Organized Session

SHOT Joint Session

Narratives of Seeds II: Interrogating Disciplinary Boundaries between Histories of Science and Technology


Helen Anne Curry

University of Cambridge

Prakash Kumar

Pennsylvania State University


Barbara Hahn

Texas Tech University


Session Abstract

In a joint session for HSS and SHOT, we propose to examine the materiality of narratives around seeds that open the path to build specific conceptions of seeds, prepare seeds to be acted upon and legitimize changes that follow the introduction of new seeds as technologies. We contend that scientific and technological narratives are potent forces for examining how seeds are imagined, investigated, and acted upon. The lens of ""narratives"" - as a prelude to social and political action - opens for investigation the field of struggles through which specific meanings are allocated, precise socioeconomic realities are brought into being, and hierarchies are established. Narratives are also expedient forms of knowledge that simultaneously enable action and enforce silences. The fluid world of narratives is therefore a particularly appropriate lens to examine the science-technology continuum of knowledge and practice. Taking seeds to be an embodiment of nature and of human actions, of knowledge and praxis, and of the imagined and the social, the session will interrogate the boundary work between science and technology and map dominant and subversive voices in agrarian worlds.
Nine presenters, who are at different points in their careers, and two chairs, will participate in two Round Tables as part of this linked double session (unconventional category). Each presenter will speak for ten minutes with reference to a pre-circulated paper, after which the two facilitators will raise key elements for discussion among the presenters and the audience. We plan to maximize conversation at the two sessions to allow for focused feedback to the presenters while also raising themes of broad interest in the field. The separate presentations touch upon multiple geographies, including colonial and post-independence India, the Ottoman Empire, China, Palestine, Portugal and Guinea Bissau, the United States, and Mexico; taken together they cover the period from the sixteenth century to the

Presenter 1

Yuan Yi

Columbia University

Presenter 2

Courtney Fullilove


Presenter 3

Gabriela Soto Laveaga

Harvard University

Presenter 4

Tiago Saraiva

Drexel University

Presenter 5

Sanjukta Ghosh

School of Oriental and African Studies