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Other Geographies: The Influences of Michael Watts

Sharad Chari (Editor), Susanne Freidberg (Editor), Vinay Gidwani (Editor), Jesse Ribot (Editor), Wendy Wolford (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-119-18477-5
240 pages
October 2017, Wiley-Blackwell
Other Geographies: The Influences of Michael Watts (1119184770) cover image


An international group of distinguished scholars pay homage to and build on the work of one of the most influential thinkers of our time, Michael Watts.

  • Shows how Michael Watts’ research, writings, teaching and mentoring have relentlessly pushed boundaries, transforming his chosen field of geography and beyond
  • Spans an array of topics including the political economy and ecology of African societies, governmentality and territoriality in various Southern contexts, food security, cultural materialist expositions of capitalism, modernity and development across the postcolonial world
  • Builds on his legacy, exploring its theoretical, analytical, and empirical implications and proposing exciting new possibilities for further exploration in the tracks of Watts
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors vii

Introduction: Other Geographies, in the work of Michael Watts 1
Sharad Chari, Susanne Freidberg, Jesse Ribot, Wendy Wolford and Vinay Gidwani

1 Academic Journeys in the Black Atlantic: Gender, Work and Environmental Transformations 29
Judith Carney

2 Getting Back to our Roots: Integrating Critical Physical  and Social Science in the Early Work of Michael Watts 43
Rebecca Lave

3 Binary Narratives of Capitalism and Climate Change:  Dangers and Possibilities 55
Lucy Jarosz

4 Aggregate Modernities: A Critical Natural History of Contemporary Algorithms 63
Jake Kosek

5 Peanuts for Cashews? Agricultural Diversification  and the Limits of Adaptability in Côte d’Ivoire 79
Thomas J. Bassett and Moussa Koné

6 Life Itself Under Contract: A Biopolitics of Partnerships and Chemical Risk in California’s Strawberry Industry 97
Julie Guthman

7 Commoditization, Primitive Accumulation and the Spaces of Biodiversity Conservation 111
Roderick P. Neumann

8 Stopping the Serengeti Road: Social Media  and the Discursive Politics of Conservation in Tanzania 127
Benjamin Gardner

9 Privatize Everything, Certify Everywhere:  Academic Assessment and Value Transfers 143
Tad Mutersbaugh

10 Oil, Indigeneity and Dispossession 157
Joe Bryan

11 Frontiers: Remembering the Forgotten Lands 169
Teo Ballvé

12 Vibrancy of Refuse, Piety of Refusal:  Infrastructures of Discard in Dakar 185
Rosalind Fredericks

13 Reclamation, Displacement and Resiliency in Phnom Penh 199
Erin Collins


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Author Information

Sharad Chari, PhD is Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of California at Berkeley, and Visiting Associate Professor, University of the Witwatersrand.

Susanne Freidberg, PhD is Professor of Geography at Dartmouth College.

Vinay Gidwani, PhD is Professor of Geography and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Jesse Ribot, PhD is Professor of Geography, Anthropology and Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois.

Wendy Wolford, PhD is Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University.

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‘The essays in this book represent a sampling of Watts’ UC Berkeley students’ work across the four decades he served as professor, muse, and driving force for colleagues as well as students. The collection provides an entrée into this important scholar’s broad-ranging and compelling legacy that branches out and extends, like a family tree, to distant continents and global institutions. How has Michael Watts shaped Political Ecology and other subfields of Critical Human Geography? Let us count the ways.’
Nancy Lee Peluso, Professor of Society & Environment, University of California, Berkeley, USA

‘This important volume is a testament to the range of scholarship inspired by Michael Watts as illustrated by the insightful contributions of his former students, who are major scholars in their own right. Together, their contributions form an exciting new contribution to political ecology and critical agrarian studies - each presenting new understandings while tracing their intellectual debt to Watts’s work.’ 
Matt Turner, Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

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