What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make

£18.00

Available for Pre-order. Due June 2022.
What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Princeton University Press
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Pages: 296 Illustrations and other contents: 24 b/w illus. 1 table. Language: English ISBN: 9780691225883 Categories: , , , , , , , Tag:

How the prized matsutake mushroom is remaking human communities in China-and providing new ways to understand human and more-than-human worlds

What a Mushroom Lives For pushes today’s mushroom renaissance in compelling new directions. For centuries, Western science has promoted a human- and animal-centric framework of what counts as action, agency, movement, and behavior. But, as Michael Hathaway shows, the world-making capacities of mushrooms radically challenge this orthodoxy by revealing the lively dynamism of all forms of life.

The book tells the fascinating story of one particularly prized species, the matsutake, and the astonishing ways it is silently yet powerfully shaping worlds, from the Tibetan plateau to the mushrooms’ final destination in Japan. Many Tibetan and Yi people have dedicated their lives to picking and selling this mushroom-a delicacy that drives a multibillion-dollar global trade network and that still grows only in the wild, despite scientists’ intensive efforts to cultivate it in urban labs. But this is far from a simple story of humans exploiting a passive, edible commodity. Rather, the book reveals the complex, symbiotic ways that mushrooms, plants, humans, and other animals interact. It explores how the world looks to the mushrooms, as well as to the people who have grown rich harvesting them. A surprise-filled journey into science and human culture, this exciting and provocative book shows how fungi shape our planet and our lives in strange, diverse, and often unimaginable ways.

Weight0.564564 kg
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"Few readers, I suspect, have ever considered fungi to be sentient, but Michael Hathaway argues that mushrooms (as well as plants and other organisms widely considered as passive automatons), though not exactly conscious, nevertheless 'engage their surroundings in a dynamic way.' . . . The takeaway, Hathaway advises, should at least be a renewed appreciation of the interconnectedness of all forms of life, flora, fauna, and 'funga,' and a realization that the world is 'made and remade through relationships.'"---Laurence Marshall, Natural History

Author Biography

Michael J. Hathaway is professor of anthropology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and the author of the award-winning Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China. He is a member of the Matsutake Worlds Research Group.