Rooting out the weeds that bind: Disemboweling the devil after 2020

Annie Wilkinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Year-end rituals give arbitrary transitions meaning, facilitate collective mourning or sensemaking, enable closure or catharsis, or, alternatively, their refusal. Through a blend of creative fiction and feminist auto-ethnography, this essay observes the end of 2020 with a both/and offer: a medium for processing the collective trauma of 2020, the Year of the Bindweed, and an invitation to whimsically imagine the otherwise in the insurgent thallopower of 2021, the Year of the Mushroom. As I strive to uproot its endless twists and turns through 2020, I follow the bindweed's path from Minneapolis to Mars and back as it courses through countless crises named and unnamed only to wind up back in my garden. There I find that this Convolvulus arvensis is deeply rooted in an entangled system of White supremacy, heteropatriarchy, imperialism, and capitalism, regenerating itself with no clear beginning or end to weed out or unravel. Theorizing in “ex-centric sites” (Harrison 2016), this essay is the compost pile of my ethnographic work on anti-feminism and right-wing populism. Drawing allegories from the garden as another way of knowing (Jones 2000), it “centers an embodied feminist ethos” (Berry et al. 2017) in a form fugitive to the conventional modalities of academic theory-making. [Corrections added on 25 October 2021 after first online publication: The abstract was added to the article.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalFeminist Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Gender Studies


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