Presenter: PhD Candidate Mona Bieling
Discussant: Professor Mischa Suter
On the first instalment of this semester’s History Brunches, which took place on March 9th 2022, Doctoral Student Mona Bieling presented her work on the role of scientific botany in the construction of Zionist identity and the demarcation of Israel through the classification of its flora. Her presentation focused on the knowledge classification framework produced by early botanists in Israel as well as on the development of the Israeli botanical garden. Bieling’s research provides exciting new lenses to understand how national identities are created by focusing on how the production of specialised scientific knowledge can be used as a tool to identify a national space through the classification of its environment. By tying together conceptual approaches from colonial and environmental history, her work makes a contribution to both fields in the context of the history of Israel. Professor Mischa Suter provided an insightful commentary on the presentation, which was followed by a lively Q&A session.