Recent scholarship on post-colonialism highlights the enduring legacies of colonial institutions. This thesis uses ethnographic research and historical analysis to investigate one set of colonial institutions: botanical gardens. The research was carried out in British Columbia, Canada and examines this site in relation to other British settler societies such as Australia. British botanical gardens played a key role in the larger colonial project. Such gardens were part of transnational scientific networks, which encouraged entrepreneurialism and guided people and plants through imperial centers. Canadian botanical gardens, as a social institution, have played a role in aboriginal dispossession and nationalist projects. These botanical gardens selectively erase and appropriate aboriginal knowledges and histories in ongoing projects of nation formation. Starting in the 1960s, botanical gardens in British settler societies, such as Canada, disrupted England’s reign as the key center and institutional compass as these post-colonial sites established their own transnational networks.
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Thesis advisor: Hathaway, Michael J.
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