Planting Resistance: Botanical Legacies of the African Diaspora

Tue 28 May 2024, 18:00 - 20:00

Contact the events team for further information about accessibility at this event.

Image of plants and trees demonstrating polyculture farming.
Lady Lisa Sainsbury Lecture Theatre, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Jodrell Gate, Kew Road, TW9 3DS
Free, booking required

Event ended

Delivered by the most outstanding academics in the UK and beyond, the British Academy’s flagship Lecture programme showcases the very best scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.

In the 21st century, the expansion of large-scale industrial agriculture across tropical landscapes in the Americas is threatening an Afrodescendant food system that has long prioritized agrobiodiversity and agroecological practices. These practices emerged during the plantation era of transatlantic slavery, when the enslaved leveraged subsistence precarity for the right to food plots, independent production, and partial autonomy over their labour. Historical continuities connect this much-ignored food system to agricultural practices maintained to this day in many Afrodescendant farming communities. Places exemplified by the plants, cultural knowledge, and social memories of these communities can be considered biocultural refugia - extending a concept from European heritage landscapes to tropical environments in the Americas.

Judith Carney Headshot

Speaker: Professor Judith A Carney, University of California

Judith Carney is Distinguished Research Professor of Geography at University of California (UCLA). She has authored over 100 research articles and two books. Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (Harvard University Press, 2001) received the Melville Herskovits Book Award; In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (University of California Press, 2009) was awarded the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. Professor Carney is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Association of American Geographers from whom she has also received its Distinguished Scholarship Honor, the Historical Geography Award, the Netting Award for Geography and Anthropology, and the Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award. Her research has been supported by the National Geographic Society, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.

Free, booking required.

This event includes a reception for all attendees after the lecture.

This event will take place in person in partnership with the Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is part of the Denis Cosgrove Lecture series. If you have any questions about this event, please email [email protected].

Image: Polyculture Farming. Photograph by Judith Carney.

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