Plant Humanities Conference hosted by Dumbarton Oaks

Allison Janos's picture
September 15, 2022 to September 17, 2022
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Digital Humanities, Environmental History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Plant Humanities Conference

September 15-17, 2022
Dumbarton Oaks

Organizers: Yota Batsaki and Anatole Tchikine

The relationship between plants and people is deep, complex, and asymmetrical. Plants are indispensable to our bodily needs­—food, shelter, clothing, medicine—and weave themselves into our experience through ritual, religion, and art. Yet anthropogenic change threatens two out of five plant species with extinction. These pressing environmental challenges make an urgent call for a new dialogue between the humanities and science to point us to vital future directions for scholarship and action.

This conference is a capstone event of the Plant Humanities Initiative at Dumbarton Oaks, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It brings together distinguished thinkers and emerging scholars who research and communicate the fundamental importance of plants to human cultures. Beginning with an afternoon roundtable on September 15 and continuing over two days of presentations and discussions, the conference will take place at Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, DC. The event will be open to the public and will also be livestreamed.

Thursday, September 15


Felix Driver, Royal Holloway, University of London

Ned Friedman, Arnold Arboretum

Jessica Harris, Queens College

Robin Kimmerer, State University of New York-ESF

Londa Schiebinger, Stanford University

Yota Batsaki, Dumbarton Oaks (moderator) 

Friday, September 16

Food and Medicine Cultures

Judith Carney, University of California Los Angeles

Elizabeth Hoover, University of California Berkeley

Miranda Brown, University of Michigan

Anatole Tchikine, Dumbarton Oaks (moderator)

Legacies of Colonialism and Resilience

Jayson Porter, Brown University

Ashanti Shih, Vassar College

Rosalyn LaPier, University of Montana

John Beardsley, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (moderator)


Saturday, September 17

Aesthetics, Ethics, and Spirituality

Ioannis Fappas, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens

Sumana Roy, Ashoka University

Temitayo Ogunbiyi, artist

Diana Sorensen, Harvard University (moderator)

Environment and Biodiversity

W. John Kress, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

Rosetta Elkin, Pratt Institute

Gary Paul Nabhan, University of Arizona

John McNeil, Georgetown University (moderator)

Closing Remarks 

Peter Crane FRS, Oak Spring Garden Foundation 

Romita Ray, Syracuse University 

Yota Batsaki, Dumbarton Oaks (moderator) 

In-person registration is full.

Contact Info: 

Allison Janos

Project Coordinator, Plant Humanities Initiative at Dumbarton Oaks