Nancy Chen

Grant Type

Conference Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Santa Cruz, U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-711

Approve Date

March 4, 2016

Project Title

Chen, Dr. Nancy, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid workshop on 'Seeds, Soils, and Politics: Cultivating Citizenship and Governance,' 2016, UC-Santa Cruz, in collaboration with Dr. Birgit Muller

Anthropologists have long noted the significance of cultural systems of knowledge that encompass food production and consumption. They have recently started to investigate how knowledge becoming proprietary establishes new fields of power and also new material and sensorial relationships to the bases of human sustenance, the soil and the seeds. Via careful engagement with the critical analysis of regulatory regimes, citizen participation, and practical engagements with seeds and soils in different parts of the world, the participants will explore the role of the state, and its relation to multinational corporations, and international entities. This workshop is guided by the understanding that grounded ethnographic approaches within anthropology offer effective tools for analyzing, on the one hand, anxieties and critique that drive political engagement and, on the other, highly localized and embodied consequences of broad scale policies and programs. Whereas an imposing literature already exists in reference to the governance of biotechnology, the bulk of the literature is confined to economics and political science in which studies are driven primarily by notions of risk-assessment, control, and containment. By drawing attention to the co-emergent realms of cultivation and politics, this workshop will advance anthropology by illustrating the links between institutional governance and intimate practices