Plants Matter

Exploring the Becomings of Plants and People

Editor(s) Luci Attala,Louise Steel

Language: English

Genre(s): Science

Series: Materialities in Anthropology and Archaeology

  • August 2023 · 224 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781837720484
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781837720491
  • · eBook - epub - 9781837720507

About The Book

Plants Matter explores how plants and people live together. This is not only a book about the importance of plants and how people use them, but it argues also that knowing the world is achieved-with plants. In addition to populating the landscape, plants alter human physiology in multiple material ways, through gatherings or through sensorial conversations using the chemistry of taste, perfume, colour, sound and textures. The chapters gathered in this volume offer a range of interdisciplinary perspectives that use ethnographic and ethnobotanical information to explore how the behaviours and capacities of certain plants around the world have enticed, excited and even seduced people to pay attention.


‘This book puts plants back among people and shows that paying attention to the people-plant relationship opens new ground for understanding the plant-filled world we live in.’

Jeremy Narby, co-author of Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge (2021)

‘What if plants were people who sense, discover, remember and decide just as people do? Who communicate amongst themselves, whose kith and kin are spread about, rooted in relations of filiation and descent, who breathe the wind and thirst for water? If only we humans could attend to what plants have to teach us, how much we could learn! Read this book, and find out for yourself.’

Tim Ingold, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Aberdeen


List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
1 Introduction: Talking of (and with) (the Materiality of) Plants
Luci Attala and Louise Steel
2 The Materiality of Plants: Plant–People Entanglements
Marijke Van der Veen
3 Plants as Medicine in the Anthropocene
Sarah E. Edwards
4 The World Tree: Humans, Trees and Creation on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Falk Parra Witte
5 Composing with Plants: Discerning their Call
Julie Laplante and Kañaa
6 The Matter of Knowing Plant Medicine as Ecology: From Vegetal Philosophy and Plant Science to Tea Tasting in
the Anthropocene
Guy Waddell
7 Escaping to the Garden and Tasting Life
Sarah Page
8 ‘The crop that ruled our lives’: Memories of Tobacco among Former Growers in Australia
Andrew Russell

About the Editor(s)

Author(s): Luci Attala

Luci Attala is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at UWTSD, Senior Fellow HEA, Green Gown Award winner (2015) for her work on sustainability, and was recipient of the UN Gold Star Award (2014) for work in Kenya.

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Author(s): Louise Steel

Louise Steel is Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at UWTSD, Senior Fellow HEA, and has directed archaeological fieldwork in Cyprus and Gaza.

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