Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
BA (California, Santa Cruz), MA , PhD (Michigan)
Dr. Michael Hathaway is Professor of Anthropology, Associate Member of the School for International Studies, and the Director of SFU’s David Lam Centre for Asian Studies. A Guggenheim Fellow, his work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, National Science Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Toyota Foundation, among others.
His first research project examines global environmentalism and the politics of Indigeneity. This research was based on multi-sited fieldwork in rural and urban Southwest China. It explored how local residents, Chinese scientists and expatriate conservationists forge new constellations of meanings, practices, and forms of governance in contemporary China. This work examines changing understandings of nature, social categories, and power. It was published as Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China (University of California Press, 2013).
His second major project explores 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? This work has culminated in a new book, called What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make, (Princeton University Press, 2022). It is the second volume in a trilogy, starting with Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. This project is part of the Matsutake Worlds Research Group, with Tim Choy, Lieba Faier, Miyako Inoue, Shiho Satsuka and Elaine Gan. The team explores the more-than-human social worlds this mushroom engenders in Canada, the United States, China, and Japan.