Seed Memory/Body Memory: The (Re)production of Karen More-Than-Human Culture Across Borders

Date and Time: 
Friday, 12 May, 2017 - 08:45
, Terese - Syracuse University

Drawing on ethnographic research with Karen refugees in Syracuse N.Y. this paper considers garden planning from an embodied perspective. Eduardo Kohn in How Forests Think asks how forests think themselves in us. Complementarily, I consider how plants grow and move themselves in us and how this cross-species reproduction functions in displacement. I ask: how does Karen seed/body memory forget as well as remember, as Karen people and plants from Burma make themselves anew in resettlement? I investigate the plants gardeners seek out, noting those that cannot be obtained. I describe the sensuous experiences wrapped up in this searching and their cross-generational dimensions. Documenting the skills perpetuated (or not) by these practices, I examine the way motions call forth seeds/plants, and seeds/plants request or even require particular ways of being and knowing. Finally, I consider how these processes are relevant to understanding bio-cultural reproduction and relationships between humans and other beings.