Lively Fungi in Milpa Agriculture
Multispecies Worldmaking in Contemporary Mesoamerican Cuisine
Guest: Kyle Piispanen, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science and Policy, CEU
As part of our sociological research seminars, Kyle Piispanen, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science and Policy at CEU and visiting scholar at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babeș-Bolyai University will give a lecture on cultural heritage food initiatives and the conservation of milpa agriculture. This research is situated at the convergence of critical food studies, and political ecology frameworks approached through multispecies ethnography.
In this chapter, Kyle explores the agentive powers of cuitlacoche– as a co-productive agent in maize agriculture, known in Mesoamerica as milpa. While fungi have frequently been viewed as passive decomposers or agents of disease, he looks at the fungus cuitlacoche as an active agent –even if an unexpected consequence of maize domestication– in the building of milpa agriculture. He argues for the importance of Mesoamerican milpa-based cuisine locally and critically engage how milpa agriculture has shaped contemporary diets around the world. By engaging cuitlacoche and other fungi in this way, he suggests that the growing interest in fungi agency will allow us to ask better questions regarding the agency of species diversity in agricultural systems.
Location: Dostoievski (Plugarilor) str., no. 34, room 7