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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Jenny Reardon

Jenny ReardonProf. Dr. Jenny Reardon
University of California, Santa Cruz

When Prairie Meets Genome: Crafting Care, Knowledge and Justice at the Horizon’s Edge
When May 20, 2019
from 11:15 AM to 12:30 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, seminar room
Contact Name
Attendees Universitätsoffen / open to university members
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When Prairie Meets Genome: Crafting Care, Knowledge and Justice at the Horizon’s Edge


What should be a ‘thing’ in this world, a matter of ‘our’ concern and care?  Genome, that glitzy, high tech beacon of promise and prosperity that commanded so much collective attention over the last decades?  Prairie, barely known, barely visible (prairie grasses live mostly underground), purveyor of alluring horizons?  And who is the ‘we’ who can answer these questions, and how will that ‘we’ know?  In this talk, I pose these questions about who can know and live—and with what—in these times after genomes, after truth, after trees, in the wake of eroding trust in dominant modes of constituting collective knowledge and life.  Specifically, I reflect on what happens when genome meets prairie, and when longtime scholar of genomes gets on a bike to cycle across her home state of Kansas to ask farmers and ranchers about how to know and care for prairies.  Thinking and moving with the south wind on the gravel roads of the Great Plains—where trees yield to grass, land to sky—I endeavor to gather ‘us’ around new ways of knowing and caring that resist the allure of apocalyptic frames (e.g., post-truth; the Anthropocene), and craft instead new sensibilities and capacities for response in a moment where too much urgently demands ‘our’ care and concern.