Domestication was one of the most crucial shifts in the human history and it goes on transforming human, animal and vegetal lives engaged in hybrid communities


One conference in two museums: domestication brings together human sciences and natural sciences
This international interdisciplinary conference, combining natural sciences and social sciences, will offer an overview on recent researches on domestication and the hybrid communities formed by humans, plants and animals in past and present societies. The conference will be of interest to a large public of researchers, students, professionals and citizens who are concerned by the social relationships between humans and non-humans: how do we transform non-humans and how do non-humans transform us?
Over the last few years the study of domestication has been deeply reinvigorated. Archaeology, biochemistry, genetics, evolutionary psychology, ethology, philosophy and anthropology have shifted our perspective on the complex way by which humans, plants and animal build hybrid communities. The diversity of paths and forms taken by domestication makes impossible a univocal model centred on the human desire to dominate the living. Diverse forms of domestication – commensality initiated by anthropophile animals, directed taming, genetically modified bio-products, etc. – raise the question of the respective weight of human strategy and non-human factors, plant and animal predispositions, reciprocal adaptations, and induced learning.
This diversity makes it necessary to adopt an open approach, emancipated from strict dichotomies such as domestic/wild, useful/harmful. These should take into consideration interspecific forms of association such as taming, mutualism, synanthropy, and parasitism, which sometimes constitute steps or detours in the domestication process. Some associations do not emerge by the human will, but in spite of it, as shown by the cases of the black rat or weeds, which flourish in anthropized niches.
At this conference, we propose to bring together the approaches of the different disciplines which take into consideration those multiple agencies and their coevolutions.

Beyond the dyadic domesticator-domesticated relation, we will try to develop a triadic perspective on the interactional dynamics which associate and transform the human, the codomestic (plant or animal), and their shared habitat.
This shared habitat may be the human body itself, its surface and organs (lice, mushrooms, bacteria), the human home (cat, house martin, stables within the house, etc.), or the human ecological niche (cultivated plants, weed, livestock, etc.). In this perspective, attention will be paid to reciprocal adaptations: were humans “trapped” by the species they accepted to live with and started to manage and store? How do these species transform the humans’ way of life in making them farmers, herders? Do they join humans as bio-products, partners, parasites, exchange value, religious symbol? We will pay particular attention to co-habitats: how does a shared habitat create a common ground that enables familiarisation and the establishment of long-term, potentially personalised, relations between individuals belonging to different species?
Domestication has given rise to new interspecific forms of communication, cooperation and social cognition (unlike chimpanzees, dogs, goats, horses are receptive to intentional communication): what are the common grounds and the codes on which communication between codomestic species are established? How do animals cooperate in riding, working, milking and what is the role of those cooperations in the domestication process?