Renowned anthropologist Charles L. Briggs, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will launch the research project The Body in Translation - Historicising and Reinventing Medical Humanities and Knowledge Translation with this workshop.


This lecture engages Michael Marder's Plant-Thinking ethnographically and philosophically. As a bat-transmitted rabies epidemic in 2007-2008 claimed 38 children and young adults in the Delta Amacuro rainforest of Venezuela, residents confronted contractors who were cutting trees to build ecologically inappropriate dwellings. Rejecting progressive extractivism, residents demanded that trees be consulted as to how they would be harvested and transformed into houses. Women drew on their knowledge of plants and diseased bodies in explaining the deaths and seeking effective treatments. The analysis details how discrepant phytocommunicabilities—ways that plants, humans, and other species produce and exchange knowledge—informed human-nonhuman relations and fostered a proposal for phyto-socialism that would counter environmental destruction and long-standing racialized inequalities. The result is a phyto-ontology that replaces projections of the muteness and silence of plants in favor of an exploration of possibilities for intimacy and conviviality with plants springing from a multiplicity of creative phytocommunicabilities.



14.00 – Prof EIVIND ENGEBRETSEN & Prof JOHN ØDEMARK: "Body in Translation - Historicising and Reinventing Medical Humanities and Knowledge Translation"

14.30 – Prof CHARLE L. BRIGGS: Trees, Bodies, and Discrepant Phytocommunicabilities in a Mysterious Epidemic

15.15 – Prof KARI SOLBRÆKKE: Comments and discussion


Attendance by invitation only.