Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis: Labor and the Tea Plant

Consumed as tea around the world, Camellia sinensis raises questions about plantation labor practices and the environmental impact of monocultures.
JT Roane alongside the cover of his book, Dark Agoras: Insurgent Black Social Life and the Politics of Place

Historian J.T. Roane Explores Black Ecologies

Considerations of climate change and environmentalism have for too long paid no mind to where Black people live and in what conditions.
Mason's Island

Island in the Potomac

Steps from Georgetown, a memorial to Teddy Roosevelt stands amid ghosts of previous inhabitants: the Nacotchtank, colonist enslavers, and the emancipated.
From the cover of Volume 7, Issue 6 of The Angolite, 1982

The Cost of Inflation in Prison

In prisons across the country, the long history of legal forced labor intersects with present-day inflation.
Willie Mae Thornton

Willie Mae Thornton Deserves Your Full Attention

In a meditative new biography, DJ and scholar Lynnée Denise examines the mysteries and trials in the life of the legendary performer.
Dewdrops hang suspended from switchgrass at Waubay National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota.

Switchgrass: An Old Grass Gets a New Use

The perennial prairie grass used to cover large swaths of the American Midwest, creating vibrant ecosystems where birds, butterflies, and bison roamed.
A railroad worker enjoys a sandwich and bottle of milk during his lunch break, circa 1950

Mother’s—and Others’—Milk

Said to bestow strength and beauty, to purify body and soul, and to yield success and happiness, milk’s image is as adulterated as the liquid itself.
Soviet political leader Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953) at work in his office, with a portrait of Karl Marx hanging on the wall over his head, April 1932.

Getting Pickled With Joseph Stalin

The Soviet dictator was notorious for hosting drinking parties where vodka loosened the inhibitions of associates and got them to reveal their secrets.
The Confederate States almanac for 1862

On Harvests and Histories

Almanacs from the Civil War era reveal how two sides of an embattled nation used data from the natural world to legitimize their claims to statehood.
Sketches of cinchona trees. Aylmer Bourke Lambert, A Description of the Genus Cinchona (1797). Rare Book Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Cinchona: A Legacy of Extraction and Extirpation

The source of quinine, cinchona tells a story about the value placed on parts of plants and how that value can be extracted and distorted in support of empire.