The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Works-in-Progress Discussion

Second of 4 in the Works-in-Progress:  Banu Subramaniam

Decolonizing Botany: Diasporic Lives in Naturecultures

ABSTRACT: People move, plants move, animals move. But so do theories, ideas, and concepts. Concepts migrate across disciplines - from the sciences to the humanities and back- and are repurposed to theorize new objects in new contexts. Many terms span species and disciplines– from human contexts in ethnic studies, post/colonial studies to scientific/biological terminology: native, alien, local, foreign, colonizer, colonized, naturalized, pioneer, refugee, founder, resident. In this piece, I explore concepts around mobility and “migration” and how the values and political contexts accompanying these concepts circulate across geopolitical and scientific terrains. There are surprising stories of where the terms first originated, how they travelled to new contexts, only to return to re-animate the original contexts with new cultural, political, and biological valences. Part of a larger project of decolonizing Botany, I explore the field of invasion ecology to explore how we may retheorize “place” in botany, and develop naturecultural theories of migration to reveal the diasporic lives of naturecultures.


Ezgi Özcan,

Kelly Moore,

Angie Willey,