Great to see a new edited volume Thinking with Soils: Material Politics and Social Theory will soon be out with Bloomsbury.
The volume is edited by Juan F. Salazar, Céline Granjou, Anna Krzywoszynska, Manuel Tironi and myself. It’s been an amazing experience editing the book with such an amazing group of scholars, across four countries.
The geneses of the volume go back to two parallel encounters. First, is Going to Ground workshop I convened in October 2016 at USNW, with Céline Granjou and Juan Francisco Salazar. This workshop was designed as an opportunity to think both creatively and earnestly about the dirt we live on and off. The workshop brought together many of the contributors in the book to discuss how soil conservation and improvement practices are being marshaled in response to concerns over climate change, food security, and rural livelihoods, and how these might be indicative of the deep connections
between soil and social processes.
Second, the book also has its beginnings in a series of panels at the Knowledge/Culture/Ecologies International Conference held in Santiago, Chile, in November 2017, convened by Juan Francisco Salazar and Céline Granjou, where all five co-editors outlined the initial analytical coordinates for the book.
These panels also served as a catalyst to start a broader interdisciplinary discussion that had been brewing, and which we see as having been largely initiated by Maria Puig de la Bellacasa through her pioneering work in recent years. This discussion aimed to engage scholars from not only the humanities and social sciences but also the ecological and soil sciences, as well as soil practitioners, particularly those proponents of integrative science frameworks and social-ecological systems thinking. A premise of these conference panels was that, despite notable contemporary reconceptualizations of soi
l as a matter of care and concern, it is striking to observe how soil, and its manifold entanglements with plants, fungi, bacteria, and other forms of life, remains largely undertheorized or ignored in contemporary social theory. Despite soil’s vital ecological importance, its significance as a belowground three-dimensional living world remains elusive in
social and cultural research. The book is about developing work that is attuned and attentive to generating more ethical relations with nonhumans who both pervade and create livable environments, such as soil biota.
The volume includes the following chapters:
Preface Maria Puig de la Bellacasa
Chapter 1: Thinking-with Soils: An Introduction to the Edited Volume
Juan Francisco Salazar, Céline Granjou, Anna Krzywoszynska, Manuel Tironi and Matthew Kearnes
Chapter 2: Soil Theories: Invisibility, Relationality, Inhumanness
Manuel Tironi, Matthew Kearnes, Anna Krzywoszynska, Céline Granjou and Juan Francisco Salazar
Chapter 3: Mapping soil, losing ground? Politics of soil mapping
Juliette Kon Kam Kim and Céline Granjou
Chapter 4: Soils and Commodification
Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro and Levi Van Sant
Chapter 5: Knowing earth, knowing soil: epistemological work and the political aesthetics of regenerative agriculture
Matthew Kearnes and Lauren Rickards
Chapter 6: To know, to dwell, to care: towards an actionable, place-based knowledge of soils
Anna Krzywoszynska with Steve Banwart and David Blacker
Chapter 7: Soiling Mars: “To boldly grow where no plant has grown before”?
Chapter 8: Geosocial polar futures and the material geopolitics of frozen soils
Juan Francisco Salazar and Klaus Dodds
Chapter 9: Mend to the Metabolic Rift? The Promises (and Potential Pitfalls) of Biosolids Application on American Soils
Nicholas C. Kawa
Chapter 10: Reclaiming freak soils: from conquering to journeying with urban soils
Chapter 11: Soil refusal: thinking earthly matters as radical alterity
Chapter 12: Geophagiac: Art, Food, Dirt