Rubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene

Doing Fieldwork in Multispecies Worlds

2022

Nils Bubandt, Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen, and Rachel Cypher, Editors

A methodological follow-up to Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet

Answering methodological challenges posed by the Anthropocene, this collection retools the empirical study of the socioecological chaos of the contemporary moment across the arts, human science, and natural science. The methodological companion to Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, it provides empirical studies of the multispecies messiness of contemporary life that investigate some of the critical questions of our time.

The environmental and climatic crises of our time are fundamentally multispecies crises. And the Anthropocene, a time of “human-made” disruptions on a planetary scale, is a disruption of the fabric of life as a whole. The contributors to Rubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene argue that understanding the multispecies nature of these disruptions requires multispecies methods.

Answering methodological challenges posed by the Anthropocene, Rubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene retools the empirical study of the socioecological chaos of the contemporary moment across the arts, human science, and natural science. Based on critical landscape history, multispecies curiosity, and collaboration across disciplines and knowledge systems, the volume presents thirteen transdisciplinary accounts of practical methodological experimentation, highlighting diverse settings ranging from the High Arctic to the deserts of southern Africa and from the pampas of Argentina to the coral reefs of the Western Pacific, always insisting on the importance of firsthand, “rubber boots” immersion in the field.

The methodological companion to Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (Minnesota, 2017), this collection puts forth empirical studies of the multispecies messiness of contemporary life that investigate critical contemporary questions.

Contributors: Filippo Bertoni, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin; Harshavardhan Bhat, U of Westminster; Nathalia Brichet, U of Copenhagen; Janne Flora, Aarhus U, Denmark; Natalie Forssman, U of British Columbia; Peter Funch, Aarhus U; Kirsten Hastrup, U of Copenhagen; Colin Hoag, Smith College; Joseph Klein, U of California, Santa Cruz; Andrew S. Mathews, U of California, Santa Cruz; Daniel Münster, U of Oslo; Ursula Münster, U of Oslo; Jon Rasmus Nyquist, U of Oslo; Katy Overstreet, U of Copenhagen; Pierre du Plessis, U of Oslo; Meredith Root-Bernstein; Heather Anne Swanson, Aarhus U; Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, U of California,

Santa Cruz; Stine Vestbo.

Cover alt text: Image of green, grunged ground with dark animal (likely bird) tracks moving vertically on left side and dark human shoe tracks moving vertically on right side. Image has thin split down vertical center with blue sky and, toward bottom third, small white cloud and several flying birds.

Nils Bubandt is professor of anthropology at Aarhus University in Denmark. He is author of The Empty Seashell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island and coeditor of Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet (Minnesota, 2017) and Philosophy on Fieldwork: Case Studies in Anthropological Analysis.

Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen is associate professor of techno-anthropology at Aalborg University, Denmark. She is coeditor of Anthropology Inside Out: Fieldworkers Taking Note.

Rachel Cypher received her PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was a teaching fellow there.

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