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Herbaria 3.0: A Citizen Humanities Project at the Plant-Human Interface
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8918-3322
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This presentation will introduce BALTEHUMS audiences to Herbaria 3.0, a collaborative, citizen humanities project that I have led (with a team) over the past year. This project unites environmental humanities (EH), experiential learning, and public engagement to explore how the stories we tell about plants illuminate the intertwined nature of plants and people. Simply put, we have created a website for the collection and sharing of stories about the interactions of plants and people. Using the question, “Where can a plant take you?” we invite anyone who has a story to tell about a plant to submit it for publication on our site. We edit and curate these stories, adding historical herbarium images to any personal photos the writer may submit. 

We believe that storytelling fosters invested engagement with the green world and acts as a counter to the problem of “plant blindness,” or the inability to see and recognize the plants surrounding us. Without seeing the plants in our everyday worlds, we cannot learn to care for them—nor to care for biological diversity at large. Thus, Herbaria 3.0 helps mitigate the loss of species by providing a space to share and remember the stories of plants that may be disappearing or changing in response to our anthropogenic climate crises. It also provides a space for humans to mourn these losses and prevent further ones. 

Why “herbaria”? And why “3.0”? Herbaria are collections of dried plant specimens that originated in Renaissance Italy to document medicinal plants; these constitute the “1.0” we refer to. An herbarium sheet preserves an individual plant’s roots, leaves, and flowers. The word “herbaria” also refers to the places—libraries—where these specimens are kept; these are the “2.0” of our project. Together both the specimens and the archiving of them are a visual, tactile, and material repository of plant-human interactions. The “3.0” of our project signals a connection to the past and a rebooting of herbaria for the future: to collect, share, and archive modern human-plant encounters that reflect the global movements of plants and people. 

Herbaria 3.0 makes important interventions in “citizen humanities”: the participation of the public in academic domains and the participation of academics in public ones. It also contributes to digital humanities by developing the potential of web-based platforms for fostering an ethics of care—both for nonhuman subjects and the environment at large—and for providing space to celebrate individual plants while we also collectively mourn the losses of the Anthropocene. Finally, it advances the field of EH, particularly its critical plant studies and history of science strands, in order to help us cope with, adapt to, and mitigate climate change

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
environmental humanities, plant studies, cultural studies, digital humanities, citizen humanities
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Cultural Studies Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-161710OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-161710DiVA, id: diva2:1368471
Conference
Baltehums: First Baltic Conference on the Environmental Humanities and Social Sciences, Riga, Latvia, October 8-9, 2018
Available from: 2019-11-07 Created: 2019-11-07 Last updated: 2019-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Lafauci, Lauren Elizabeth

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