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Care of the Species: Races of Corn and the Science of Plant Biodiversity.


Care of the Species: Races of Corn and the Science of Plant Biodiversity

John Hartigan, Jr.

University of Minnesota Press


346 pages



The delineation Charles Darwin made between artificial and natural selection helps highlight aspects of an expanding circle of care which is encompassing an ever-growing number of species through efforts targeting biodiversity, revising various lines between humans and nonhumans. Hartigan examines that dynamic via a series of ethnographic settings in Mexico and Spain--scientific sites where biodiversity is a shared subject of interest and concern but that offers divergent perspectives on the constitution of species. In Mexico, the focus is on centers of maize research where genetic techniques are both revealing and manipulating the interiority of species. In Spain, the sites are a series of botanical gardens where similar forms of genetics-based plant science are transforming questions about where species belong. The book examines the infrastructures--labs and gardens--in which selection is applied to a much wider gamut of species than those encompassed by domestication, asking along the way how ethnography might offer a view into evolutionary dynamics. ([umlaut] Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)

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Title Annotation:John Hartigan, Jr.
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2017
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