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The Great Wall as Space-craft

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The Great Wall of China is not the barrier to barbarians it is sometimes thought to be. These days, it does not seem to bound anything [1], in and of itself. Did it ever? The wall is not an iron curtain of the impenetrable sort, heavily policed (though its flows have been managed, at times and in places). …

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Magic Words: A Numbered List

This article is part of the following series:

  1. Boundary
  2. Biǎo 表
  3. Interiorization (Inclusion)
  4. The Fold
  5. Emptiness
  6. Pathway
  7. Tōng
  8. Media/Medium
  9. Resonance
  10. Excess
  11. Immunity/Community


1. Boundary

Boundary is such a common-sense concept that it hardly needs to be glossed. Indeed, the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary flirts with tautology in its obviousness: “that which serves to indicate the bounds or limits of anything….” …

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Introduction: “Translating Vitalities: Spacecraft(ing)”

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Medical practice treats the body as an active field. Growth, pathology, healing, immune response, digestion, atrophy, arousal, pain, panic – none of these organic processes is stable, fixed, or indeed ‘a thing’; yet, they are all objects of interest for medicine. Medical intervention, whether it takes the form of an antibiotic or an acupuncture treatment, interrupts a flow of causes …

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A reader’s guide to the “ontological turn” – Part 1

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Editor’s note: In the wake of the discussion about the ‘ontological turn’ at this year’s American Anthropological Association conference, we asked several scholars, “which texts or resources would you recommend to a student or colleague interested in the uses of ‘ontology’ as an analytical category in recent work in anthropology and science and technology studies?”  This was the reading list

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