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Kristan M. Hanson

Kristan M. Hanson

Kristan M. Hanson is a Plant Humanities Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks. She is an art historian of nineteenth-century France, with a particular focus on depictions of women, ornamental plants, and spaces of horticultural labor and leisure. She received her PhD in art history from the University of Kansas in 2020. Her research interests include visual portrayals of plants and human-plant interactions; cultural associations of flowers and floral imagery with social markers of difference; horticultural trade networks, colonialism, and intimacy; and artistic engagements with environmental issues. Her dissertation applied digital humanities methods and tools to the study of horticultural art, plant mobility, and gendered spatial practices in the context of 1870s Paris. She has received fellowships and awards from the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, HASTAC Scholars program, and the Hall Center for the Humanities. Most recently, she coedited the exhibition catalogue Perspectives on a Legacy Collection: Sallie Casey Thayer’s Gift to the University of Kansas (2020).

Arachis hypogaea, Warren Delano collection of Chinese export paintings of fruits, flowers, and vegetables, ca. 1794–1852, Botany Libraries.

Plant of the Month: Peanut

The peanut, a natural hybrid of two species, originated in Bolivia. It now plays a critical role in food cultures around the world.
Hyacinthus orientalis

Plant of the Month: Hyacinth

A 2021 shortage of hyacinth bulbs brings to mind the long and storied history of its botanical and economic import.
Litograph of A. Faguet, Dracaena stricta

Plant of the Month: Cordyline

Plantfluencers? Back in the nineteenth century, it was the dazzling leaves of cordyline that set trends in domestic style.

Plant of the Month: Fuchsia

Too popular for its own good? The career of a flower so powerfully beautiful, fashion would inevitably declare it over.
bottom half of a venus flytrap

Plant of the Month: Venus Flytrap

The carnivorous plant, native to the Carolinas, has beguiled botanists and members of the public alike since the eighteenth century.