimensions of life that challenge common rhetoric around death and dying in times of environmental catastrophe. The au‐ 226 Book Reviews Anthropos 115.2020 thors detail how the appropriation of an oyster’s life-cy‐ cle and “natural-functioning” are fitted as infrastructure itself (200). By encouraging and relying on oysters’ affinity towards building reefs upon their dead carcass‐ es, architects and engineers hope that reintroducing oys‐ ters to the local region will result in reefs-turned-walls, which could ease the impact of rising tides and harsh waves along Staten Island’s shores. This is what Wake‐ field and Braun call “biopolitical doubling,” in which oysters become infrastructures themselves that are made to manage human life human life vis-à-vis their own life and death. As Wakefield and Braun delineate how design profes‐ sionals configure Oystertectures through a perceived, neutral cohabitation with marine life, Austin Zeiderman argues against readymade analyses that flatly dismantle the human/nonhuman dichotomy. Instead, through at‐ tention to territorial conflicts and Afro-Colombian ac‐ tivism in coastal Buenaventura, Colombia, Zeiderman calls for an outwardly antiracist, historically and spatial‐ ly contingent “submerged humanism” (172). Detailing how posthumanist scholars’ commitments to shy away from anthropocentrism often deflate the heterogenous conditions that originated such dichotomies, Zeiderman reminds anthropologists that “to account for the nonhu‐ man in our political theories and institutions does not somehow resolve the quintessentially humanist prob‐ lems of marginalization, exclusion, and injustice” (181). His examination of the displacement of seaside settle‐ ments and Afro-Colombian populations in the name of sustainable development rests upon a hierarchical orga‐ nization of life, “where African diasporic life has long been seen as less than human” (179). Thus, Zeiderman not only challenges atemporal anthropological analysis of sustainable development but presents a welcomed re‐ minder of how antiracist praxis must be centered when analyzing the constitutive boundaries of “human” and “nature.” While many of the chapters in this volume focus on infrastructure as entities that are tangible, Gastón Gordillo, Joseph Masco, and Ashley Carse rethink in‐ frastructure through processual frameworks. Ashley Carse’s chapter on the proliferation of “weediness” in Colón, Panama, reveals how maintenance covertly orga‐ nizes, controls, and upholds privileged expectations of ecological aesthetics. Following the construction of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century, Carse delin‐ eates the modes in which imperial investments in progress and modernity were deeply tied to the mani‐ curing of local nature, such as grooming vegetation and keeping grass. As the construction of the Panama Canal contracted overseas White workers, a reconstruction of regional nature was mandated as a “public health” ini‐ tiative that sought to sanitize the region through broader urban planning and development initiatives by Western standards. Now, however, Carse explains that regional economic disinvestment has permitted the region’s weedy landscapes to remerge, inciting discontent in lo‐ cal residents who describe these new landscapes as dirty. It is through the regrowth of regional vegetation that Carse writes of global disinvestment, stating that “concern with dirty landscapes rehearses the self-pre‐ sentation of imperial modernity to make sense of con‐ temporary disconnection” (108). Examining systems of management, upkeep, and organization offers new scales of where infrastructure can be found. On a similar platform, Gastón Gordillo advocates for a shift away from theories of globalization to analyses of “the metropolis.” Witness to the boom of the soy in‐ dustry in the Chaco province of Argentina, Gordillo ar‐ gues that urbanization works as an assemblage of histor‐ ical, planetary, and unevenly distributed set of intentions and extractions. These assemblages summate a metropolis; not a whole figure nor a totalizing object, but rather a “constellation of nodes and conduits repeti‐ tively moving objects, bodies, energy, and information across national borders and continents” (69). By paying strict attention to the various technological, logistical, imperial, and formal trajectories that are adjoined in space, Gordillo argues that