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ANT 4930 Social Life of Plants

Dr. Oyuela-Caycedo
This class is an introduction to the study of the social life of plants. Biologists can reconstruct the genetic relationships of plants and their diversity as well as the process leading toward genetic modifications. Anthropologists and archaeologists are able to provide the hard evidence on how, where, and when these processes of domestication and socialization of plants took place. Today with the new approaches in post-humanism and the decentralization of the relationship between humans and plants, it is possible to develop new lines of inquiry. More importantly, archaeologists as anthropologists can ask why humans domesticated specific plants and what this means for the social organization of societies in terms of control, use, management and dispersion of plants, but also from the perspective of the plant, we can ask the same questions. In this course, we will explore some of the explanations of the mutual interactions of plants and peoples, and their importance in the process leading toward diverse forms of social relationships around the planet that range from kin groups to state societies and post-human interactions. We will do this by addressing issues like the human social interactions with specific plants in terms of relations of production that generate structures of power and the creation of multispecies plants (Biotechnology, Bioengineering). We will also address the plants that favor these structures due to their specific characteristics.