Jonathan Wald Annotations

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Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 8:14pm

Response to Selen Eren, SKETCH 1: Habits, Neuroses, Talents

Thanks Selen for sharing! Looking through all the responses, it seems like there are very few of us who identified ourselves closer to the “obsessive” side of the spectrum. I only count three (including Megh Marathe).

After reading Keller, I found myself wondering if anthropology in particular (and perhaps other disciplines involved in STS) tend to amass “paranoid” information gatherers. My original training was in philosophy were Keller’s “obsessive” personality is highly encouraged.  I’ve found the transition from philosophy to anthropology to be challenging in a lot of ways, and I wonder if this is a set of terms which provides some language for the differences.

I’m therefore curious if you or Megh find that your interests in “internal dynamics” set you apart from your colleagues? How have you found collaborating with more “paranoid” colleagues? 

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Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 7:53pm

Response to Katie Ulrich, SKETCH 2: Across Scales and Systems

Thanks Katie for sharing this! As someone also researching Brazilian responses to the climate crisis, I was very interested to read this breakdown of your work.

I was especially struck by your response to the question about the “nano” scale and found myself wondering how the answers to the other questions might diverge or overlap for the three “realms.” Of course, there must be real differences between these realms, but I take your skepticism to indicate that there must be shared experiences which are perhaps (intentionally?) excluded from considerations. What are the stakes of merging or distancing these different realms?

I find myself thinking about similar questions about the stakes of holistic versus particularist approaches to environmental science. When is it useful to think of everything as an interconnected system? When is it better to consider something in relative isolation? Considering the massive complexity and scales of energy economies and global environmental conditions, are there points where reduction is necessary, even if it carries risks?

Recently I’ve been engaging with this through Catherine Malabou’s engagement with Michel Foucault and Enrique Dussel ( For her, the question is about the status of an “outside” of philosophy, something which remains unthinkable in the terms of philosophy. For Foucault, this is about surrealism. For Dussel, it’s about the colonial peripheries. Guided by this, I wonder if there are elements in any one of the three realms which cannot easily be translated into the language of the other realms? Or are there other realms (indigenous communities, perhaps) which remain excluded from all three realms mentioned here? 

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