The core of the Agrarian Studies Program’s activities is a weekly colloquium organized around an annual theme. Invited specialists send papers in advance that are the focus of an organized discussion by the faculty and graduate students associated with the colloquium.

This topic embraces, inter alia, the study of mutual perceptions between countryside and city, and patterns of cultural and material exchange, extraction, migration, credit, legal systems, and political order that link them.

It also includes an understanding of how different societies conceive of the spatial order they exhibit. What terms are meaningful and how are they related?: e.g., frontier, wilderness, arable, countryside, city, town, agriculture, commerce, “hills,” lowlands, maritime districts, inland. How have these meanings changed historically and what symbolic and material weight do they bear?

Meetings are Fridays, 11am – 1pm unless noted

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the colloquium will meet online for the duration of Spring 2021
Please email in order to receive online meeting information

Spring 2021

January 29
Santanu Das
All Souls College, Oxford, Modern Literature and Culture
Beyond Commemoration: The Indian Sepoy in First World War Culture

February 5
Elizabeth Hoover
University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

‘Our Living Relatives:’ Seed Rematriation and the Native American Food Sovereignty Movement

February 12
Zozan Pehlivan
University of Minnesota, History
A Climate of ‘Slow Violence’ in the Late Ottoman Empire

February 19
José Carlos de la Puente
Texas State University, History

Of Widows, Furrows, and Seed: New Perspectives on Land and the Colonial Andean Commons

February 26
Susanne Wengle
University of Notre Dame, Political Science

Technopolitics and the Human-Nature Nexus in Contemporary Russian Agriculture

March 26
Arianne Sedef Urus
Harvard University, History and Literature

Properties of Empire: Environment and Law in the Eighteenth-Century Newfoundland Cod Fisheries

April 2
Marina Welker
Cornell University, Anthropology

Indonesian Tobacco Agriculture and Contract Relations

April 9
Rui Hua
Agrarian Studies Fellow

The Schizophrenia of Sovereignty: Peasants’ Law of Nations and the People’s Game of Great Powers in the Manchurian Borderland, 1881-1932

April 16
Vikram Tamboli
Agrarian Studies Fellow

Malabar, Gentoo, and Pariah:  A Speculative History of South Asian Blackness in British Guiana

April 23
Hengameh Ziai
Agrarian Studies Fellow

Peasants as Human Capital: A Political Genealogy of Neoliberalism in Chicago School Development Economics

Fall 2020

September 17* at 5:30 PM
Todd Holmes
UC Berkeley
An Introduction to the Agrarian Studies Oral History Project

September 18
Ruth Mostern
University of Pittsburgh, History
Levees and Levies: The Yellow River Enclosed in Late Imperial China

September 25
Cassandra Mark-Thiesen
University of Basel, Switzerland, History
Progressive Empire? Liberian Agriculture, Black American Farming Experts and WWII

If you have trouble downloading the PDF file linked above, a Word document of the paper can be found here

October 2
Brian Lander
Brown University, Environment and Society & History
A Political Ecology of the First Chinese Empire

October 9
Emily Sellars
Yale University, Political Science
Emigration, Collective Action, and Agrarian Change in Jalisco, Mexico

October 16
Tariq Omar Ali
Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service
Agrarian Partitions: The Making of the East Bengal/Tripura Borderlands, 1947-1952

October 23* 11 am -4 pm 
Special Session: “Industrial Livestock Production, Global Health and Climate Change”
More details available here.  

October 30
Wendy Wolford
Cornell University, Development Sociology
‘Sweet Potato Right Now is Money’: The Contemporary Dynamics of Agricultural Research in Mozambique

November 6
Nisrin Elamin Abdelrahman
Columbia University, Society of Fellows
Land Enclosures, Disruptive Claim-Making and the Crafting of Post-Oil Futures in Central Sudan

November 13
Maria Paula Saffon Sanín
UNAM, Mexico, Institute for Legal Research
When Theft Becomes Grievance: The Violation of Land Rights as a Cause of Land Reform Claims in Latin America

December 4
Gerald Torres
Yale University, School of the Environment
Resiliency in Food Systems: Lessons for Climate Justice and Environmental Justice

December 11
Tim Wise
Small Planet Institute: Land and Food Rights Program
Old Fertilizer in New Bottles: Selling the Past as Innovation in Africa’s Failing Green Revolution