40. Attending to Plants and their Entanglements

Xan Chacko, Brown University; Laura Foster, Indiana University - Bloomington; Krista Lynes, Concordia University;

While plants are frequently understood in their territorial dimensions, plant life moves across space through extraction, confiscation, transplantation, and dispersal. This panel invites papers that consider how plants are entangled in the variegated and interconnected spaces of sea, sky, and land, while offering ways of thinking about and imagining science and technology otherwise and nurturing potential practices of solidarity. Scholars in STS have produced insights into colonial botany (Schiebinger 2004), plant bioprospecting (Soto Laveaga 2009, Osseo-Asare 2014), Indigenous knowledges (Kimmerer 2013), queer ecologies (Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson 2010), and multispecies understandings (Tsing 2015). Drawing upon this scholarship, this panel seeks to understand plant life in and through neoliberal anxieties related to endangerment, invasive species, the climate crisis, and food insecurity, pinpointing how they are used to motivate plant-human entanglements but are carefully depoliticized of their colonial underpinnings and often racist, xenophobic, and heterosexist logics. We solicit planty interventions into literature, art, fabulation, queerness, sexuality, Indigenous epistemologies, and even AI that question how the boundaries of the environment (land, soil, pollinators, water, weather, and toxins) are shaped through systems of governance and technoscience practices. Papers might thread the economies of sustainability, regulation, and militarization, as woven through tangible projects around carbon offsets, datafication, and genetic modification. They could also attend to the movement of plants through industrial, commercial, museological, or grassroots networks. This panel thus enables diverse ways of understanding plants in our lives and challenges us to think more deeply about how we care for and relate to natureculture worlds.

Contact: xan_chacko@brown.edu, fosterl@indiana.edu, krista.lynes@concordia.ca

Keywords: Feminist STS, Indigenous STS, Environmental/Multispecies Studies, Critical Plant Studies; Queer Ecologies; Decolonial STS; Race/Black Studies STS; Food and Agriculture; Energy and Extraction; Big Data, AI, Machine Learning

Published: 04/07/2023