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A group of participants standing at a U-shaped set of tables, examining a variety of rare books

2024 Plant Humanities Summer Program

June 29–July 27, 2024 (in person), July 29-August 9 (virtual) | Program for advanced undergraduates and graduate students with an interest in plants from the perspectives of botany, botanical exploration, the history of science and medicine, environmental studies, art history, literature, and the history of the book and botanical illustration.

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Faculty: Yota Batsaki, Peter CraneAnatole Tchikine, William (Ned) Friedman, Roger Gaskell

This year’s Plant Humanities summer program is an exciting collaboration of the Dumbarton Oaks Plant Humanities Initiative with Oak Spring Garden Foundation. The summer program will be hybrid, with a month of on-site instruction at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, and a site visit to Oak Spring (Virginia), followed by two weeks of virtual engagement.

Building on Dumbarton Oaks’ track record in fostering the emerging field of plant humanities, the course will introduce students to key concepts and methodologies from botany, evolutionary biology, history, art history, the history of science, literature, indigenous studies, and environmental studies. In addition, participants will receive structured training in digital skills and the use of special collections. By the end of the course, participants will have integrated and applied these diverse approaches by working in teams to create interactive plant narratives for the Plant Humanities Lab, an innovative digital space that Dumbarton Oaks co-developed with JSTOR Labs. The Lab is designed as an open access resource for faculty and students in plants and people courses, as well as an engaging public humanities outlet for anyone interested in how plants have shaped human cultures.

The lectures and seminars will explore aspects of plant humanities from the early modern period through to the present, drawing on the extraordinary special collections of Dumbarton Oaks and Oak Spring. The digital training will include workshops on tools for textual, visual, spatial, and network analyses such as text mining through Voyant, image comparison and annotation utilizing IIIF manifests, mapping overlays and plugins through Geojson and Leaflet, and network visualizations using D3. The software has been designed to be intuitive and no prior knowledge of coding is required.

For their final projects, students will work in teams, supported by the instructors, to develop interactive essays for the Plant Humanities Lab. Students will draw on digitized rare and unique materials from the Dumbarton Oaks collection, BHL, iDigBio, Oak Spring, JSTOR Global Plants, and other digital databases to craft engaging narratives and visualizations about the fundamental influence of plants on human cultures. To create their essays, participants will use Juncture, a new, open access, visual essay tool developed by JSTOR Labs specifically for this project.

Participants will also receive training in the digital humanities and participate in seminar instruction in the interdisciplinary field of plant humanities, and will have the opportunity to conduct research and publish their work, subject to peer review, on the Plant Humanities Lab. They will also join a vibrant community of scholars focused on plant-human relationships and build lasting contacts.


Successful applicants will receive on-campus housing and lunch on weekdays (except for scheduled closures). Participants will also receive a Library Reader’s Badge and access to the Garden for the duration of the program.  Dumbarton Oaks has partnered with a travel agency to arrange and pre-pay for participants’ round-trip air or rail travel, in accordance with the Dumbarton Oaks Travel Policy. International candidates are eligible to apply; however, J-visa sponsorship is not available. A stipend is not offered for this program. 


Participants should plan to arrive to Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC during the weekend of June 29-30, 2024. In-person instruction will take place during the period of July 1–July 26, with a site visit to Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia. Participants may depart from Washington, DC on July 27. The following two weeks (July 29–August 9) will be virtual, with further digital training and work on the team projects. The program will conclude with the submission and virtual presentation of the group projects on August 8-9. All work produced by the participants that is published following a successful peer review process will be credited.

Admission Requirements

Priority will be given to advanced undergraduate and graduate students with special interests (demonstrated through coursework or research projects) in the fields of history of science, environmental studies, digital humanities, art history, and/or botany. However, we also welcome applications from candidates who may not already possess skills in digital humanities or the use of special collections but seek to develop these skills.


Prospective candidates are invited to apply (statement of interest, résumé, and the name of one referee) through the Embark system. All application materials must be received by February 15, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EasternSelection criteria include (but are not limited to) a demonstrated need for the program and the candidates’ present and future research objectives.

For further information, please contact

Past Participants

  • Nidhish Birhade, Ashoka University
  • ethan s. evansUniversity of Virginia
  • Elaina FoleyAlexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Sabrina Freidus, Harvard University
  • Anna HogarthAmherst College
  • Siya KakumanuThe College of New Jersey
  • Maria Morales Guzman
  • Jordan Norviel
  • Clio Rom
  • Matthew TuretskyCarnegie Mellon University
  • Ana Carmona-Ribeiro, University of Sao Paulo
  • Carol Chang, Montana State University
  • Nathan Cornish, University of Oxford
  • Heather Craddock, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, University of Roehampton
  • Alejandro Garay-Celeita, University of Southern California
  • Bethany Kidd, University College London
  • Phoebe Pohl, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Sierra Roark, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Sheila Scoville, Florida State University
  • Elizabeth Chant, University College London/Institute of Historical Research, University of London
  • Ashley Thuthao Keng Dam, Universita degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche
  • Katherine Enright, Harvard University
  • Allison Fulton, University of California, Davis
  • Diana Heredia-López, University of Texas at Austin
  • Christina Hourigan, Royal Holloway, University of London/Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Maria Job, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Emily E. M. Kamm, Northwestern University
  • Sarah W. Mallory, Harvard University
  • Rachael Nelson, Boston University
  • Haley Price, University of Texas at Austin
  • Amara Santiesteban Serrano, International University Menéndez Pelayo – Spanish National Research Council
  • Jeannette Schollaert, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Erin Wrightson, University of Pennsylvania
  • Thomas C. AndersonColumbia University
  • Christina EmeryUniversity of Cincinnati
  • Rachel Hirsch, Harvard University
  • Yao Jiang, University of Virginia
  • Cati Kalinoski, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
  • Anna Lawrence, University of Cambridge
  • Verónica Matallana ChavesUniversidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Lucas Mertehikian, Harvard University
  • Daisy Reid, University of Southern California
  • Melinda SusantoLeiden University
  • Camilo Uribe BottaUniversity of Warwick
  • May Wang, Harvard University
  • José Chavez-Verduzco, Yale University
  • Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen, Utrecht University
  • Maia Dixon, University of Bristol
  • Héctor Hernandez, Yale University
  • Melissa Hodde, Houghton College
  • Tyler Lutz, Yale University
  • Dominique Madill, University of Guelph
  • Nirupa Rao, University of Warwick
  • Brandon Scott, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Kristin Zodrow, University of California, Berkeley