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Research interests:
multispecies ethnography, STS, visual anthropology, ethnographic film, fungi, affect theory, multimodal methods

the project

the project: in 3 parts

okay so are these clickable the film part


film  installation  thesis

project timeline

spring '23

summer '23

fall '23

spring '24

summer '24

This research is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant.

Research Question: __________________________ Morg needs to rewrite her question..... :S

In the last several years, scientific debates about the various roles fungi are purported to play in nature have been brought to mainstream public attention. Scientific literature and popular media have illuminated the capacities of fungi to facilitate communication and nutrient transportation between trees and plants through root-like fungal networks affectionately deemed the “wood wide web” (Simard, 1997; Stamets, 2008). The debate about the roles of fungi in nature concerns the larger implications of what it means that fungi act and build relationships in the ways that they do — is nature fundamentally motivated by collaboration and care or competition and individual survival? Both sides of this debate impose assumptions about the natural world with a general presumption that fungi are passive facilitators of communication rather than communicators themselves. 

My project joins the anthropology of science by investigating the ideological, moral, and political assumptions written into the science of fungal interspecies relationships (Hathaway, 2022; Tsing and Satsuka, 2008). With a multispecies, world-building, and affective theoretical framework (Hustak and Myers, 2012), this project seeks to understand how the agentive capacities and actions of fungi (Hathaway, 2022; Sheldrake, 2021; Tsing, 2015) are (un)written into the scientific literature as a salient case study of how nature is understood and represented in scientific narratives. Fungi provide a rich and timely example of the importance of how scientific narratives are written (Martin, 1991) given the rapid ascent of mushrooms (the fruiting body of some fungal species) into the public sphere as solutions to the climate crisis, mental health crisis, and general human well-being “at the end of the world” (Tsing, 2015). There is an urgent push to study the “world-saving” (Stamets, 2008) capacities of fungi which begins with understanding how they live and build relationships with other species. This research aims to unsettle anthropocentric assumptions we make about the natural world (Crist, 2014) and the presuppositions we hold about fungal worlds that inform research trajectories about nature and fungal-interspecies relationships (Tsing and Satsuka, 2008). 

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