Alan Bewell is Professor and Chair of English at the University of Toronto. His primary field of interest is British Romanticism in three major areas: the relationship between literature, medicine, and science: the history of colonialism; and environmental history. He is the author of Wordsworth and the Enlightenment (1989) and Romanticism and Colonial Natural History (1999), and edited Medicine and the West Indian Slave Trade (1999). He is currently completing a book entitled Natures in Translation: Romanticism and Colonial Natural History and has started on another entitled Romantic Mobility.
James Cahill is Assistant Professor cross-appointed with the Departments of French and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the intersections between science, cinema, and film pedagogy, with particular interest in interwar French cinema. He is presently revising his dissertation as a monograph on documentary surrealism and the cinematic wildlife of biological filmmaker and para-surrealist Jean Painlevé. Among his forthcoming articles are “Hors d’oeuvre/science, the short film, and the Perception of Life” in Framework 52 (Summer 2011) and “Forgetting Lessons: Jean Painlevé’s Cinematic Gay Science,” which will appear in translation in Japanese in ECCE 3 (2011) and in English in the Journal of Visual Culture 12 (2012). He is currently working on a project tentatively titled “The Film Language of Flowers” on theorizations of life and animation in botany, early film and moving image media, and aesthetic theory.
Heather Cruickshank is a graduate student at York University. Her thesis research focuses on small-scale vermicomposting projects and the ways that human participants negotiate their relations with worms and other decomposer organisms, decomposing food waste, and emerging vermicompost. In addition to this thesis research, she is also participating in Professor Natasha Myers’ Plant Collaboratories project. In this work, she maintains a focus on multispecies food relations, exploring how scientists, growers, and artists encounter and represent insectivorous plants – as plants that eat.
Harriet Friedmann is Professor of Geography and Planning and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She has served as Chair of the Political Economy of World Systems Section at the American Sociological Association. As a recognized expert on food regimes, she has served on the United Nations-led Expert panel on issues of farming, ecosystem, and food security. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on the international politics of food regimes. Her work has devoted important attention to linkages between gender, economy, ecology, food, culture, science and technology in global politics. She has devoted attention to plants in the context of farming methods and the cultural politics of food production. Her publications include the book entitled, Food Regimes: International Political Economy of Food and articles on “Seeds of the City,” and “Feeding the Empire: The Pathologies of Globalized Agriculture.” She has given talks on “Gardens of Gaia: Possibility for sustainable foodgetting,” “Flesh and seeds: regrounding human food,” and “Beyond vegetable consciousness: reviewing the human species.” Her current SSHRC funded project is entitled Legitimacy in International Governance: sovereignty, science, and the public negotiation of food standards.
Carla Hustak is a recent PhD graduate in History at the University of Toronto. She recently defended her dissertation, Radical Intimacies: Affective Potential and the Politics of Love in the Transatlantic Sex Reform Movement, 1900-1930. She has worked on the history of plants in the context of relations between sex reform, affect, eugenics, ecology, and agricultural breeding experiments in early twentieth century Britain, the United States, and Canada. She has presented her work on plants at the Canadian Historical Association Congress in May 2010. More recently, this work on plants has yielded insights into the linkages between ecology, ontology, affect, and technology. These insights were presented at the February 2011 meeting in a talk entitled, “Eco/ontologies: Machinic Intimacies in the Making of Bodies and Worlds.”
Deidre Lynch is Jackman Chancellor Jackman Professor, Associate Professor in the English Department, and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning and the editor or co-editor of a number of collections, including Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees. She is currently working on two projects: finishing a book entitled At Home in English: A Cultural History of the Love of Literature and preparing an annotated edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. She has written on gender, social relations, romanticism, and the language of flowers in Austen’s work in her recent article, “Young ladies are delicate plants’: Jane Austen and Greenhouse Romanticism.”
Natasha Myers is Assistant Professor at York University in the Departments of Anthropology and Science & Technology Studies. She conducts research on the lively visual and performance cultures of life science researchers. She works with interdisciplinary scientists who model, animate, and simulate biological molecules. She has published several articles including “Pedagogy and Performativity: Rendering Lives in Science in the Documentary Naturally Obsessed,” and “Animating Mechanisms: Animations and the Propagation of Affect in the Lively Cuts of Protein Modeling.” She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled, Molecular Embodiments: Modeling Proteins and Making Scientists in Contemporary Biosciences. Her recent project entitled, “The Laboratory Lives of Plants and People: Artists, Scientists, and Botanical Experiments,” involves forging interdisciplinary connections between artists, scientists, and scholars conducting inquiry into plant sensoria, movements, and temporalities.
Shiho Satsuka is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research situates Japan in the global contest of the nexus of the global circulation of cultural practices of capitalism, the production of knowledge, discourses of nature and science, transnational subjectivity and cosmopolitan constructions of desires. She is completing a book on Japanese nature tourism in the Canadian Rockies which analyzes the practices of cultural translation and embodied cosmopolitan desires among tour guides. Satsuka’s current work on the wild and highly valued mushroom, matsutake, is the focus of her second research project entitled Mediating Nature: Japanese Scientists in the Global Matsutake Commodity Chain. This project situates relations between scientists and matsutake in the nexus of global capitalism and knowledge production. Satsuka has presented and published her work on the matsutake in a number of venues. Among her recent co-authored publications are: “A New Form of Collaboration in Cultural Anthropology: Matsutake Worlds” in American Ethnologist and “Diverging Understandings of Forest Management in Matsutake Science,” in Economic Botany.
Andrew Schuldt is a graduate student in Anthropology at York University. His current research project approaches questions of “the grid” through an exploration of material-discursive practices involved in the re-production of Ontario’s power (plant) infrastructure. A member of Professor Natasha Myers’ Plant Collaboratories project, he is engaged in tracking the entangled emergence of fruit breeding programs, IP regimes and sensorial experience(s) as proffered by new cultivars.
Ann Shteir is Professor of Humanities and Women’s Studies at York University. Shteir has worked on women’s literary and botanical culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She has published an influential book on the history of women and botany entitled, Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Flora’s Daughters and Botany in England which won the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History. She co-edited Natural Eloquence: Women Reinscribe Science and Figuring It Out: Science, Gender, and Visual Culture. She is pursuing themes of gender, mythology, art, botany, and literature in a current book on Flora, goddess of flowers and the cultural history of botany. Her work has also turned toward exploring botany in C19 women’s magazines and representations of Mimosa pudica in C18-C19 literature and science.
Alison Syme is Associate Professor in the Departments of Art and Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and American art and visual culture, with particular attention to queer theory, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, and the history of science. Her work has examined fin-de-siècle queer flora. She recently published, A Touch of Blossom: John Singer Sargent and the Queer Flora of Fin-de-Siècle Art. She has given numerous talks on flora, modernism, and queer aesthetics, including “Kupka’s Floral Romances” at The Lives of Form: Abstract Art and Nature conference at Jacobs University and the “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ladybird” at the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario.