Doctoral Candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Contributing Editor, Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
Tayeba Batool is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation project focuses on urban ecology, spatial politics, and more-than-human anthropology of urban forests in Pakistan. She is also broadly interested in postcolonial cities, environmental justice, and multimodal ethnography.
Contributions to Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
View all of Tayeba's posts on Platypus, The CASTAC Blog.
Grafting with Care: Encountering Human-Plant Relations Through Experiments with Roses
When seen through the experiences and histories of experimentation and care, plants such as roses can bring new insights into the affective and material entanglements of more-than-human relations. My ethnographic encounter with Mr. Changa, a prominent figure in the world of horticulture and plant nurseries in Pakistan, gives us a glimpse on “seeing and being-with” (Haraway 1998) non-human others, such as roses, to foreground the making of social worlds through affect. These encounters show that even though colonial inscriptions on social understandings of nature were marked in influences over tastes and attitudes (Mintz 1985), an attention to nuanced affects, articulations, and values can disrupt the process of creating “authentic” relations with plants and singular legacies of expertise. Writing against the dominance of an object-oriented ontology in mainstream science and technology narratives, this post follows scholarship that emphasizes an “anthropology beyond the human” (Kohn 2013) to center the connections between plants (read more...)
Climatic Futures and Tree Response-ability: Can Urban Forests Restore Human-Tree Relations?
How do we account for the agency of trees in our anthropocentric worlds? By what methods, representations, and relations of care can these sentient beings claim existence as more than data entry points and statistical figures? In this post, I turn our attention to the problem of the taken-for-granted responsibility of trees as a panacea for climate change and propose instead a practice of “thinking-with” and “becoming-with” trees (Haraway 2016). I focus on the ecological and ethical complexity of transposing tree ecologies as it overlooks questions of justice and climatic futures through the Miyawaki urban forests in Pakistani cities. Attention to “braided knowledge” (Kimmerer 2013) manifests not just in how trees are cared for in gardens and arboretums, but also in how urban forests are planned to make a city more inclusive, aesthetically pleasing, and healthier. Inspired by Haraway’s (2016, 34) insistence to take “response-ability” as “collective knowing and doing, (read more...)