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Accepted Paper:

Deforestation: Lessons from the Gut about the Limits of our Food Systems  
Tamar Blickstein (Marie Curie Fellow, Ca' Foscari)

Paper short abstract:

This autoethnographic paper draws on my own gut and that of smaller creatures like bees to reflect on the consequences of our current food systems in one of the world’s agribusiness-driven deforestation hotspots, the South American Gran Chaco, where I have conducted fieldwork since 2010.

Paper long abstract:

Deforestation: Lessons from the Gut about the Limits of our Food Systems

This autoethnographic paper draws on my own gut and that of smaller creatures like bees to reflect on the consequences of our current food systems in one of the world’s agribusiness-driven deforestation hotspots, the South American Gran Chaco, where I have conducted fieldwork since 2010. Our current food systems have been linked to rising rates of human gut complaints, particularly in affluent and highly industrialized societies: from leaky gut, IBS and gut-related autoimmune disorders like celiac disease to more serious illnesses like colin cancer. But what if these ailments are enmeshed in a wider multispecies story? The Gran Chaco dry forest – as well as its human and non-human inhabitants - are increasingly being displaced by soy and cattle ranching that deplete the area’s biodiversity, impact patterns of drought and flooding, and leach an array of legal and illegal agrochemicals into the soil, water and air that affect microbiomes of all sizes. The recent election of right-wing climate denier Javier Milei as President of Argentina – where most remaining native Chaco forests are concentrated - threatens to give a carte blanche to these trends, which are typically framed as an effort to “feed the world.” Using my own gut as guide, I take an autoethnographic and interspecies approach to explore the mimicries and incommensurabilities between different forms of gut disturbance, from my own, to those arising in soils and in the guts of insects like bees.

Panel P233
Oh my gut: anthropological pathways to the cultural, affective, medical and multispecies entanglements of the gut
  Session 2