13 April 2018 — 12:00 noon — WAG 316

John Hartigan (UT)

Races of Corn and the Science of Plant Biodiversity”

John Hartigan of the UT Department of Anthropology conducted an ethnography of plant science through a series of settings in Mexico and Spain — scientific sites where biodiversity is a shared subject of interest and concern but that offer divergent perspectives on the constitution of species. In Mexico, the focus is on centers of maize research where genetic techniques are both revealing and manipulating the interiority of species; in Spain, the sites are a series of botanical gardens where similar forms of genetics-based plant science are transforming pressing questions about where species belong. In both countries, biodiversity is invoked to characterize institutional missions and research objectives, but with rather different emphasis.


John Hartigan teaches in UT’s Department of Anthropology and is the Director of the Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies. His talk will draw from his most recent book, Care of the Species: Races of Corn and the Science of Biodiversity (Minnesota, 2017). He has written widely on issues surrounding race, including Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit (Princeton, 1999), Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People (Duke, 2005), Race in the 21st Century (Oxford, 2010).