- Outreach & Teaching
It turns out that one of your co-hosts is a magical creature – feel free to guess which one. This week we are thrilled to welcome to the podcast (9:35) fellow Oaxacanist anthropologist Andrew Mathews who shares his thoughts on states and statecraft and how best to conceptualize and study what they do. We talk about his excellent book, Instituting Nature: Authority, Expertise and Power in Mexican Forests (MIT Press, 2011) and focus in specifically on the Mexican state and whether it is indeed as weak as is often claimed. Speaking of forest management, we discuss why states fear fire even as they frequently act to parasitize crises as opportunities for political intervention. We talk about how bureaucracies produce both knowledge and non-knowledge and about the gap between rhetorics of state power and the reality of disorder and transience within bureaucracies. We discuss the emotional landscape of patron-client relations and the political landscape of resource conservation. Then, we pivot toward Andrew’s new research on forest protection, biomass energy and climate change in Italy. He explains why modeling and “hypothetical futures” are becoming such key features of statecraft in the Anthropocene. Ever wonder what exactly constitutes “a forest”? That answer and much more on this week’s episode!