The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt

Or, "the (non-)fungibility of the Matsutake fungi".1. Even though, yes, the former comes to us from the Latin fungor (to perform, enjoy), and the latter fungus (mushroom).

The lines have blurred. A natural forest in northern Finland looks a lot like an industrial tree plantation. The trees have become a modern resource, and the way to manage a resource is to stop its autonomous historical action. As long as trees make history, they threaten industrial governance. Cleaning the forest is part of the work of stopping this history. But since when do trees make history?

mushroom-eowp. 167–8


Re-examining mutualism (vs dominant predator-prey ideology)

"hologenome theory of evolution", "holobiont", "symbiopoiesis"

“More and more,” they write, “symbiosis appears to be the ‘rule,’ not the exception. ... Nature may be selecting ‘relationships’ rather than individuals or genomes.”

eco-dev-bio, what-is-life-margulis-sagan

Fire & landscape

"geochemical agency" - vestal-fire


Thom van Dooren (Flight ways [New York: Columbia University Press, 2014]) argues that birds tell stories through the ways they make places into homes. In this meaning of “story,” many organisms tell stories. These are among the traces I watch as “history.”


Japanese supply chains, American marketing

Instead of making value through trade as translation, Nike would use American advantages in advertising and branding. [...] “We don’t know the first thing about manufacturing. We are marketers and designers,” explained one Nike vice-president. 25 Instead, they contracted with the proliferating supply networks developing across Asia, making good use of the post-1985 profusion of “low-price supplier networks” mentioned above.

mushroom-eowp. 118



eco-dev-bio Gilbert, Scott F., and David Epel. Ecological Developmental Biology: The Environmental Regulation of Development, Health, and Evolution. ↩︎ 1

what-is-life-margulis-sagan Margulis, Lynn, and Dorion Sagan. What Is Life?. ↩︎ 1

vestal-fire Pyne, Stephen J. Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told Through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World. ↩︎ 1

flight-ways Dooren, Thom Van. Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction. ↩︎ 1

Klein, Naomi. No Logo. ↩︎ 1

mushroom-eow Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press. ↩︎ 1 2