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VMS Meeting: Michael Hathaway

June 11, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Pine Mushrooms as World-Makers (re-scheduled from cancelled February meeting)

From Michael: 

“This talk will give a brief introduction to a long-term collaborative research project that follows the harvest and trade in the pine mushroom (matsutake) from several countries around the world to its destination in Japan. I will focus on how this valuable trade is shaping the lives of several indigenous groups in Southwest China, on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, such as ethnic Tibetans and Yi. I suggest that the trade itself (as well as larger political events) are influencing the livelihoods of these people, such as how they farm and raise yak and goats, but also creating less expected changes such as fostering a kind of ethnic resurgence.”


Michael Hathaway is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studies the intersection of indigenous politics and environmentalism in China, and more recently, has been exploring how indigeneity has emerged in the Asia-Pacific region through transnational encounters. His first book, Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China (University of California Press, 2013) explores how environmentalism was refashioned in China, not only by conservationists, but also by rural villagers and even animals themselves. His second major project examines the global commodity chain of the matsutake, one of the world’s most expensive mushrooms, following it from the highlands of the Tibetan Plateau to the markets of urban Japan. He works with other members of the Matsutake Worlds Research Group, looking at the social worlds this mushroom engenders in Canada, the United States, China, and Japan.


June 11, 2019
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


The Usual: VanDusen, Floral Hall
5151 Oak St
Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1 Canada
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(604) 257-8335