Terese Gagnon is a PhD Candidate in anthropology at Syracuse University. Her ethnographic research traces the co-movement of Karen refugees with their plants and agricultural practices across landscapes of exile and return: from a refugee camp, to a third-country resettlement site, and back to Karen homelands. She explores more-than-human collective memory and the ways that Karen individuals' embodied engagements with plants—such as cultivation, foraging and cooking—emerge differently within these various spaces. Utilizing in-depth interview and participant observation methods, she asks: when homelands are burned and people displaced, what become the conduits of collective memory? How do the distinct socio-material constraints and affordances of these spaces affect Karen human-plant relationships? And how might the performance of “affective economy" shift across spaces of home, exile and (sometimes) return? 

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Cultivating Across Exile: Karen Refugees, Plant and Memory