Places and Their Objects: Plantations and the Problem of Vegetables in Samoa

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 12:00


Douglass Building Room 102
1100 E. University Blvd.
United States

Master Seminar with Jessica Hardin.

The master seminar over lunch is intended to be a space for providing input on a work in progress. The author will circulate a chapter or other work in progress a week prior to the event. Faculty and graduate students are welcome to participate but must RSVP

This paper examines the relationship between plantations (small family gardens) and vegetables (mostly introduced) in Samoa. I describe how Samoans remember, imagine and inhabit these spaces, and then show how vegetables are materials grown in plantations but not of plantations. In other words, vegetables are a problem because they are increasingly required in to order to achieve “health” while also out of place. Vegetables value come not only from connection (as is typical of local food movements), but lack of connection to the plantation. This article questions how vegetables have become a sign of health and brings attention to the ways that this sign can be detrimental to health, thus questioning the naturalness of the category of vegetables. This paper is thus about the relationship between place (the plantation) and their objects (vegetables) and how those relations comes together. While plantations sustain families, spirits, and churches, vegetables promise an individually healthy future—one that seems just out of reach to most Samoans. Vegetables become the vehicle through which health is experienced as never achievable. Affect brings the experience of striving towards the unachievable into view.

Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP by March 19, 2019. 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences