Roundtable: New Narratives of the Green Revolution




It seems like an opportune time for historians to weigh in. And at the conference in Briarcliff Manor, in between Girl Scout cookies and campfires, we heard historian after historian suggesting timely new interpretations. For Timothy Lorek, the new history of the Green Revolution will consider race and reproduction alongside science and agriculture. For Prakash Kumar, it will take into account old regional agricultural histories and subaltern studies on the Indian subcontinent. For Gabriela Soto Laveaga, the story is one of transnational collaboration between the nations of the developing world such as Mexico and Pakistan. For Sigrid Schmalzer, the Green Revolution was also Red, as Chinese proponents of agricultural transformation excoriated capitalism and then mimicked many of its effects on the countryside. For Tore C. Olsson, the Green Revolution promulgated by US officials was not unidirectional but emerged out of practical experience with agricultural transformation in the rural US South. For Nicole Sackley, these new histories will look beyond the archives of US philanthropies and pay attention to the materials of agricultural modernization.

What follows is meant to be provocative and suggestive rather than comprehensive. It is also emblematic of what the editors see as a key contribution of agricultural history, and of Agricultural History: scholars trained in a variety of subdisciplines engaging in debate and conversation around a pressing issue. This roundtable is the first of several we have scheduled over the first year or two of our editorial service, and we are eager to entertain ideas for other topics and debates. Talk to us.

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Copyright © 2017 Agricultural History Society. This article first appeared in Agricultural History 91:3 (2017), 397-422.

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