Mike is currently conducting participatory fieldwork among the amaQwathi people of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The LAND (Livelihoods, Agroecology, and Nutrition for Development) Project is the product of a partnership between CIAS, Indwe Trust, Kidlinks World, and the farmers themselves.
Mike’s main current book project is City of the Good: Nature, Religion, and the Ancient Search for What Is Right to be published by Princeton University Press in late 2017 or early 2018. People have long looked to nature and the divine as paths to the good. In this panoramic meditation on the harmonious life, Mike traces how these two paths came to be seen as separate from human ways, and how many of today’s conflicts can be traced back thousands of years to this ancient divide. Taking readers on a spellbinding journey through history and across the globe, Mike begins with the pagan view, which sees nature and the divine as entangled with the human—and not necessarily good. But the emergence of urban societies gave rise to new moral concerns about the political character of human life. Wealth and inequality grew, and urban people sought to justify their passions. In the face of such concerns, nature and the divine came to be partitioned from the human, and therefore seen to be good—but they also became absolute and divisive. City of the Good urges us to embrace the plurality of our traditions—from the pagan to the bourgeois—and to guard against absolutism and remain open to difference and its endless creativity.
Mike is also beginning work on books about social justice, ecological economics, agroecological theory, and community.
His current musical projects include completing a fourth class-grass album with his band Graminy, and completing an album of his songs about the St. Lawrence River. Mike is also completing several suites of classical songs for voice and piano, and a large-scale choral work.