Eric Harris

Dissertation Summary:

I am currently pursuing research on the relation between bryophytes and people (this area of research has been called "ethnobryology"). To describe and attempt to explain this relation, my dissertation will be focused on the interaction of three histories: the evolutionary history of a group of mosses, the cultural history of Chinese herbalists, and the cultural history of moss systematists. My research will involve the construction of a phylogeny of a group of mosses, a description of the ways that Chinese herbalists use and talk about mosses, and a historical study of the terminology and methods that I use to construct the moss phylogeny. This research will hopefully lead to a critical and tempered understanding of biological features of mosses that influence their use by humans and cultural features of Chinese herbalists that influence their use of mosses.