In Ontologies and Natures: Knowledge about Health in Visual Culture, Fernando Gonzalez Rodriguez argues that visual culture offers insights into how societies perceive the role of nature in pursuits to cure and care for the human body. By using a set of visual surfaces and artefacts as entry points the book sheds light on ideas about nature as a healing source.
Fernando Gonzalez Rodriguez is a Marie Curie Fellow at KU Leuven. He is also a visiting scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge and Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute (Leibniz Association).
Part I: Images of Nature
Chapter 1. Visual Healing
Chapter 2. Animated Epistemologies
Part II: Shapes of Nature
Chapter 3. Barcoded Pharmacopeias
Chapter 4. Gendered Epistemic Artefacts
Part III: Sites of Nature
Chapter 5. Topological Panaceas
Chapter 6. Sensorial Interfaces
"Conceptions and practices of health enact cultural understandings of nature as much as they reflect the state of our knowledges of the natural world and our place within it. By showing how these knowledges are asserted, materialized, and performed through visual representations, Fernando Gonzalez Rodriguez brings forth the social and cultural encounters, tensions, hierarchies, and exclusions that underscore universalist discourses of health, suggesting that epistemic inclusivity may better be approached by embracing nature as an essentially unstable object of human knowledge."
"In this engaging and insightful study, Gonzalez Rodriguez takes the reader on a enlightening journey across time and space, languages, cultures, and modes of knowing to show the role visual culture plays in conveying ideas about nature as a healing source for the human body. Drawing on interdisciplinary methodology, contextualized analysis, and an extremely wide range of case studies—which encompass artefacts as diverse as fictional films, documentaries, vlogs, toys, stamps, and infographics, among others—the author argues convincingly that visual forms should be understood as epistemic sites that mobilize local imaginaries, ideologies, and epistemologies of health, nature, and wellness."
"Gonzalez-Rodriguez surveys the ways in which nature is represented as a fountain of health and beauty. Ranging geographically and blending theoretical insights with concrete examples of everyday social practices, the author shows how different cultural communities share a perception of nature as the ultimate basis of wellbeing and the source of remedies for our ills. This book's topics could not be more compelling and significant."
“Ontologies and Nature draws our attention to the ordinary visual surfaces and brilliantly show how they function as epistemic sites, as indications of the multiple ways knowledge about nature is produced and disseminated. Undermining the idea of a singular ontology, Fernando Gonzalez Rodriguez contextualizes the relationship among nature-knowledge-health. The social becomes the underlining aspect of this triadic relation. Gonzalez Rodriguez does us all a service by his vivid descriptions of how the mundane reveals diverse worldviews of nature and offers bioclusivity as the theoretical framework to understand them.”