Valuing Plants Workshop (Nov 23)

This international workshop takes up the challenge of valuing plants and how to care for them. The eating bodies team brings together five papers where human-plant practices in potato communities, botanical gardens, agro-export farms, city’s streets and mountainous grasslands transgress different versions of the good.

In everyday life, we interact with plants for diverse reasons, as food, medicine, decoration, even when reading a newspaper or sitting on a couch. Plants are an important part of our lives, yet, it is likely that many of the plants we interact with have been grown elsewhere and probably valued differently; as what is a good plant here, may not be in the next situation. Recently, a growing body of scholarly and artistic literature has become concerned with the nature of multispecies relationships, giving rise to a rich discussion over human-plant relations either as forms of sentience or as exploitable resources. This workshop seeks to engage with the growing body of work on human-plant relations by engaging with the means by which plants are valued. What is at stake in valuing plants? and how does the value of a plant shift from being companions in one place to being eaten in another? What can we learn from plants, in this continuous giving and taking?

Format: Works-in-progress or problem statements will be pre-circulated for audience discussion.

Location: University of Amsterdam

Co-Chair: Annemarie Mol & Marianne de Laet

Contact: To attend and receive the workshop papers and the meeting location, please rsvp to Carolina Domínguez Guzmán,


11.00 -11.30   Introduction and Concerns

11.30 -12.15   Potato community: Unfolding tuber-human intersubjectivities in the Peruvian Andes by Olivia Angé (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

12.15 -13.00   Encountering plants through labour: valuing life, growth and charisma by Ágota Ábran (University of Aberdeen)

13.00 -14.00   Lunch

14.00 -14.45   Killing in the garden: on the time and space of ethics by Oliver Human (University of Amsterdam)

14.45 -15.30   Valuing plants in devalued spaces: growing Baltimore city’s street trees by Mariya Shcheglovitova (University of Maryland)

15.30 -16.15   Feeding waters, hungry trees: exploring irrigation practices by Carolina Domínguez Guzmán (University of Amsterdam)

16.15 -16.30   Wrap-up

17.30               Informal dinner


Please note that on Friday the 24th., we have scheduled a Walking Seminar. Here, we will be further discussing the issue of valuing, this time in each of our fields. Be welcome to join! If you are interested, please send an e-mail to Ulrike Scholtes, For more information about walking seminars, click here.