Industrial agriculture and the crisis of extinction
Saturday 25 September 2021, 11.00am to 11.50am BST
Today many people worry that we're losing genetic diversity in the foods we eat. Over the past century, crop varieties standardised for industrial agriculture have increasingly dominated farm fields. Concerned about what this means for the future of food, scientists, farmers, and eaters have sought for decades to protect crops they consider endangered. In this lecture, historian Dr Helen Anne Curry explores the stories and strategies adopted by scientists, states, and citizens as they have sought to forestall this extinction crisis.
Following her lecture, Dr Helen Anne Curry will take questions from the audience, which will be facilitated by Dr Andrew Buskell, Leverhulme Early Career Researcher at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.
Dr Helen Anne Curry (Fellow of Churchill)
Dr Helen Anne Curry is Peter Lipton Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Churchill College. Her current research centres on the histories of seeds, crop science, and industrial agriculture. She is author of Evolution Made to Order: Plant Breeding and Technological Innovation in Twentieth Century America (2016) and Endangered Maize: Industrial Agriculture and the Crisis of Extinction (forthcoming 2022). From 2020–2025, she leads 'From Collection to Cultivation: Historical Perspectives on Crop Diversity and Food Security', funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Andrew Buskell (Clare 2012)
Andrew is a Leverhulme Early Career Researcher and a College Research Associate at St John's College. Having completed his PhD in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in 2016, he rejoined the department in 2017 after a postdoctoral position at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His doctoral work, on cultural evolution, won Clare Hall's Salje Medal for best dissertation in the Arts and Social Sciences. His current research analyses issues where human cognition, culture, politics, and biology intersect—with recent work examining the metaphysical and epistemic assumptions underwriting cross-cultural comparison
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