Emerging Worlds

Truth In Power

Lisa Rofel

Lisa Rofel

U.S. Treasury Bond Takes A Trip
To China

Andrew Mathews

Andrew Mathews

Tree Tags and
Climate Apocalypse

Don Brenneis

Don Brenneis

Ordinary Documents and Extraordinary Outcomes

Susan Harding

Susan Harding

The Bible Meets Cosmo Girl

Powerful institutions make worlds. Not just how they like them, of course. Still, take a look at world-making and you are likely to see power and violence in the making of new forms of truth.

Consider the intertwined travels of money, issued by states yet given value only by international accords. Chinese money has value because of U.S. might; but U.S. might is only possible because of Chinese money.

Institutions work through mundane practices. In Mexico's national forests, tagging and measuring trees is coordinated with international climate change programs. Global discourse and everyday forestry management are linked through practices of counting and measurement.

What of our own research and writing; how do they emerge from power? The connections are indirect and even mysterious.

When the National Science Foundation, a major funder of research in the United States, declares that to be funded research must be "transformative," grant writers and readers take note. But can truly transformative research be recognized enough to promote?

Institutions can be surprisingly flexible. Many Christian churches have turned enthusiastically to marketing campaigns, devising new ways to get out the word of God. Christian culture sometimes looks surprisingly like secular popular culture. What new worlds are emerging here?