University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series > Protean geographies: Plants, politics and postcolonialism in South Africa

Protean geographies: Plants, politics and postcolonialism in South Africa

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The significance of plants to the processes that form and reform human societies and politics has rarely been recognised by historians, historians of science or postcolonial theorists (Schiebinger 2004). Plants rarely feature in narratives of nation-building, transformation and everyday life. Drawing inspiration from research over several years in the Cape Floral Region of South Africa, I focus on the Protea flower, and the wider fynbos biome, to suggest that plants are not only important natural and cultural artefacts, but are embroiled in high-stake politics, social transformation and everyday lives. I explore how the Protea, as a symbol of change and promise, might also help navigate the apparent incommensurability of the politics of decolonisation and postcolonial theory.

This talk is part of the Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series series.

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