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Cultural Botany: Toward a Model of Transdisciplinary, Embodied, and Poetic Research Into Plants
ECU Publications 2011
  • John C. Ryan, Edith Cowan University
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Berghahn Books
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article published in Nature and Culture. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Ryan, J. C. (2011). Cultural Botany: Toward a model of transdisciplinary, embodied, and poetic research into plants. Nature and Culture, 6(2), 123-148 is available online at here


Since the eighteenth century, the study of plants has reflected an increasingly mechanized and technological view of the natural world that divides the humanities and the natual sciences. In broad terms, this article proposes a context for research into flora through an interrogation of existing literature addressing a rapprochement between ways to knowledge. The natureculture dichotomy, and more specifically the plant-to-human sensory disjunction, follows a parallel course of resolution to the schism between objective (technical, scientific, reductionistic, visual) and subjective (emotive, artistic, relational, multi-sensory) forms of knowledge. The foundations of taxonomic botany, as well as the allied fields of environmental studies, ethnobotany and economic botany, are undergirded by universalizing, sensorylimited visual structuring of the natural world. As the study of everyday embodied interactions of humans with flora, expanding upon the lens of cultural ecology, "cultural botany" provides a transdisciplinary research approach. Alternate embodied cultural engagements with flora emerge through a syncretic fusion of diverse methodologies.

Citation Information
John C. Ryan. "Cultural Botany: Toward a Model of Transdisciplinary, Embodied, and Poetic Research Into Plants" (2011)
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