Investigating the Life History of Ethnobotanical Specimens: Creating Community Connections through Collections Research

Thursday, November 7, 2019

5:30pm - 6:30pm

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Manning Hall

Early 20th century anthropologists collected botanical specimens from Indigenous communities in the Americas to build museum comparative collections and collect traditional knowledge, which they viewed as vanishing. In this talk, Lisa Young shares her research on two 1930s collecting expeditions undertaken by Volney Jones, an ethnobotanist at the University of Michigan. Investigations into the life history of the plants and other objects he collected are helping create fruitful discussions about innovative and potentially regenerative collaborative partnerships between the University of Michigan museums and communities of origin.

Lisa Young (University of Michigan and University of Arizona) is an anthropological archaeologist with interests in the development of and variation in small-scale farming communities in the American Southwest. Public outreach, community engagement, and experiential learning opportunities for students are integral to her work in the Homol’ovi area of northeastern Arizona. She also helps co-organizes projects that reconnect present-day Native American farmers with heirloom seeds curated in museums through collections-based research and digital technology. These projects engage community members from a variety of Indigenous communities, including the Hopi in Arizona and Anishinaabe people in the Great Lakes region.

Supported by generous donors to the Shepard Krech III Lecture Fund.