Bo Yang:Cordyceps Sinensis and Botanical Studies in Anthropology

2023.01.14 Saturday 19:00



Speaker:Bo Yang

Time:2023.1.14 19:00-20:30

Tencent Meeting:144-825-039

In conjunction with the exhibition Multispecies Clouds at Mecalline Art Center, the special public program Meshwork is honored to invite Bo Yang, PhD candidate in anthropology from the Human Ecology Research Group at University College London, to present a theoretical discussion on ontology, multispecies ethnography and botanical study in anthropology in the context of his fieldwork on Cordyceps Sinensis in Kham area of Tibet.

There are about 400,000 plant species on Earth, and they are ubiquitous in every ecosystem and social system, where they are growing and are also changing those systems. On the one hand, based on their diverse biological traits, plants powerfully shape human behavior, livelihoods, perceptions, and even cultural patterns. On the other hand, human society's anthropogenic disturbance and influence on plants also allows them to continuously reconfigure the ecological system.

In today's Kham area, Cordyceps Sinensis has more than a dozen social roles, and it can be ontologically analyzed into seven dimensions, each with realistic interactions between socio-economic, cosmological, and moral dimensions. By taking the case of community reconfiguration between urbans, towns and pastorals in Tibet, we are able to reconceptualize the relationship between Tibetan society and the plant: Cordyceps Sinensis is not just a passive object constructed by the state socio-economic market, but actively generates new communities and social facts in its interaction with human.

About the Speaker:BO Yang

Bo Yang is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at University College London (UCL), UK. He received his MRes in Social Anthropology, MA in Social Anthropology, and BA in Law (Sociology) from University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of Manchester, and Inner Mongolia University, respectively.

His research areas include ethnobotany, multispecies ethnography, anthropocene, environmental/sustainable anthropology, development anthropology, and Tibetan development. Bo Yang has delivered his research reports at several international conferences in Japan, Mexico, Czech Republic, and the UK at Cambridge University, Oxford University, and University College London. He is currently conducting research on the relationship between plants and Tibetan society in Kham, which has been awarded by Chongqing University Scholarship on Interdisciplinary Field Studies along the Belt and Road Region and the 10th China Anthropology Graduate Thesis Fieldwork Fellowship of Southern University of Science and Technology. Since 2014, Bo Yang has been engaged in public service teaching, and has participated in and organized teaching projects in more than ten provinces and cities in China.

About the Project Curator: Yang Beichen

Dr. Yang Beichen is a researcher and a curator based in Beijing, China. He is the director of the Macalline Art Center (Beijing), and one of the members of the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada (Milan, Venice).

Macalline Art Center is a practice-oriented site focused on contemporary visual inventions. The Center engages with artists and art groups by building physical and online communities through events and research. The Center is guided by the working processes of artists, constantly re-defining and testing itself and renewing perceptual and cognitive systems in contemporary situations and contexts.