Please join the New York Botanical Garden for this important conversation that will forefront and examine the role of the LGBTQ+ community in the development of botanical science to present and facilitate a broader understanding of the history of modern botany.
In the mid-to-late 19th century, the rise and significance of evolutionary thought in Charles Darwin’s post-Origin world generally coincided with the emergence of sexological thought in Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s foundational Psychopathia Sexualis (1886). New theories of biological and environmental knowledge collided with novel hypotheses about sex, gender, and sexual behavior, leaving a lasting legacy. Many botanical and library collections, including those held by The New York Botanical Garden, contain rich stories of individual botanists who transgressed the gender and sexual norms of their day. Exploration of their scientific endeavors—in the field, the laboratory, and the herbarium—within their social and historical contexts provides a window into thinking through sexualized discourse about plants and people.
Queering botanical science requires studying how LGBTQ+ histories intersect with their professional research, and how their alternative scientific theories for the biological cause of difference challenged the rise and acceptance of heteronormativity in modern science. The speakers will address these important issues to move beyond the normative narratives—and to enrich older ones.
Luis Campos, Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico
Natania Meeker, Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at University of Southern California