the metropolis is a “fastpaced infrastructure of the Anthropocene,” and attention to the eco-political textures of terrain can help the social and humanistic scholar better situate the quotidian ac‐ tivities of urban life within the rapidly crumbling an‐ thropocenic era (93). The edited volume concludes with Joseph Masco’s chapter on crisis ideology as experienced infrastruc‐ tures. Discussing manners in which atmospheres of “cri‐ sis” have conditioned public understanding of ecologi‐ cal decay, Masco traces how militaristic and national governance bridges the Cold War nuclear crisis with the contemporary climate crisis. While the rhetoric sur‐ rounding “crisis” is deployed as a call to action to alle‐ viate immediate and threatening conditions to human population, Masco contends that contemporary crisis rhetoric has only frozen the capacity to think in deep and long-term solutions resulting in a “crisis in crisis” (240). Instead of engaging the heterogenous systems that culminate in acute sense of crisis, temporary solu‐ tions are applied that only patch structural issues behind the crises at hand. Masco ends his chapter with a re‐ minder that “crisis-talk without the commitment to rev‐ olution becomes counterrevolutionary” (254). Perhaps this is where this volume leaves the reader wanting more. While the volume carefully illuminates how infrastructural worlds collide and are mediated by variegated lives, it nevertheless forfeits considerations – ethnographic or personal – for moving beyond identify‐ ing inoperative infrastructures. Chapters by Casper Bruun Jensen, Natasha Meyers, and Shaylih Muehlmann do offer ethnographic insight into repara‐ tive possibilities. Jensen argues that infrastructural pro‐ totypes are “mode[s] of redescription that opens toward alternative futures” (223). Meyers suggests breaking away from dominant narratives of “Anthropos” and staging new scenes “to see the ancient and ongoing con‐ spiracies among plants and their people” (146); and Muehlmann reminds ethnographers to refuse an infra‐ Book Reviews 227 Anthropos 115.2020 structuralization of the scholarly project itself (64). With these chapters in mind, this volume offers an insightful evaluation of infrastructural complexity and an excel‐ lent starting point for thinking about amendatory fu‐ tures. Melanie Ford ( Hu, Chia-yu, and Niki Alsford: Local Aesthetics with Foreign Perceptions. The Taiwan Collections Housed at the British Museum. Taipei: National Taiwan University Press, 2018. 274 pp. ISBN 978-986-350- 286-9. Price: NT$ 1300.00 Das British Museum in London besitzt neben Museen in Oxford und Cambridge die bedeutendste Sammlung von Gegenständen aus Taiwan (früher Formosa) in Eng‐ land. Seit 1860 wurden 370 Gegenstände des Museums gesammelt, die als von dortigen Einwohnern hergestellt oder gebraucht gelten. Dazu gehören 190 Textilien (meist Kleindungsstücke, darunter viele kurze und lange Westen mit überwiegend roten geometrischen Stickerei‐ en) und 60 Gegenstände, die als Schmuck und Trachten‐ stücke zu bezeichnen sind. Die Autoren rechnen hierzu auch Stofftaschen für Tabak, Betel sowie Kopftrophäen und Gewehrpatronen, von denen eine erhebliche Anzahl auf textiler Grundlage mit anderen Materialien appli‐ ziert worden ist. Es gibt einige Flechtarbeiten, zumeist Behälter aus Rattan, Bambus (aus ramie oder rush grass geflochten), und etwa 40 sonstige Gegenstände des all‐ täglichen Gebrauchs, die aus verschiedenen Materialien (Horn, Holz, Pflanzenfasern, Metall, Muscheln, Kera‐ mik) und Materialkombinationen hergestellt wurden. Hierzu zählt auch das Modell eines besegelten Floßes aus Bambusstämmen zu dem eine Qing-zeitliche Abbil‐ dung aus einer ethnografischen Abhandlung (?) beige‐ fügt wird, ohne dass erkennbar ist, ob das Qing-zeitliche Bild sich ebenfalls auf Taiwan und die dort lebende Nicht-Han-Bevölkerung bezieht. Alle Gegenstände werden, leider unzulänglich knapp, in Appendix I nach Inventarnummern aufgelistet und mit kleinen Farbfotos abgebildet. Sammler und Akzes‐ sions-/Sammlungsjahr werden außerdem genannt. Nicht aufgeführt werden das konstitutive Material, die Her‐ stellungstechnik und auch nicht die Maße. Zwar wird bei jedem Gegenstand eine Zuweisung zu einem der et‐ wa 25 Bevölkerungsgruppen der Insel (auf S. 37 gibt es eine gute Karte) gegeben, jedoch sind sie allesamt pro‐ blematisch, da sie von den Herausgebern aufgrund sti‐ listischer