Pastoral scene

Fellows 2017-18

Program Fellows 2017-18

Adriana Chira (History, Emory University)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow

Adriana Chira is an assistant professor of Atlantic World history, with an affiliation in African Studies, at Emory University. She received her PhD from the Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan in 2016. Her research focuses on race, slavery, emancipation, and the law in the Iberian Atlantic. As an agrarian studies fellow, she will be completing her first monograph–Free of Color: Slavery and Popular Ideologies of Race in Cuba, 1760s-1860s—which traces late nineteenth-century Cuban ideologies of “racial confraternity” to diffuse popular taxonomies of race in eastern Cuba. Drawing on research with notarial records, judicial cases, urban and rural property registers, sacramental records, and official correspondence, the manuscript examines how ordinary women, men, and families of various degrees of African descent conceived of color-based distinctions through practices of rural and urban property ownership and kinship. The project reflects more broadly on the impact of Caribbean borderlands and of the popular sectors on centers of power and on political ideologies that have traditionally been associated with intellectuals and prominent activists.

Aaron Jakes (History, The New School)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow

Aaron Jakes received his PhD from New York University’s Joint Program in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. He is currently an assistant professor of history at The New School, where he teaches course on the modern Middle East and South Asia, global environmental history, and the historical geography of capitalism. He will spend the year at Agrarian Studies working on his current book manuscript, provisionally entitled State of the Field: Colonial Economism and the Crises of Capitalism in Egypt, 1882-1922. The project explores both the political economy of the Egyptian state and the role of political-economic thought in the struggle over British rule following the occupation of 1882. Building on more than a decade of archival research in Egypt, England, India, Pakistan, and the United States, the project examines Egypt’s emergence as a key site for investment and experimentation in the massive financial expansion that characterized global capitalism in waning years of the nineteenth century. In the context of this financial boom and the devastating crisis that followed, Egypt’s early nationalist movement took shape through a protracted and wide-ranging debate about the relationship between economic development and political legitimacy and, ultimately, the very meaning of freedom in a capitalist world. 

John S. Lee (East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow

John S. Lee completed his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages in 2017 in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His Ph.D. dissertation, Protect the Pines, Punish the People: Forests and the State in Pre-Industrial Korea, 918-1897, is the first English-language treatment of Korea’s pre-industrial environmental history. Using a variety of Classical Chinese and Korean-language primary sources, his research examines the rise and fall of one of the longest-lasting state forestry systems in world history, that of Korea’s Chosŏn dynasty. As an Agrarian Studies fellow, he plans to expand the dissertation into a monograph that will insert the Korean case into wider scholarship on state forestry in the early modern world. He is particularly interested in how state forestry regimes intersect and transform patterns of governance and environmental change in pre-industrial societies. In addition, he will begin research into the broader environmental legacies of the Mongol Empire in Korea, focusing on the long-term impact of Inner Asian equine culture on Korean society and ecologies. 

Affiliate Fellows 2017-18

Holly Stephens (Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University)
Affiliate Fellow

Holly Stephens received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. Her dissertation—Agriculture and Development in an Age of Empire: Institutions, Associations, and Market Networks in Korea, 1876-1945—uses three previously unexamined farmers’ diaries to trace the changes to agricultural production and the reorganization of rural markets under Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945). During the academic year 2017-18, Holly is a postdoctoral associate at the Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University.