Program Fellows 2021-22
Catherine (Catie) Peters (American Studies, Havard University)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow
Catherine (Catie) Peters is a Postdoctoral Associate in Yale’s Program in Agrarian Studies. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies with a secondary field in Latinx Studies from Harvard University. Catie is an interdisciplinary historian whose work is concerned with empire, race, gender, sexuality, intimacy, capitalism, and the environment. Her book project, A Free Race of Cultivators: Afro-Asian Histories, Ecologies, and Intimacies, draws together the Indian and Atlantic Oceans while also arguing for the Haitian Revolution as a catalyst in the conscription of Chinese and Indian migrants to the early nineteenth-century Caribbean. Writing against traditional historical frames, which naturalize the “replacement” of indentured individuals for enslaved people, the study situates people of Asian and African descent within the same historical frame to demonstrate how imperial projects joined their histories together. As a dissertation, the project drew upon over fifteen months of archival work in the United Kingdom, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Spain, France, and the United States. Catie has a forthcoming essay on “intimacies as method” in Eighteenth-Century Fiction. She has also published in the pages of Environmental History, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, and Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts. Her work has been supported by many fellowships, including the John Carter Brown Library, American Antiquarian Society, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and numerous centers at Harvard University. While at Yale, Catie will continue work on a project that links the development of sustainable agriculture via empire in Asia and settler colonialism in the United States.
Esteban Salas (History, University of Notre Dame)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow
Esteban Salas received his PhD in African history from the University of Notre Dame in 2021. He holds a bachelor degree in history from the Universidad de Costa Rica. He also attended the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, and the Beijing Language and Culture University, Pekin, China, for training in cultural studies and languages. Esteban worked as a research assistant for the UNESCO “Del Olvido a la Memoria” project, on dissemination of African and Afro-Latin American history in Central America. He also collaborated with the project on the cataloguing of nineteenth century court files in Benguela, Angola, coordinated by the Universidade Katyavala Bwila, the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, and the University of Notre Dame. Esteban’s research centers on the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on societies in West Central Africa. His current work focuses on themes of slavery, labor, racial thinking, and early colonialism in Angola. He has done archival research in Angola and Portugal with support from the Luso-American Foundation, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. His publications include contributions on the edited volume African Women in the Atlantic World, Property, Vulnerability and Mobility, 1660-1880 by Mariana Candido and Adam Jones and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History by Martin Klein.
Affiliate Fellows 2021-22
Patrick Barker (History, Yale University)
Agrarian Studies Graduate Affiliate Fellow
Patrick Barker is a PhD candidate studying Atlantic history at Yale, with a thematic specialization in the comparative study of slavery, abolition, and emancipation in the Americas, and methodological concentrations in the fields of social and environmental history. As an Agrarian Studies Graduate affiliate fellow, he will be working toward completing his dissertation, entitled “Cut Canes No Longer: Rural Struggle in Trinidad, 1763-1834.” Based on multi-site archival research, the dissertation is a six-chapter study of enslaved peoples’ struggles over land, community, food, time, and work in Trinidad during the late Spanish (1763-1797) and early British era (1797-1834). While working with the Agrarian Studies program, he is excited to work with other fellows and members of its scholarly community, and also hopes to complete drafting two article manuscripts, the first of which focuses on how hired-out enslaved workers in Port of Spain confronted the problem of nonpayment for their labor, and the second of which concentrates on the politics of subversive speech in rural Trinidad during the early nineteenth century.
Agrarian Studies Visiting Assistant in Research
CLAIS Affiliate Fellow
Agrarian Studies Graduate Affiliate Fellow
Joseph Morgan (Joe) is a doctoral candidate in Yale’s combined program in Classics and History. His research embraces the social and economic history of the Hellenistic Mediterranean with a particular focus on the interface between environment and society in the rural communities of the Nile Valley. His dissertation examines the ramifications of administrative reform for networks of local power relations in Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty (r. 305-30 BCE). His research hinges on the construction of a geospatial model of provincial administration as it was instantiated across disparate geographical contexts and moments in time in the papyrological record. By reconstructing fragmentary person-to-person networks, Joe locates provincial administrators at critical bottlenecks in the web of power relations that constrained individual agency in ancient communities. His thesis turns the narrative of ancient state formation on its head in attributing the growth of administrative activity and attendant personnel in the Nile Valley to a feedback loop linking local social processes and ecologies to the behavior of king and court. Joe is also involved in the collection and analysis of historical data for the Volcanism, Climate, and Social Conflict project funded by the National Science Foundation.
Arjun Sharma (History, KU Leuven)
Agrarian Studies Affiliate Fellow
Arjun Sharma is a Flemish Research Foundation (FWO) postdoctoral fellow. He is also a senior research fellow at the Centre for Global Governance Studies (CGGS), KU Leuven, Belgium. Arjun obtained his PhD in History at KU Leuven, in 2020, for his thesis titled Between the borders and the spirits: A historical political ecology of water from the perspective of a Himalayan village community. Previously, he held a MSc in Development Studies (2012), from SOAS, University of London, where his master’s thesis won the University of London’s Edgar Graham Award for the best dissertation.
Arjun’s current postdoctoral project is titled Spaces of development: the historical interaction between colonial and pre-colonial territoriality in everyday community based ecological practices. This project explores the historical relationship between community based natural resource management (CBNRM) – especially water – colonial state formation, and the impact of this relationship on present-day natural resource politics in the Himalayas. Arjun’s diverse interests and international experience informs his interdisciplinary research approach, which combines concepts and methods from political science, human geography, environmental science, sociology, political economy, anthropology, and history.
Before becoming an academic, Arjun worked for a big-four accounting firm, which he left after six years to work as a freelance consultant in various research think-tanks and NGOs, focusing on issues such as access to finance and climate change adaptation, especially in Himalayan communities. Besides academic publications, Arjun enjoys writing opinion pieces on Indian politics and climate change issues in news periodicals, such as the Belgian longform magazine MO*.
Student Coordinator 2021-22
Agrarian Studies Graduate Student Coordinator
Polly Lauer is the Agrarian Studies Program Coordinator for the 2021-2022 academic year.
She is a Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s History Department, studying modern Latin America. With a focus on Guatemala, Polly researches Indigenous-language media in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. She graduated with a B.A. in History and Latin American Studies from the College of William & Mary in 2017. Please direct inquiries about the Program in Agrarian Studies to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.