The work that plants do: Life, labour and the futures of vegetal economies


This workshop seeks to critically examine inter-relationships between the plant sciences, evolving societal imaginaries of plants, and diverse forms of economies predicated upon plant life. Contributions will examine how complex knowledge of plant behaviour emerging from plant science is reshaping understandings of what it is that plants do in capitalist societies, and how the production of new kinds of knowledge about plants’ activities is serving to underpin novel processes of capital accumulation.
Contributors to the workshop will draw together insights from critical political economy and political ecology on the one hand, and multispecies studies and more-than-human geography on the other, to examine how plants’ diverse capacities are understood, harnessed and disciplined within capitalist modes of production, while also remaining excessive of such frameworks, often in unpredictable ways.
In conceptualising ‘the work that plants do’, the workshop seeks to highlight the potential for novel engagements with ‘the vegetal’ in geography and the environmental humanities.
This workshop is co-sponsored by the Technological and Economy and Society research clusters at the University of Oxford, and Bristol University’s Cabot Institute.

Confirmed speakers include: Jenny Atchison (University of Wollongong), Jeremy Brice (LSE), Marion Ernwein (University of Oxford), Franklin Ginn (University of Bristol) and James Palmer (University of Bristol).

Organisers: Marion Ernwein (School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford), Franklin Ginn (School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol), James Palmer (School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol)