Neoliberalism and the Science of Plant Cooperation

Event time: 
Thursday, April 4, 2024 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Location: 
Humanities Quadrangle (HQ), L02 See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

TANNER LECTURES ON HUMAN VALUES

Ecology and Equity: Environmental Justice Revisited (Part 2)
At a time of surging interest in environmental justice and the environmental humanities, Rob Nixon’s 2024 Tanner Lectures on Human Values explore the crossroads where those two fields engage with research findings from the ecological and behavioral sciences.

Neoliberalism and the Science of Plant Cooperation
Multiple contemporary bestsellers, from Robin Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass to Richard Powers’s The Overstory, celebrate the wonders of the Wood Wide Web, a term coined by forest ecologist Suzanne Simard in 1997. Simard’s research reveals how vast, hidden mycorrhizal networks connect trees, allowing them to redistribute resources vital for individual and collective flourishing. How can we explain the sudden, popular fascination with this hitherto arcane corner of ecological science? Could it be that neoliberalism’s dog-eat-dog ideology and surging inequality have left readers eager for alternative, more cooperative models of governance and being? Could it be that the widening chasm between the mega-rich and the socially abandoned has created an audience responsive to the Wood Wide Web as an allegory of survival-through-collaboration?

Rob Nixon, Princeton University

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