Winter 2022 issue of L'esprit créateur on "Libertine Botany"
Plant sexual life becomes the subject of intense discussions in early modern botany. How does France, with its legacy of materialist libertine thought, become a hub for botanically-informed critique of sexual norms and practices? How is early modern botany enmeshed with desire? As part of a discussion of these questions, we invite proposals for papers to be included in the winter 2022 issue of L'esprit créateur, entitled “Libertine Botany” (edited by Natania Meeker and Antónia Szabari).
"Libertine Botany" will chart premodern explorations of the nonbinary sexuality of plants and investigate their effects on the gendering of the human polis. In conversation with contemporary discussions of sexuality, this special issue will study how-- through a body of work anticipating queer politics, art, and ecology-- the alien pleasures of plants give new contours to human experience.
We solicit essays that not only trace a historical arc of early modern botany and botanical fictions from the late Renaissance through the eighteenth century but also build connections to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We see this issue as engaging with three areas of investigation: 1) histories of vegetal sexuality, including theories and representations of plants in their relationship to sexual identity and subjectivity 2) perceptions of interspecies encounters, including the intimacy of the plant-human relation and 3) feminist and queer articulations of intimacy and pleasures, as these articulations emerge in early modernity and linger in ecocritical discussions of today. “Libertine Botany” will thus contribute both to an urgent contemporary discussion centered on the relationship between humans and plants and to a long-running debate around the influence of early modern natural philosophy on modernity.