I am an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University, the convenor of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, director of the Plant Studies Collaboratory, and on the editorial board of the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. I work alongside Michelle Murphy as co-organizer of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon, and am co-founder of the Write2Know Project with Max Liboiron.
My ethnographic research examines forms of life in the contemporary arts and sciences. Rendering Life Molecular: Models, Modelers, and Excitable Matter (Duke 2015) is an ethnography of an interdisciplinary group of scientists who make living substance come to matter at the molecular scale. This book maps protein modeling techniques in the context of the ongoing molecularization of life in the biosciences. It explores how protein modelers’ multidimensional data forms are shifting the cusp of visibility, the contours of the biological imagination, and the nature of living substance. What, it asks, does life become in their hands? Rendering Life Molecular received the 2016 Robert K. Merton Award from the Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. Listen to an interview on the book, and to a lively discussion about science and mechanism here.
With support from an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Government and a SSHRC RDI Grant, I convened the Plant Studies Collaboratory in 2010 to serve as a node for collaborative interdisciplinary research on plant-based ecologies and economies.
In new work, I am experimenting with ways to document the affective ecologies that take shape between plants and people, and among plants and their remarkably multi-species relations. One project looks at ways the phenomena of plant sensing and communication are galvanizing inquiry in both the arts and the sciences. Another project looks at the ways that human/plant relations are staged in botanical gardens and in ecological restoration sites in city parks.
Follow this link to see a video of a recent talk: ‘From Edenic Apocalypse to Gardens Against Eden: Plants and People in and After the Anthropocene.’ Hear more stories about plants on this Cultures of Energy Podcast. Tune into kinesthetic images and sounds from Becoming Sensor in an Oak Savannah, my new research-creation collaboration with award winning filmmaker and dancer, Ayelen Liberona. For more on my past, current, and ongoing research projects click here.
In my teaching I explore the history of anthropological theory, sensory anthropology, more-than-human ethnography, feminist technoscience, the intersections of race, gender and science, the craft of scientific practice, and the power of facts in social worlds.