Aug 31, 2020

The seminar, lead by Dr. Hanspeter Znoy, looked at how capitalist relations arrive in pre-capitalist communities as well as those pushed to the margins of society, like fugitives, minorities or the poor.

We looked at these processes through three Books by two authors. Land’s End by Tania Li and Friction and Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing. Especially the later was why I wanted to visit this seminar. Anna Tsing’s work introduced me to a special kind of branch of anthropology, the multispecies or more-than-human enthography.

In the seminar’s final essay I wanted to look at the language applied in the three books. The first two books played out in the forrests and jungles of indonesia and the last one was about the global supply chain of the matsutake mushroom. Since trees featured heavily in all three books, I took that as the measure, through which I analyzed the applied language. For that I looked at every single instance of the word tree and codified it’s usage as well as the surrounding context.

Trees - Social Life in Capitalist Ruins

I must say, that I’m happy with the findings, to see how values, worldviews and theory of the different authors are mirrored within their unconscious application of language of a single concept. I also love how this exercise brought the three books even closer.