CSA 2019 - Panel CFP: The Roots of Empire: Botanical Knowledge and the (Post)colonial Caribbean

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Call for Papers
November 9, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Pre-Columbian History / Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, French History / Studies, Humanities

Caribbean Studies Association 2019 – Panel CFP


Panel Title: The Roots of Empire: Botanical Knowledge and the (Post)colonial Caribbean

Organizer: Michael Reyes (Assistant Professor of Francophone Literature, Queen’s University)


In their edited volume Colonial Botany, Londa Schiebinger and Claudia Swan argue that early modern European colonialism and the science of botany were deeply interconnected.  Colonial projects profited from botany’s ability to effectively identify commercially viable plants, just as botany benefitted from access to the great diversity of plants made available by colonialism’s global reach.  Using this insight as a starting point, I am looking for scholars, from a wide range of disciplines, to join me in a panel, at the 2019 Caribbean Studies Association Annual Conference in Columbia, on the relationship between a knowledge of plants and colonial and postcolonial Caribbean contexts. 


Broad areas of investigation could include:

  • The appropriation, transculturation, or commodification of indigenous or African knowledge of plants in the Caribbean.
  • The role of (ethno)botanists or (ethno)botanical writings in expanding European Colonialism, resisting empire, or in Caribbean postcolonial spaces.
  • The role of Caribbean literary and cultural texts in archiving, generating, or reimagining knowledge of the region’s plants.
  • Microhistories of specific Caribbean plants and of their relationship to European colonialism or anticolonial resistance.

Interested co-panelists are kindly asked to send: a 150-word abstract; a brief bio; and up-to-date contact information to Michael Reyes at mcr6@queensu.ca by November 9th, 2018.   


Requested materials may be submitted in English, French, Spanish, or Haitian Creole. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Michael C. Reyes

+1 (613) 533-2082

Kingston Hall, Room 300
Queen’s University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
Tel/Tél : 613 533 2090
Fax/Télécopieur : 613 533 6522

Contact Email: