Ep. 155: What a Mushroom Lives For - Matsutake & the Worlds They Make (feat. Dr. Michael J. Hathaway)

Today on Mushroom Hour we are graced by the presence of Dr. Michael J. Hathaway - Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Associate Member of the School for International Studies, and the Director of SFU's David Lam Centre for Asian Studies. He is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow and author of What a Mushroom Lives For (2022) and Environmental Winds (2013). Hathaway is a cultural anthropologist with two central interests. First, he is deeply interested in China’s place in the modern world, looking at how little-known dynamics there have created world-spanning effects in surprising realms such as feminism, environmentalism, and Indigenous rights. His aim is to disrupt the typical assumptions that globalization emerges solely from the West. Second, Hathaway is doing what he can to foster a transformation in scientific understandings based on colonial assumptions of the natural world. For a quarter-century, Hathaway has lived in, worked, and traveled in China and increasingly in Japan, where he has explored the entangled and emerging worlds of transnational environmentalism and Indigenous rights. More recently, Hathaway has been exploring hidden histories of Indigenous-led activism across the Pacific Rim and how they have shaped the contemporary world. Today we’re going to dive into his newest book, “What a Mushroom Lives For”.   


  • Environmentalism and Indigenous Rights in China   
  • The Mushroom at the End of the World   
  • Matsutake World Research Group   
  • New Relationships with Biology    
  • Human Exceptionalism   
  • World Making   
  • Thinking Like a Mushroom   
  • Umwelt   
  • Matsutake’s Economic Ecosystem   
  • The Yi People & Their Fungal Economy   
  • Entanglements of Yaks, Mushrooms, Barley, Trees and Public Policy   
  • How Matsutake Continually Shapes Cultures and Economies into the Future    
  • Efforts to Cultivate Matsutake   
  • Can Shifting Ecological Worldviews Shape the Future?   


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