Speaker: Olivia Angé (Université libre de Bruxelles)
Dates: 19th October 2022
Venue: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - BE
Link: Anthropology Department Seminar

Human-Tuber Relatedness in the Peruvian Highlands. Affective Attunement and the Making of Reversible Genealogies


Highland people in the Cuzco region of Peru eat so much potato that they are aware of their body as being made of this tuber. Not an ingredient to be passively absorbed, potatoes are related to humans in a reversible genealogy whereby they are both mother and child to their grower. Observing how this relation is enacted in practices highlights mutual nurturing as a key interaction that creates kinship. Nurturing entails the circulation of kusisqa, a Quechua notion of joy which complexifies an established conceptualization of affect as pre-reflexive reaction. Imbued with emotionality and self-reflexivity, potatoes’ contentment is a core concern for cultivators. A focus on affective attunement between humans and plant crops through labour and ingestion offers new perspectives on the substance of kinship and interspecies mutuality of being.