Michael Hathaway is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. His first book, Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China (University of California Press, 2013), won the Cecil B. Currey Book Prize for the best book on development studies. This book explores how environmentalism was refashioned in China, not only by conservationists, but also by rural villagers and even animals. It examines how Indigenous politics emerged in China, despite the state’s claim that it has no Indigenous peoples—- through questions, concerns and policies imported by global nature conservation organizations into China such as the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

His second major project examines the global commodity chain of the matsutake, one of the world’s most expensive mushrooms, following it from the highlands of the Tibetan Plateau to the markets of urban Japan. In it, he asks what happens when we imagine “world-making” not to be capacity exclusive to humanity, but as a part of all organisms, including the seemingly humble fungus?

His new book, tentatively called Our Lively Planet: How Understanding Fungi Helps Us Recognize the Animacy of All Life, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. It is part of a trilogy, starting with Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, and ending with a volume by Shiho Satsuka. We are part of the Matsutake Worlds Research Group, with Tim Choy, Lieba Faier, Miyako Inoue, and Elaine Gan. We explore the more-than-human social worlds this mushroom engenders in Canada, the United States, China, and Japan.

Hathaway’s work appears in The Journal of Asian Studies, Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Conservation and Society, and Humanities as well as a number of books. His research has been supported by the Japan-based Toyota Foundation; Canada-based Social Science and Humanities Research Council; and the US-based Social Science Research Council, American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and Environmental Protection Agency.