Rhythms of Resistance on Timorese Saltscapes

Editorial Note: This post is part of our series highlighting the work of the Anthropology and Environment Society’s 2018 Roy A. Rappaport Prize Finalists. We asked them to outline the argument they made in their submission and to situate their work in relation to the field of environmental anthropology. By Gillian Bogart, University of California, […]

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The Meanings and Limits of “Local Water” in Los Angeles

By Sayd Randle, University of Southern California § In the fall of 2014, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference in front of the L.A. Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) downtown headquarters to sign his Executive Directive #5, titled “Emergency Drought Response – Creating a Water Wise City.” ED5, as everyone called the […]

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Water in Lesotho: Contradiction, Disjuncture, Death

By Colin Hoag, University of California, Santa Cruz § There is a language we use to talk about water, and it is filled to overflowing with clichés: fluidity, movement, connection, life-itself. Thinking through water in the mountainous enclave-state of Lesotho gives the lie to our familiar metaphors. It raises the question: What if instead of […]

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Engagement in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor

By Felipe Montoya-Greenheck, York University § Sometimes engagement in the field grabs you when you are busy grading papers at your desk, and then it doesn’t let go, or rather, because of the urgency of the matter, one cannot let go. My recent post as director of the Las Nubes Project at the Faculty of […]

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O-yama: Mountain Faith and Uncertainty in Late Capitalist Japan

By Eric J. Cunningham, Earlham College § Mountain Opening Every year in July a small group of people gather on the summit of Ontake-san, a 3,067-meter volcanic mountain in the central Japanese prefecture of Nagano, to ceremoniously open it for the summer season. They do so with prayers to the gods, or kami, who dwell […]

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Cloaking, Not Bleaching: The Back Story from Inside Bureaucracy

By Janis Bristol Alcorn § “… In other words, the way that bureaucracies work is by bleaching out local context and coming up with big simplifications.”   – Andrew Mathews, as quoted in his January 2013 interview with ENGAGEMENT I would counter by positing that good bureaucracies do not bleach out local context. Instead, they create […]

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Genese Marie Sodikoff on Forest Conservation, Malagasy Worker-Peasants and Biodiversity

ENGAGEMENT editor Rebecca Garvoille recently caught up with Genese Marie Sodikoff, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, to discuss her new book, Forest and Labor in Madagascar: From Colonial Concession to Global Biosphere  (2012, Indiana University Press), and its broader contributions to forest conservation and socio-environmental justice debates in Madagascar. This interview is the fourth […]

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Settler Colonial Nature in the Everglades

By Jessica R. Cattelino, University of California at Los Angeles § Americans live in a settler colonial society, and this shapes how we understand and engage nature. In the vast expanse of slow-flowing water and drained agricultural lands known as the Florida Everglades, thinking about settler colonialism helps make sense of Burmese python hunts and […]

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From Conservation to Eco-Toilets to Organic Markets: The Evolution of a Chinese Environmental NGO

by Edwin Schmitt, Chinese University of Hong Kong § The story of Wildgrass is one of organizational adaptation to the dynamism of present-day China’s politics and its rapidly changing social and environmental needs. After four years of working with the organization, I consider my role in Wildgrass as more of an “exchange” than an “engagement” […]

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Getting Goats: From Skepticism to Optimism in Northern Kenya

By Carolyn Lesorogol, Washington University in St. Louis § In the 1990s, before I became an academic anthropologist and researcher, I worked for about seven years in community development in Northern Kenya. The bulk of my work involved facilitating participatory development processes among communities of pastoralists in Samburu district. We tried to engage a broad […]

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