Research Interests: Agriculture and the environment; agricultural technology; anthropology of food and agriculture; anthropology of technology; anthropology of work; biotechnology and bioengineering/synthetic biology; cellular agriculture; controlled environment agriculture (CEA)/vertical farming; cultural anthropology; DIY/maker movements; ecological design; food policy; futurism; plant studies; postcapitalism; science fiction/speculative design; startups; urban agriculture; urban planning
Wythe Marschall is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard, as well as the senior research project manager in food and health for the Invest NYC SDG Initiative at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business. Recently, he served as a research associate in controlled environment agriculture (CEA, or indoor farming) at Cornell University.
Wythe researches future visions of farming, biological design, architecture and urban planning, and plant-human interactions. His dissertation, an ethnography of agricultural technology startups in greater New York City, examines the production of different economic, social, and environmental values through vertical farming. His research builds on works in the anthropology of promissory capitalism as well as food and agrarian studies, documenting how a cohort of urban millennials are attempting to use high technologies to redesign the U.S. food system and even achieve food justice. Wythe’s research was supported by a generous Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Previously, Wythe wrote Crash Course: History of Science; co-founded the Biodesign Challenge; lectured in the English Department of Brooklyn College, CUNY; curated art-and-science exhibitions in Brooklyn; and worked in health and wellness advertising. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and elsewhere.
Recent Academic Presentations:
“The Farmhand in the Machine.” annual meeting of the Social Studies of Science Society (New Orleans, LA, September 2019).
“‘Farm’ as Keyword,” Crafting the Long Tomorrow (University of Arizona/Biosphere 2, February 2019).
“Scaling the Farm, Hacking the Farmer: More-Than-Human, Pericapitalist Farming in New York City,” annual meeting of the Social Studies of Science Society (Sydney, Australia, September, 2018).
“The Promise of a Red Earth: Faith in Data at the Edge of Agriculture,” Science, Religion, and Culture program annual symposium (Harvard, May, 2018).
“Farmland, Farmspace, Farmscape; or, How Do They Eat in New Babylon? Re-Topologizing Agriculture in the Era of the Shipping Container,” Technical Landscapes: Aesthetics and the Environment in the History of Science and Art (Harvard, April, 2017).
“Speculative Metabolisms: Science, Fiction, and the Human–Environment Interface We Call Food,” Dimensions of Political Ecology (University of Kentucky, February, 2017).
Recent Public Presentations:
“Future of Urban Agriculture: Eco Design Thinking Workshop,” public lecture and design workshop (Osmunda [art collective] at Gallery 151, NYC, April, 2018).
“Vert: An Ethnography of Vertical Farms to Come,” public lecture (The Bennington College Boston Alumni Cooperative at the College Club of Boston, April, 2018).
“A History of, and Workshop in, Ecological Design for Agriculture,” public lecture and design workshop (AgTech X, NYC, March and May, 2018).
“Cities of Futures Past: Strange Historical Visions of the Urban Future,” public lecture (Empiricist League at Union Hall, NYC, September, 2017).
“Rumpelstiltskin’s Algae: Future Food Utopias in that Neo-Pastoral Farm City We Call New York (Or Wherehaveyou),” public lecture (Morbid Anatomy Museum, NYC, January, 2016).
Recent Industry Presentations:
“Farming Value Beyond the Economic: Cases of Social Innovation Through CEA in NYC,” Agri Food Innovation 2019 (Venlo, Netherlands, June, 2019).
“Green-Collar Futures: Emergent Futures for Indoor Farmers,” GreenTech 2019 (Amsterdam, Netherlands, June, 2019).
“Contextualizing Urban Agriculture Within the Living City Movement,” Agritecutre Xchange (NYC, September, 2018).
“Green Promises: Cannabis Legalization and Culture in the United States and Canada,” GreenTech 2018 (Amsterdam, Netherlands, June, 2018).
BA., English, Bennington College
MFA., Brooklyn College