Evaluation vorgenommen wurden. Anschei‐ nend sind für die meisten Gegenstände keine genauen, vom Sammler dokumentierten Herkunftsangaben ver‐ fügbar, was nicht weiter erstaunt, da die Mehrheit der Objekte zwischen 1876 und 1910 ins Museum gelangt ist, als man im Übereifer des Sammelns von Exotica auf solche Detailinformationen noch wenig Wert legte. Der Aspekt des frühen Sammelns wird vom Mitver‐ fasser Alsford in einem eigenen Kapitel (chinesischer Text: 42–54; englischer Text: 56–73) untersucht, in wel‐ chem er die Sammler Robert Swinhoe (1836–1877, da‐ von in Taiwan 1861–1866) und William Campbell (1841–1921, davon in Taiwan 1871–1917) biografisch abhandelt und presbyterianische Missionsunternehmun‐ gen vorstellt, die über andere Personen (James Laidlaw Maxwell, in Taiwan nach 1865) ebenfalls zur Samm‐ lung beigetragen haben. Die meisten Gegenstände scheinen nicht direkt von den Sammlern ins Museum gelangt zu sein, sondern über Henry Christie. Wichtig für das Zustandekommen der Sammlung im British Mu‐ seum war auch eine britisch-japanische Ausstellung vom 14. Mai bis 29. Oktober 1910 in London. Taiwan war seit 1895 eine japanische Kolonie, weswegen auf der Ausstellung auch zahlreiche Gegenstände aus Tai‐ wan gezeigt wurden, und die so nach dem Ende der Ausstellung ins Museum gelangten. Wie damals üblich, wurden auch Einheimische aus Taiwan (24 Personen der Paiwan) in einer Art Völkerschau vorgeführt. Zu den meisten Gegenständen finden sich die weiter‐ führenden Informationen auf die thematischen Kapitel des Buches verteilt. Sie aufzufinden und Zusammenge‐ höriges zusammenzuführen ist mühsam, wird aber durch zwei Abbildungsverzeichnisse (xvi–xxiv) etwas erleichtert. Das überreich illustrierte und umfassend dokumentie‐ rende Buch ist ein willkommener Beitrag zur Katalogi‐ sierung des materiellen Besitzes taiwanesischer Urein‐ wohnern aus einer frühen Zeit, aus der andere Museen kaum etwas besitzen. Die mehr als 300 Gegenstände, die heute im British Museum vorliegen, sind zwischen 1860 und 1910 gesammelt worden, und davon allein 200 im Zusammenhang mit der genannten Ausstellung in London. Berthold Riese ( Ingold, Tim: Anthropology. Why It Matters. Cam‐ bridge: Polity Press, 2018. 145 pp. ISBN 978-1-5095- 1980-4. Price: £ 9.99 “How … should we live now, such that there can be life for generations to come?” And, “What could make life sustainable, not for some to the exclusion of others, but for everyone?” (6). These questions represent the focus of the narrative that Tim Ingold unfolds in the five chapters of his book “Anthropology. Why It Matters.” To address to these questions, Ingold reflects on the nature of anthropology as a practice founded “on gen‐ erosity, on receiving with good grace what is given rather than seeking to obtain, by deceit or subterfuge, what is not” (11). For the author, anthropology is “phi‐ losophy with the people in” (4), a “discipline-in-themaking,” that is an endless “becoming with others.” Thus, according to the author, the task of anthropolo‐ gists should be joining others in the common task of finding ways to live rather than writing about other ways of living in the world (14). After clearly stating that the book will present his per‐ sonal perspective, Ingold affirms that anthropology should seek to produce wisdom rather than knowledge. In this regard, he suggests that anthropology is a practice of 228 Book Reviews Anthropos 115.2020

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Anthropos is the international journal of anthropology and linguistics, founded in 1906 by Wilhelm Schmidt, missonary and member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Its main purpose is the study of human societies in their cultural dimension. In honor of Wilhelm Schmidt‘s legacy, the cultivation of anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, and religious studies remain an essential component oft he Anthropos Institute – the organizational carrier of the journal.


Anthropos - internationale Zeitschrift für Völkerkunde wird vom Anthropos Institut St. Augustin seit 1906 zweimal jährlich herausgegeben. Ursprünglich als Sprachrohr für katholische Missionarsarbeit geplant, gilt sie heute als wichtige Fachzeitschrift der allgemeinen Ethnologie. Sie behandelt sowohl kulturelle als auch sprachliche Themen in mehreren Sprachen, mit Schwerpunkt auf den Völkern des gesamtamerikanischen und afrikanischen Kontinents.