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Touching Plants. Affective encounters in the Botanical Garden Berlin

planting seedlings

planting seedlings

Head of Project

Staff Members

Former Staff Members

  • Albert-Dieter Stevens
  • Sibylle Hoiman
  • Kristiane Fehrs
  • Sophie Mik

In the context of accelerating climate change, species extinction, and rising fears about the outcomes, this project examines affective dynamics between humans and plants in the Botanical Garden and the Botanical Museum (BGBM) in Berlin. Based on ethnographic research, the project explores the distinctions between human and plant, which are institutionalised in the Botanical Garden and the Botanical Museum (BGBM) since its founding, and it examines the potentials of everyday affective encounters between the species to confirm or confound this institutional distinction.

More specifically, the project analyses the ways in which the senses shape the affective encounters of visitors, gardeners and botanists with plants. Three aims are: 1) to explore connections between sensory engagements with plants and the specific affective and emotional qualities of human-plant encounters; 2) to capture changing affective dynamics of manifold human-plant encounters in the institutional history of the BGBM; and 3) to reflect on theoretical as well as political consequences of recognizing plants as sentient nonhuman beings for social life more broadly.


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