Understories has 71 ratings and 8 reviews. Rather than reproduce traditional understandings of nature and environment, Jake Kosek shifts the focus toward. A Review of: “Kosek, Jake. Understories: The Political Life of Forests in Northern New Mexico.” Durham, NC, and London: Duke University. Kosek, Jake. Understories: The Political Life of Forests in Northern New Mexico. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, pp. $ (paper).

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Duke University Press, As such, the signature undesrtories the state is never fixed, but instead can be reproduced, forged, or foisted according to context and contingency.

Understories: The Political Life of Forests in Northern New Mexico by Jake Kosek

It is with this understanding in jxke that Das inves- tigates anti-Sikh violence in in a specific locality of Delhi Sultanpuriand convincingly demonstrates how violence, rumor, and impunity circulate according to local logics that emerge from the existing social configuration.

Thus, the everyday exigencies of class, caste, and political rivalry provide the key to understanding the specificity of collective violence. By tracing the connections between these realms, we can learn how difference becomes racialized in cultural poli- tics.

Aligning himself primarily with a Hispano undderstories in Truchas, New Mexico, while also reaching out to local forestry officials and environmentalists, Kosek conducted ethnographic fieldwork and archival study into the conflict that has pitted advocates of conservation, scientific man- agement, and local subsistence use against one other.


Kosek found that race was a powerful but frequently avoided factor in the dispute, and jakr than shying away from race as a politically sensitive subject, he takes this as a motiv- ation for writing.

The koxek represents a successful example of engaged anthro- pology, since the analysis is both ethnographically innovative and politically useful to those he studies. Each chapter tackles the controversy from a different angle, ranging over his- torical periods and across scales from community to nation-state.

The common analytical threads of nature and difference hold them all together. Next, he turns governmentality into an object of investigation as he presents jakke historical account of how the United States Forest Service gained authority over both lands and community members. In what is perhaps the most innovative chapter, Kosek analyzes metaphors, practices, and material- ities to examine the several ways in which Hispano residents have been under- stood as belonging to the land of northern New Mexico.

In the political present, some of these modes of belonging are more valued than others, and this holds consequences for environmental justice advocates that use them to stake claims. The chapters that follow, grounded in archival work, explore how anxieties about race and natural resources have commingled in the United States, taking as a case study the figure of Smokey Bear.


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A final chapter maps the shared geography of Truchas and the Los Alamos National Labora- tory by following the daily commute of one Truchas resident and tracing links of labor, radiation, and conceptions of nature between the two sites. Throughout jakke monograph, we see the forceful presence in history of both human agency and the active materiality of nature.

His ujderstories bridges disciplinary boundaries between anthropology, kosei, American culture studies, and political ecology. His work on cultural politics and memory will be of interest to the interdisciplinary field of memory studies.

Cambridge University Press,pp. Most scholars who have been interested in wood as a his- torical problem have approached it from the perspective of historical geography or landscape. In this new book, Paul Warde analyzes the economic and political dimensions of timber in early modern Germany.

Understories | Duke University Press

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