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Domestication and the Origins of Agriculture (Domestication Practices across History)

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Samantha Peel.

The Domestication Practices across History reading group was set up in order to investigate the deep history and global spread of what might be termed ‘domestication practices’: the creation or breeding of new varieties of plants and animals. The goal of this group is to consider how different domestication practices have come about and spread – or failed to spread – across the globe. We will begin with the domestication of crop plants in the Neolithic, before moving chronologically all the way to twentieth-century histories of genetic modification. Throughout our long journey through history we will explore several different bio-techniques or technologies, from acclimatisation to hybridisation, Mendelian theory to mutation breeding.

What role have theories of heredity played in the development and uptake of these practices? How did advocates of these practices succeed or fail in convincing others to adopt them? By considering these and other questions, we shall engage with the use of domestication practices as objects of historical study, including their promise and limitations. Readings will consist of book chapters and articles on the history of plant and animal domestication, breeding, agriculture and biotechnology.

This reading group is convened by Matt Holmes. If you have any queries about the events or reading, please don’t hesitate to email. You can find details of this event here: www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/28591

Michaelmas Term – 4 November 2019:

James C Scott, ‘Chapter Two: Landscaping the World: The Domus Complex’ in Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017): pp. 68-92.

Ian Hodder, Gary O Rollefson, Ofer Bar-Yosef and Trevor Watkins, Review of Jacques Cauvin, The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), in Cambridge Archaeological Journal 11, 1 (2001): pp. 105-121.

gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.

This talk is part of the CRASSH series.

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