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January 2020

Rethinking technological change in smallholder agriculture

January 23, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Room G51a, Main Building, SOAS United Kingdom + Google Map

Dominic Glover (IDS Sussex) Technological change remains at the centre of strategies aiming to boost smallholder agriculture. Two main approaches stand out: agro-ecological farming methods such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and transgenic technologies, e.g. Bt cotton. While their nature and impacts differ, these may have something in common. Based on more than 14 years of experience in research, policy analysis and communication on technological change, Dominic Glover argues that there is an intriguing symmetry in the ways in…

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February 2020

Venezuela’s Twenty-First Century Socialist Agriculture: A Fordist Neo- Populism?

February 6, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Room G51a, Main Building, SOAS United Kingdom + Google Map

Aaron Kappeler (University of Edinburgh) Based on two years of fieldwork in a state-run, agro-industrial farm in the home state of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, this talk explores the impact of agrarian reform on rural livelihoods and the relationships that have emerged between peasant farming cooperatives and state enterprises. Taking its inspiration from the work of Bernstein and Byres, it theorizes the coupling of large-scale Fordist factory farms with smallholder led systems and the ways in which regulated…

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Masters of the Countryside and Their Enemies: Class Relations and Agrarian Changes in Rural Java

February 20, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Room G51a, Main Building, SOAS United Kingdom + Google Map

Muhtar Habibi (SOAS): POSTPONED DUE TO UCU STRIKE

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March 2020

Land for industry: State, Dominant Class, and the Politics of Rural Accumulation in Maharashtra, India

March 5, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Room G51a, Main Building, SOAS United Kingdom + Google Map

Mihika Chatterjee (University of Oxford): POSTPONED DUE TO UCU STRIKE

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October 2020

Covid-19 Pandemic and Rural India: Economic Impacts and Policy Responses

October 14, 2020 @ 4:15 pm - 6:00 pm
Zoom

R. Ramakumar (TISS, Mumbai) In this seminar, R. Ramakumar explores the impact of Covid19 on India's agricultural sector focusing on three main aspects. First, he presents the impacts on different primary sectors and the disruptions in agricultural supply chains induced by the pandemic. Detailed data across more than 2,000 markets are analysed to understand the fall in daily market arrivals for 15 crops between March 15 and June 30 over 2019 and 2020. Second, he analyses wholesale and retail prices…

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The Rohingya peasantry of Myanmar: a limiting case of agrarian change. Disintegration by state violence, ethnic persecution and land grabs

October 28, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Zoom

Shapan Adnan (SOAS) The bulk of the Rohingya peasantry of Myanmar has been expelled by state violence and ethnic persecution to other countries, particularly Bangladesh. The remaining fraction is confined to villages under pervasive restrictions on their movements and livelihoods. What kind of agrarian changes have these processes of exclusion and disintegration involved? The trajectories of differentiation have been foreclosed by forced displacement, leading to an 'aggregate downward shift’ of all peasant classes to common destitution, irrespective of their initial…

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November 2020

Corporations and development: Lessons from Indonesia’s plantation zone

November 4, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Zoom

Tania Li (University of Toronto) Embedded in the mandate of every corporation is a commitment to serve the public good, and private sector participation is the mantra of contemporary development policy in many parts of the world. Significant hopes are placed in certification schemes that distinguish good corporations from bad ones, further cementing the allure of good corporations as partners in development. Drawing on ethnographic research in Indonesia’s oil palm plantation zone, this talk explores the kind of development large…

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Labour Contracting, Gangmasters and Migrant Labour in Italian Agricultural Commodity Chains: The Case of Caporalato and Contemporary Dynamics of Agrarian Change

November 18, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Zoom

Lucilla Salvia (La Sapienza University of Rome) Labour contracting and gangmaster activity is everywhere a well-known reality. Mainstream accounts tend to conflate this practice with coercion and 'modern slavery', criminalising and exceptionalising it. Such accounts obscure more than they reveal about the contemporary political economy of labour contracting and its connections with current dynamics of agrarian change. Caporalato, as the gangmaster practice is known in Italy, is a complex reality. Its emergence and reproduction is, on the one hand, strictly…

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December 2020

Narco-Frontiers and Magical Marxism: Agrarian Change on Drugs

December 2, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Zoom

Teo Ballvé (Colgate University, New York) Why is drug trafficking linked to rapid and destructive agrarian change? In this talk, Geographer Teo Ballvé combines ethnography, Marxist political economy, and the fiction of Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez to explain why rural areas wracked by the drug trade have become such hotspots for violent land grabs and mass deforestation. Drawing on his own research in Colombia and that of other scholars from around the world, Ballvé's analysis is as much an…

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January 2021

Farmers Resist Neoliberalism: Protests against the New Farm Laws in India

January 21, 2021 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Zoom

VIKAS RAWAL In the second half of 2020, while the country was struggling with COVID-19 pandemic and impacts of a crippling 10-week national lockdown, the Indian government enacted three national laws related to agriculture. These laws created a new national framework for contract farming, deregulated agricultural marketing to open the doors for greater corporate control, and reduced the scope of state intervention for preventing excessive stocking of food commodities. The laws were enacted in an unusually hasty manner and without…

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