The World in a Seed: Use Reimagined

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 11:15
, Kay E. - University of Kent

The act of seed conservation at the Millennium Seed Bank demands attention to the interactions and entanglements that plants rely on, foster and contribute to in the world around them. This paper argues that as seed scientists endeavour to unpack the worlds of the seed, in order to sustain the wild communities from which they come, they draw upon a capacity for empathy and an appreciation of other living agencies akin, perhaps, to animism. Yet, in attempting to communicate the relationships that the seeds exist within, those involved in the conservation often fall back on utilitarian rhetoric. Holding in mind the concern of multispecies scholars over who gets to speak for those at the edge of extinction, this paper aims to explore what ethnobiology can contribute to the comprehension and communication of such relations within the environment and how we might help reimagine relationships of use in human-plant interactions.