A Political Ecology of Za’atar

June 15, 2016

Brian Boyd

The 2016 issue of Environment and Society focuses on “Plants and Peoples.” In some of the humanities and social sciences, human-plant studies, like those of human-animal relations, are perhaps in danger of being subsumed by the broader rubric of a multispecies approach to ecological assemblages. Perhaps this will be a fruitful path to take, but it may also betray a lack of intellectual commitment to what are after all quite recent engagements with, and foregrounding of, human-nonhuman relations and political conditions. Maybe we shouldn’t let the Questions of the Animal and the Plant escape our attention quite yet, before we have satisfactorily traced their complex meanderings through our sociopolitical ecologies. There are still radical stories to tell before they escape, or are rendered into the all-encompassing Gaia of a multispecies approach. As a contribution to this storytelling, here is some “plant-thinking” in the context of recent ecological developments in Palestine/Israel.

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