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Agribiopolitics: Plants and humans in the age of monocrops in Paraguay

March 23, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

March 23, 12-1 pm, via Zoom

Paraguay: Kregg Hetherington: “Agribiopolitics: Plants and humans in the age of monocrops in Paraguay”

The Green Revolution in crop development of the mid-20th century is normally told as the story of heroic plant geneticists, miraculous fertilizers and increasingly complex machinery and pesticides. But the expansion of monocrop agriculture throughout this period was also enabled by novel governmental apparatuses that guarded the health of plants much as welfare regimes guarded that of humans. In this presentation, I argue that it’s worth thinking of these two things together, as an overarching politics of life that oversaw the shifting relation between the well being of plants and that of humans. Biopolitics was always, in other words, agribiopolitics, a political technique that made certain populations of humans thrive alongside companion crops. Using Paraguay as a site of genealogical engagement, I show how this history of monocrops first supported, then undermined human welfare, and how intertwined it is with the political predicaments of the Anthropocene.

Kregg Hetherington is an environmental anthropologist and director of the Concordia Ethnography Lab in Montreal. He is author of The Government of Beans (2020), Guerrilla Auditors (2011) and editor of Infrastructure, Environment and Life in the Anthropocene (2019). His research has focused on agrarian politics and bureaucracy in Paraguay, and crop and water management in the Anthropocene.

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This seminar is part of “Science and Technology in the Hispanic World”, a special seminar series prepared in collaboration between Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program

How does global science and technology affect Hispanic societies and ecosystems? How does cultural inheritance of hispanic societies inform citizens’ attitudes towards science driven technological projects? How do science and technology from the North mobilize indigenous science to resist undesired transformations? What are the culturally specific debates and conflicts that emerge in various local contexts where science and technology bring changes? This series features renown scholars and activists to introduce us to science and technology driven social debates in Spain, Mexico, Paraguay and Nicaragua.


March 23, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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