Joela Jacobs, Asst Prof of German Studies, UA, and founder of the Literary and Cultural Plant Studies Network
Monday, November 7, 2022,
ASA Koffler Great Room
The discovery of the many ways in which plants can reproduce caused a series of moral scandals in the eighteenth century and again at the turn to the twentieth. There was concern that people would get ideas about their own sexuality from plants, so botany became a scandalous pursuit for women and was censored from school curricula. These worries about vegetal eroticism were satirized in humorous literary texts that mock the seductive danger of plants. Joela Jacobs invites us to follow her on a little trip through the scandalous world of plants between science and fiction!
Her talk takes place in the context of the exhibit Eden? Plants between Science and Fiction, now on display at the UA Tree-Ring Research Laboratory.
Professor Jacobs founded the Literary and Cultural Plant Studies Network at UA in 2016 jointly with her colleague at the University of Vienna, Austria, Dr. Isabel Kranz, during a seminar of the international German Studies Association. Its focus is “the conceptualization of plants, their agency, and their cultural/natural impact” as the basis of a new interdisciplinary field of literary and cultural plant studies. More generally, Dr. Jacobs’ research focuses on the intersections of 19th-21st century German literature and film with animal and plant studies, environmental humanities, Jewish studies, and the histories of sexuality and science. She is currently completing a book about more-than-human characters in grotesque fiction, from the 19th-century psychiatrist and avant-garde writer Oskar Panizza to Franz Kafka.
Compiled and edited by Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteer