February 18: LOGISTICS I: Fields and Feedlots

Over the next three weeks we’ll be exploring the geography of logistics, shifting site and scale to examine, roughly, where our food comes from (as George Marcus might say, we’re “following the thing” — in this case, a hamburger… or banana). We’ll start at the fields, feedlots, and other optimized, datafied terrains where food is produced — often via “precision” agricultural techniques. Then we’ll shift our focus to local, terrestrial sites and systems of distribution and disposal, then telescope out to examine global shipping. Along the way, we’ll consider how anthropology and ethnography can help us better understand these systems.

Artifact Analysis Presentations: Sofi, Livia, Steve, Ayo, Elif

To be reviewed for today’s class:

These next two pieces will connect the “harvest” to the various local and global intelligent systems we’ll explore over the next two weeks (and beyond): 

Supplemental Resources:

  • James E. Addicott, The Precision Farming Revolution: Global Drivers of Local Agricultural Methods (Springer, forthcoming 2020).  
  • * Christopher Ali, Farm Fresh Spectrum: Rural Broadband and the Future of Connectivity (MIT Press, forthcoming).  
  • Amazon, “What Is the Banana Stand?
  • Joon Sang Baek, Soyoung Kim and Taiei Harimoto, “The Effect of Cultural Differences on a Distant Collaboration for Social Innovation: A Case Study of Designing for Precision Farming in Myanmar and South Korea,” Design and Culture 11:1 (2019): 37-58.
  • Sam Block, “5G Technology is Coming to Rural America,” The New Food Economy (April 16, 2019).
  • Philippe Bourgois, “Conjugated Oppression; Class and Ethnicity Among Guaymi and Kuna Banana Workers,” American Ethnologist 15:2 (1988).
  • Montserrat Cañedo, “Just in Time: Logistical Imaginaries of the Cosmopolis,” Urbanities 6:1 (2016).
  • * Michael Carolan, “Publicizing Food: Big Data, Precision Agriculture, and Co-Experimental Techniques of Addition,” Sociologia Ruralis 57:2 (2016): 135-54.
  • Annie Correal, “The Secret Life of the City Banana,” New York Times (August 4, 2017).
  • Todd A. Crane, “Bringing Science and Technology Studies into Agricultural Anthropology: Technology Development as Cultural Encounter Between Farmers and Researchers,” Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 36:1 (2014): 45-55.
  • Andrew Deener, The Problem of Feeding Cities: The Social Transformation, Abundance, and Inequality in America (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2020) (thanks to Fernando Domínguez Rubio for the recommendation).
  • Gary Fields, Territories of Profit: Communications, Capitalist Development, and the Innovative Enterprises of G.F. Swift and Dell Computer (Stanford University Press, 2003) (thanks to Alex Tarr for the recommendation).
  • Luis Emilio Lastra Gil, ICTs in Medium-Sized Farms in Developing Countries: A Case Study in Mexico: Conventional Banana and Organic Rice Cultivation, PhD Thesis, London School of Economics (2017).
  • Robyn Metcalfe, Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating (MIT Press, 2019).
  • * Christopher Miles, “The Combine Will Tell the Truth: On Precision Agriculture and Algorithmic Rationality,” Big Data & Society (2019): 1-12.
  • Mark Moberg, Slipping Away: Banana Politics and Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean (Berghahn Books, 2008).
  • The Most Interesting Fruit in the World,” Freakonomics Radio 375 (April 17, 2019) {audio: 38:59} (thanks to Nushelle da Silva for the recommendation).
  • Sarah Murray, Moveable Feasts: From Ancient Rome to the 21st Century, the Incredible Journeys of the Food We Eat (Picador, 2008).
  • * Sarah Murray, “Moveable Feasts,” Talks at Google (March 28, 2008) {video: 54:45}.
  • Timothy Pachirat, Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight (Yale University Press, 2013).
  • Avi Solomon, “Working Undercover in a Slaughterhouse: An Interview with Timothy Pachirat,” Learning for Life (August 24, 2014).
  • * Nicole Starosielski, “Thermal Vision,” Journal of Visual Culture 18:2 (2019).
  • Donald D. Stull, “Cows, Pigs, Corporations, and Anthropologists,” Journal of Business Anthropology 6:1 (2017): 24-40.
  • Nicola Twilley, “The Coldscape,” Cabinet 47 (2012) + Nicola Twilley, “What Do Chinese Dumplings Have to Do With Global Warming?New York Times Magazine (July 25, 2014).
  • Henry Webber, Volker Heyd, Mark Horton, Martin Bell, Wendy Matthews, and Amanda Chadburn, “Precision Farming and Archaeology,” Archaeological and Anthropological Science 11 (2019): 727-34.
  • Jason Weems, “Pioneering Visions: The Midwestern Grid, the Atlas, and an Aerial Imagination” and “Managerial Mosaics: New Deal Aerial Photography and the Marshaling of Rural America,” in Barnstorming the Prairies: How Aerial Vision Shaped the Midwest (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).
  • * Jason Weems, “Scale, a Slaughterhouse View: Industry, Corporeality, and Being in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago” in Jennifer L. Roberts, ed., Scale, Terra Foundation Essays, Vol. 2 (Terra Foundation for American Art, 2016): 106-43 (warning: this chapter contains some gruesome imagery).
  • * Rachel Wharton, “How the Bodega Gets the Banana,” Food+City (January 2015).
  • Marisa Wilson and Peter Jackson, “Fairtrade Bananas in the Caribbean: Towards a Moral Economy of Recognition,” Geoforum 70 (206): 11-21.

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