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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

John Hartigan: Life Forms

Mon, October 1, 2012 • 12:00 PM • SAC 5.118

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“Life Forms: Cultivating Razas de Maíz and Plant Publics”

A talk by Dr. John Hartigan, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Based on ethnographic research in Mexico and Spain, this talk engages the challenges presented by nonhuman forms of race.  Starting with a biodiversity genetics research institute and then using a series of botanical gardens as touchstones, Dr. Hartigan examines the varieties of parallelisms between plants and people that are developed to make sense of multispecies relations.  Through a series of ethnographic vignettes, he sketches out the research imaginaries, practices of caring, and forms of exchange and circulation that are constitutive of “plant publics” in the Hispanic world.

John Hartigan is a professor of anthropology and director of the Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  His first book, Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit, is an ethnography focused primarily the experience of poor whites from Appalachia in the inner city.  His subsequent book, Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People, examines the cultural history of the charged epithet of “white trash.”  His third book, Race in the 21st Century, is a textbook on the ethnography of race, surveying the efforts of sociologists and anthropologists to study racial dynamics in everyday life.  Finally, his most current book, What Can you Say? America’s National Conversation on Race, takes a year’s worth of race stories in the news to show the active ways in which Americans makes sense of race.  Dr. Hartigan is currently examining genomics in Mexico, via a comparative analysis of research on humans (at the Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica in Mexico City) and on plants (at Laboratorio Nacional de Genomica para la Biodiversidad in Irapuato).  He is additionally conducting fieldwork in Spain at the Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical Gardens) in Madrid, and Jardí Botànic de Barcelona and Jardí Botànic de la Universitat de València.

This talk is part of the UT Department of Anthropology 2012-2013 Speaker Series. For more information, please contact Dr. Cecilia Ballí.


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