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On 27 and 28 January 2017, the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 923 “Threatened Order – Societies under Stress” at the University of Tübingen hosted an international workshop on “Knowing Soils: An Anthropology of Agricultural Knowledge”. Organized by the research group “Salinization and soil degradation as threats to the agrarian orders in Russia, Kazakhstan/ Tajikistan and Australia since 1945,” the workshop offered an interdisciplinary platform where historians, politica...

May 30, 2017

When I was a child, my grandfather grew intoxicatingly fragrant rose bushes, spaced one metre apart. I would follow him around the garden as he potted about. He carefully maintained a surface of crumbly, bare soil underneath the bushes, with a very neat straight border between the bare soil and the thick grass. He believed this was good for both the soil and the plants. Such practices reflected conventional wisdom at the time. 

Today, there is a growing understanding that soil...

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June 26, 2017