Deleuze and the Non/Human

pp 180-196

Deleuze and Critical Plant Studies

  • Hannah Stark


While much philosophical work on the nonhuman has focused on animals, objects, forces, as well as the monstrous and the divine, it is only recently that scholarly attention in the Humanities has been directed toward plants. The last few years has seen the eruption of a vigorous and intensifying debate about the place of plants in human systems of meaning, including their cultural life, their discursive framing in academic and popular understandings, and their philosophical meaning. Adopting many of the same agendas as critical animal studies, critical plant studies challenges the privileged place of the human in relation to plant life and examines this through a series of lenses: ethical, political, historical, cultural, textual and philosophical. The implications of critical plant studies are significant: it has an impact on the understanding of plant life and of human/plant relations in a diverse set of arenas including plant science, agriculture, food practices and politics, forestry, gardening, and environmental ethics. Much of the current critical attention directed at plants coalesces on Michael Marder’s Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (2013), which is emerging as the seminal text in critical plant studies.1 This book is a provocation to account philosophically for plant ontology and to cultivate a new respect for plant life.