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Situating vegetal lives in political ecology: from plantationocene to planthroposcene

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Rogelio Luque-Lora.

This week’s seminar uses as its departure point the ongoing debate surrounding how best to situate Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing’s concept of the ‘Plantationocene’ in order to avoid a multispecies flattening of relations – in particular those relations determined by race. When dealing with a multispecies framework within political ecology, it is often easier to locate animal actors than plants both ethically and politically. Vegetal agency is harder to translate and make legible, whilst plant lives are inherently valued far less than animal lives due in part to their mutable bodily boundaries which complicate our western conceptions of what constitutes an ‘individual’. How, then, might we rehabilitate the vegetal as a political actor whilst guarding against a flattening of relations? What might recent work in the emerging transdisciplinary field of critical plant studies have to offer those of us working with or among plants? In asking these questions, we shall wend our way to Natasha Myers’ invitation to seed ‘planthroposcenes’ in attending to plants as world-makers, centring them in our attempts to reimagine sustainable futures.

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This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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