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Rooting with Plants: Towards a multi species anthropology of displacement and migration 
Hilal Alkan (Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient)
Anne Meneley (Trent University)
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Nefissa Naguib (University of Oslo)
Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC), 03/007
Thursday 28 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel explores migration and displacement as multispecies processes and looks into the ways how migrants remember, care for and root with plants. As co-temporous growth and multispecies orientations to past and future are investigated, a new horizon for anthropology of displacement is defined.

Long Abstract:

‘Becoming human [is] an interspecies collaborative project; we become who we are in the company of other beings’ says Deborah Bird Rose (2011, 11). Following from that, this panel explores how human beings, who in the metaphorical language of anthropologies of migration and displacement are uprooted and transplanted, later take root in their new homes and grow in interaction with companion plants, for whom these tasks have a very literal meaning. It also investigates the multispecies losses that mark displacement, and people’s creative and caring endeavors to deal with such losses as part of becoming who they are.

Migrants take the climatic and seasonal challenges of the new lands together with the plants they grow at home, in gardens or in refugee camps. Growing plants and growing co-temporaneously with them is a memory work, as well as a deliberate effort to establish a fresh sense of belonging and to overcome senses of uprootedness. Yet, growing a plant is also a work of hope: the hope about inevitable life-forces, the hope to root again, or possibly the hope to return. Hence plant-care is as much a way of mourning and healing, as an act of cherishing cultural, olfactory and culinary connections to previous and present homelands.

Possible topics include:

- Migrant food growing

- Plants as anchors to migrant pasts and presents

- Gardening as reconstruction of home-spaces

- Plant-care as life-making activity in displacement

- Home-making with plants

- Transborder seed sharing and cutting exchanges

- Plants as biographical vessels

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -