Plants have traditionally been reduced to the role of passive bystander, ornamental backdrop, or mere symbol. While posthumanism and environmental humanities have brought non-human agency into focus in recent years, they emphasize animals, landscapes, and ecosystems writ large. This research network focuses on the conceptualization of plants, their agency, and their cultural/natural impact in order to shape the emerging field of literary and cultural plant studies.

For this purpose, we bring together scholars across disciplines who work with a wide range of approaches from already established fields such as animal studies, environmental humanities, posthumanism, traditional philology, ecocriticism, language philosophy, cultural as well as queer and gender studies. We hope that the network will inspire projects that map the topics, theories, and methods specific to literary/cultural/critical plant studies, in order to outline this burgeoning research field and determine its stakes and possibilities.

We welcome like-minded scholars, especially but not exclusively those working in literary and cultural studies. Click on “Connect” to join our listserv, and contact Joela Jacobs (joelajacobs@arizona.edu) to add your bio and publications to the website, or with any questions. The network is intended to facilitate collaborations and make relevant resources available to everyone, so your contributions make it come to life.

This international network was founded in 2016 at the German Studies Association conference (at the seminar: The Literary Life of Plants: Agency, Languages, and Poetics of the Vegetal) and is headed by Dr. Joela Jacobs (University of Arizona) and Dr. Isabel Kranz (University of Vienna). It has been supported in a variety of ways by graduate assistants Sina Meissgeier and Dani Stuchel.