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Scale, Sustainability, and Democracy: Comparing Agricultural Transformations in the US and Europe in the 20th and 21st Centuries

12.10.2020 – 12.11.2020

Event Summary

IMAGES: Belted Galloways grazing; photo by LisaW123 via Creative Commons. ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) grain elevator in Brewster, Kansas; photo by Gary Herrigel, November 2, 2020.

The twentieth century was a transformative period for agriculture in advanced economies. New technologies, an emphasis on scale and specialization, and a distinctive regulatory presence of the state in agrarian life characterized the transition. Principles of production, organization, and regulation, even conceptions of the farm as a form of property, were all modelled after practices diffusing in the industrial and service economy more broadly at roughly the same time. The consequences of this transformation were radical. The limits of “industrial agriculture” and its consequences are now under intense scrutiny in academic, policy, and media circles. This workshop, sponsored by the Sustainable Agriculture as Relational Learning Process project at the Neubauer Collegium, convened a conversation about the shared and divergent historical evolution of agriculture in developed economies since the middle of the twentieth century. How have historical experiences informed contemporary approaches to agricultural adjustment and sustainability in different polities and economies?


Venus Bivar, Lecturer in Modern History, University of York

Amy Cohen, Professor of Law, Ohio State University

Deborah Fitzgerald, Professor of the History of Technology, MIT

Jess Gilbert, Emeritus Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin

Julie Guthman, Professor of Social Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz

Shane Hamilton, Senior Lecturer in International Business and Strategy, University of YorkGary Herrigel, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

Terry Marsden, Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning, University of Cardiff

Jodey Nurse, Assistant Professor, Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University

Bilyana Petrova, Postdoctoral Scholar, City University of New York & European University Institute

Juliana Walkiewicz, Doctoral candidate, University of Kassel, Germany

Susanne Wengle, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

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