Between Us and Nature – A Reading Club #4: “Plants and empire : colonial bioprospecting in the Atlantic World” by Londa Schiebinger

In 2004 Londa Schiebinger published ‚Plants and empire : colonial bioprospecting in the Atlantic World’. This year, on the 12th of October, the 525th anniversary of the „Discovery of America“ by Christopher Columbus is still commerated by countries such as the US, Colombia, Spain and Italy.

Reading together ‚Plants and empire’ we want to question this legacy of explorers, whose arrival in the Americas lead to colonalization and slavery.

Schiebinger is an interdisciplinary historian researching on gender and ethnicity. She says about her work:

„This book presents the story not of a great man or a great woman, but of a great plant. Historians, post-colonialists, even historians of science rarely recognize the importance of plants to the processes that form and reform human societies and politics on a global scale. Plants seldom figure in the grand narratives of war, peace, or even everyday life in proportion to their importance to humans. Yet they are significant natural and cultural artifacts, often at the center of high intrigue.“

The dedication of Schiebinger’s book goes

„To the memory of the men and women whose knowledge of fertility control has been lost in the mists of time

and to the ravages of history“

Please rsvp via email to and we will send a selection from the book to those who would like to attend the small and informal reading gathering.

We will read some passages together and discuss exotic abortifecants such as the Peacock Flower and concepts of ‚linguistic imperialism’, and ‚agnotology’ and what it means to us.

Come and join us with an open mind here:
Where: Manteuffelstr. 73, 10999 Berlin at Zabriskie book shop
When: Wednesday 25th of October, 19.30
Who: small group of lovely people who would like to meet you
Why: to read, be inspired and meet people

Contact: Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky ( and Sina Ribak (