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What a Mushroom Lives For

Matsutake and the Worlds They Make

Michael J. Hathaway

ca. 20,99
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Princeton University Press img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Pädagogik


How the prized matsutake mushroom is remaking human communities in China—and providing new ways to understand human and more-than-human worlds

What a Mushroom Lives For pushes today’s mushroom renaissance in compelling new directions. For centuries, Western science has promoted a human- and animal-centric framework of what counts as action, agency, movement, and behavior. But, as Michael Hathaway shows, the world-making capacities of mushrooms radically challenge this orthodoxy by revealing the lively dynamism of all forms of life.

The book tells the fascinating story of one particularly prized species, the matsutake, and the astonishing ways it is silently yet powerfully shaping worlds, from the Tibetan plateau to the mushrooms’ final destination in Japan. Many Tibetan and Yi people have dedicated their lives to picking and selling this mushroom—a delicacy that drives a multibillion-dollar global trade network and that still grows only in the wild, despite scientists’ intensive efforts to cultivate it in urban labs. But this is far from a simple story of humans exploiting a passive, edible commodity. Rather, the book reveals the complex, symbiotic ways that mushrooms, plants, humans, and other animals interact. It explores how the world looks to the mushrooms, as well as to the people who have grown rich harvesting them.

A surprise-filled journey into science and human culture, this exciting and provocative book shows how fungi shape our planet and our lives in strange, diverse, and often unimaginable ways.

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Michael J. Hathaway
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Compost, Microbiologist, Sciaridae, Truffle, Cortinarius, Mushroom, Environmentalist, Mycelium, Octopus, Chytridiomycota, Quantity, Probiotic, Symbiosis, Chert, Polypore, Bacteria, Insect, Vegetable, Biodiversity, Arsenic, Microbiota, Plant, Agaricus, Ganoderma applanatum, Plant nutrition, Forest gecko, Claviceps purpurea, Edible mushroom, Mycology, Sponge, Mycorrhiza, Beauveria, Paul Stamets, Aspergillus tubingensis, Cyperaceae, Mold, Semiosis, Fungiculture, Inocybe, Agriculture, Dugong, Termite, Microorganism, Pleurotus ostreatus, Nutrient, Yak butter, Boletus, Microbiology, Pine, Sooty mangabey, Dry rot, Organism, Mushroom cloud, Ergot, Salad, Giorgio Agamben, Millipede, Umwelt, Mushroom hunting, Fiction, Fungus, Matsutake, Spore, Amanita muscaria, Psilocybin mushroom, Saprotrophic nutrition, Feather, Soy sauce, Moss, Yeast