Life/NonLife: a forum

This Somatosphere forum features essays written in the wake of a debate held at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The debate was organized around the following motion: “Lacking empirical traction and heuristic power, the distinction between life and nonlife is one that anthropology needs to discard.” We hope you enjoy the contributions.

Life/NonLife Revived
Ann H. Kelly
Kings College London
Alex Nading
Brown University

Life After Chemistry or A Carbon Anthropology
Jamie Cross
University of Edinburgh

What Animates? Imaginations of the Lifelike
Petra Tjitske Kalshoven
University of Manchester

The Point of Death II
Edward Simpson
SOAS University of London

Life/Nonlife: A Response
Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Columbia University

By Ann H. Kelly

Ann H. Kelly is a Lecturer in Anthropology in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter. Her work centers on the practices of public health research, with special attention to the built environment, material artifacts, and affective labors of entomological inquiry in sub-Saharan Africa. She has recently written on the epistemology of makeshift experiments, the disentanglement in human/nonhuman encounters, and the memories of colonial and post-colonial medical research in the tropics.