GES Home
Support the GES Center
Support the GES Center


Loading Events

« All Events

Virtual Event
  • This event has passed.

Helen Anne Curry – Local seeds, global needs, and the history of agrobiodiversity conservation | GES Colloquium

February 27 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Virtual Event

Colloquium Home | Zoom Registration | GES Video Library (current) | Video Archives | Podcast | @GESCenterNCSU | Newsletter

Local seeds and global needs: Ethnobotany, agroecology, and the history of in situ conservation of agrobiodiversity In-Person + Zoom

Helen Anne Curry, PhD, Melvin Kranzberg Professor in the History of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology
Website | @TechHSOC

This talk will explore how insights from Indigenous agricultural practices, both past and present, can inform global efforts to conserve diverse crop varieties and bridge the gap between local practices and broader sustainability goals.

Download seminar poster


For decades, diverse disciplines like ethnobotany, agroecology, and agricultural anthropology have strived to understand the agricultural practices of Indigenous peoples. Since the 1980s, this research has frequently been intertwined with conservation efforts. For example, it has promoted local farming methods and tools as ways to maintain biodiverse forests and prevent soil erosion.

In this presentation, Dr. Curry digs into the future influence of research on Indigenous agriculture on the preservation of global crop diversity. She examines how social scientists have constructed new narratives about the past and present of Indigenous cultivation. These narratives then inform arguments about the most desirable agricultural futures, both within and beyond Indigenous communities.

Typically, these accounts of past and future agriculture have focused on specific crop varieties: locally adapted plants believed to be traditionally cultivated but now endangered by agricultural intensification. Consequently, the research of ethnobotanists and agroecologists has fueled new interest in and approaches to protecting these varieties, ultimately forging a lasting connection between local cultivation practices and global conservation concerns.

Related links:

Speaker Bio

Dr. Helen Anne Curry is Melvin Kranzberg Professor in the History of Technology at the School of History and Sociology, Georgia Institute of Technology. She is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, where she leads the multi-researcher project, “From Collection to Cultivation: Historical Perspectives on Crop Diversity and Food Security,” with funding from the Wellcome Trust. Her current research centers on the histories of seeds, crop science, and industrial agriculture. She is the author of Evolution Made to Order: Plant Breeding and Technological Innovation in Twentieth Century America (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Endangered Maize: Industrial Agriculture and the Crisis of Extinction (University of California Press, 2022).

GES Colloquium is jointly taught by Drs. Jen Baltzegar and Dawn Rodriguez-Ward, who you may contact with any class-specific questions. Colloquium will be held in person in the 1911 Building, room 129, and live-streamed via Zoom.

Please subscribe to the GES newsletter and LinkedIn for updates.


February 27
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Categories:
Event Tags:
, ,
Register on Zoom


1911 Building, Room 129 (North Campus)
10 Current Dr.
Raleigh, NC United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website


GES Center
View Organizer Website