I am an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University, director of the Plant Studies Collaboratory, convener of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, co-founder of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon, and the Write2Know Project.
Plant Studies: Art, Science, and Ecology
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.
My plant-based research documents the affective ecologies that take shape between plants and people, and among plants and their remarkably multi-species relations. I examine how the phenomena of plant sensing and communication are galvanizing inquiry in both the arts and the sciences, and how people stage their relations with plants in botanical gardens and in ecological restoration projects in urban parks. These projects are part of a new book I am working on called Rooting into the Planthroposcene: Seeding Plant/People Conspiracies to Grow Livable Worlds.
Follow links to see videos of recent talks: ‘From Edenic Apocalypse to Gardens Against Eden: Plants and People in and After the Anthropocene‘ and ‘Ungrid-able Ecologies’. Hear more stories about plants on this Cultures of Energy Podcast. Check out Becoming Sensor, an experiment with protocols for an “ungrid-able ecology” in the form of a research-creation collaboration with award winning filmmaker and dancer, Ayelen Liberona. Watch and listen to our recent video work, Alchemical Cinema, Take 1, and Rooting into the Planthroposcene.
The Lively Sciences
My first book, 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.
For more on my past, current, and ongoing research projects click here.
My teaching, grounded in decolonial feminist praxis, explores the history of anthropological theory, the anthropology of the senses, the anthropology of science and technology, 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.