The Green Thread: Dialogues with the Vegetal World is an interdisciplinary collection of essays in the emerging field of Plant Studies. The volume is the first of its kind to bring together a dynamic body of scholarship that shares a critique of long-standing human perceptions of plants as lacking autonomy, agency, consciousness, and, intelligence.
The leading metaphor of the book – "the green thread", echoing poet Dylan Thomas' phrase "the green fuse" – carries multiple meanings. On a more apparent level, "the green thread" is what weaves together the diverse approaches of this collection: an interest in the vegetal that goes beyond single disciplines and specialist discourses, and one that not only encourages but necessitates interdisciplinary and even interspecies dialogue. On another level, "the green thread" links creative and historical productions to the materiality of the vegetal – a reality reflecting our symbiosis with oxygen-producing beings. In short, The Green Thread refers to the conversations about plants that transcend strict disciplinary boundaries as well as to the possibility of dialogue with plants.
Introduction. Patrícia Vieira, Monica Gagliano and John C. Ryan
Section I. Disseminating Plants
Chapter 1. What’s Planted in the Event? On the Secret Life of a Philosophical Concept, Michael Marder
Chapter 2. Seeing Green: The Re-discovery of Plants and Nature’s Wisdom, Monica Gagliano
Chapter 3. Tolkien’s Sonic Trees and Perfumed Herbs: Plant Intelligence in Middle-earth, John Charles Ryan
Chapter 4. What’s Talking? On the Nostalgic Epistemology of Plant Communication, Stefan Rieger
Chapter 5. “Wild Memory” as an Anthropocene Heuristic: Cultivating Ethical Paradigms for Galleries, Museums, and Seed Banks, Tom Bristow
Section II. Politicizing Plants
Chapter 6. Preserving Plants in an Era of Extinction: Sentimental and Scientific Discourse in Mary Thacher Higginson’s “A Dying Race”, Jennifer Schell
Chapter 7. Laws of the Jungle: The Politics of Contestation in Cinema about the Amazon, Patrícia Vieira
Chapter 8. Monstrous Flora: Dangerous Cinematic Plants of the Cold War Era, Andrew Howe
Chapter 9. Once Upon a Time in Ombrosa: Italo Calvino and the Fabulist Pastoral, Gioia Woods
Chapter 10. Vital Plants and Despicable Weeds in Ray Lawrence’s Lantana, Guinevere Narraway and Hannah Stark
Section III. Performing Plants
Chapter 11. Plant-Thinking with Film: Reed, Branch, Flower, Graig Uhlin
Chapter 12. Shrubs and the City: Urban Nature in Rear Window, Pansy Duncan
Chapter 13. The Art of Human to Plant Interaction, Christa Sommerer, Laurent Mignonneau, and Florian Weil
Chapter 14. The English Garden Effect: Phyto-Performance, Abandoned Practices and Endangered Uses, Alan Read
Patrícia Vieira is an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, comparative literature, and film and media studies at Georgetown University. Monica Gagliano is a research associate professor of evolutionary ecology at the University of Western Australia. John Charles Ryan is a postdoctoral research fellow in communications and arts at Edith Cowan University.
"Over fifty years ago Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring that our "attitude toward plants is a singularly narrow one." This book offers readers in the humanities and sciences a more broadly conceived and sophisticated interdisciplinary conversation about plants. More significantly, the book reinvigorates a human dialogue with plants that has been displaced by modern cultural attitudes toward the vegetal world."
– Mark C. Long, Keene State College