Plants for a Cold Cosmos

Authors: Franklin Ginn*,
Topics: Cultural Geography
Keywords: Plants, Vegetal Geography, Coloniality, Outer space
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper begins by assuming that the exploration and potential ‘colonisation’ of outer space has been and will be a multispecies practice. Evidence for the assumption is provided through: a potted history of the role of plants in national space programmes; examining the role of plants in current closed biosphere analogues in Martian exploration programmes; the role of plants in major science fiction narratives. On Earth, exploration and colonisation were multispecies projects, and so ongoing colonial violence and decolonial struggles are also multispecies projects. But our established understandings of coloniality cannot in any easy way extend into the cosmos, for it is infinite and (probably) lifeless. Accordingly, the paper argues that as plants move with ‘us’ beyond Earth, they are not the objects of technoscientific power, but are using ‘us’ to extend their infinite generosity and gift-giving life into a cold cosmos.

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