Fall 2020 Virtual Seminar Series
Growing Methods: Exploring how to work with plants as research participants in critical qualitative research
Speaker: Dr. Sarah Elton
Date: Friday, September 25, 2020 from 12-1:30 PM
There will be a 1-hour presentation and moderated discussion, followed by a 30-minute informal chat with the presenter.
Register here: Eventbrite
Abstract: Posthumanist research shifts the research lens from the Euro-Western human’s self-appointed status as the earth’s supreme to invite nonhumans – animals and plants – to be the focus of qualitative study. However, it is not straightforward to trouble methodological perspectives that see non-humans as simply backdrop in order to make way for nonhumans like plants and animals in knowledge production.
In this presentation I put forward a qualitative research methodology that helps to see plants as social actors, supporting health in the city. Reporting on my doctoral work I share a multispecies ethnography of gardeners and the plants they grow for food in Toronto’s Regent Park. As a critical qualitative health researcher I wrestle with questions that include – How to account for plants and their agency? What is evidence of vegetal politics? What is a multispecies ethnographer doing when decentering the human in relation to garden plants, beyond what is un-done ontologically?