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IHUM Symposium: The Secret Life of Plants

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On Friday, May 3rd, in Betts Auditorium, the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM) will convene a gathering of scholars to consider our relations to the vegetable kingdom. Perspectives will be various, and questions will be big: What are we to the plants, and the plants to us? What possibilities does plant life offer not simply for how we conceptualize the matter of life, and our lives, but also for how we inhabit and respond to the world, ourselves, and others? We do not intend - in revisiting the sensational 1973 book from which we take our name - to be wantonly credulous about, for example, plant sentience, plant culture, the capacity of plants for collaboration with us animals. We do not want to be wantonly incredulous, either. The conference opens up an opportunity to follow some of these possibilities collectively.

The afternoon will be divided into the panels of two speakers each, under the following headings:

1:00 COHABITATION: with Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins) and Nils Norman (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts)

2:30 KNOWING: with Maureen McLane (New York University) and Tim Morton (Rice University)

4:15 ANIMATION: with Laura Marks (Simon Fraser University), Natania Meeker (University of Southern California), and Antonia Szabari (University of Southern California)

5:30 Reception

The proceedings will also be informed by a project of plant collaborations, which will be on exhibit outside of Betts in the School of Architecture, beginning with a reception at 5 PM on Thursday, May 2, the night before the conference. For more information, including a link to the Field Guide produced for the symposium, visit the IHUM website.

(The Secret Life of Plants is co-sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Department of Art and Archeology)