Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting,
21-25 April, 2015, Chicago
Food Politics and The Agrarian Question
Session organizers: Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern and Evan Weissman (Food
Studies, Syracuse University)
Discussant: Melanie DuPuis (Environmental Studies, Pace University)
Sponsored by the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group
Kautsky (1988 ) defined the classic agrarian question by identifying
the difficulty in reconciling Marxist theories of capitalism with the
history of agrarian development, asking: where do peasants fit into Marx’s
picture of the capitalist mode of production and progression to socialism?
Since Kautsky first made his claim concerning the peasantry, many scholars
have taken up his challenge to understand these contradictions both in
terms of Marx’s original conception of the peasantry and in relation to
shifting material realities of the peasantry and small scale farmers (See
Chayanov 1966 ; Bernstein 2006; Byers 1977; Goodman and Watts 1997;
Henderson 1998; Mann 1990, McMichael 1997 and 2013; among others).
In this session we look to revisit the agrarian question by putting
traditional debates regarding agrarian question(s) in conversation with
contemporary scholarship on the politics of agro-food. As Michael Watts and
David Goodman note, the agrarian question is not something that can be
resolved, per se, but is continually ‘renewed by the contradictory and
uneven development of capitalism itself’ (1997:6). The current period of
agro-food activism and an expanding global agro-food economy presents
unique opportunities to explore agrarian questions. We seek papers engaged
in topics including, but not limited to:
Labor in the Food System
Alternative Food Networks
Race and Ethnicity
Political Positioning of Small Producers
We invite potential participants to send an email including presentation
title, 250-word abstract, name, and institution to Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern (
firstname.lastname@example.org) and Evan Weissman (email@example.com) by 5pm on Friday,
October 24, 2014. We will confirm participation in this session by Friday,
October 31. NOTE: we will ask presenters to submit full draft papers
several weeks before the conference.
Bernstein, Henry. 2006. ‘Is There an Agrarian Question in the 21st
Century?’ *Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue canadienne
d??tudes du d?veloppement* 27 (4): 449.
Byres, T. J. 1977. ‘Agrarian transition and the agrarian question.’ *Journal
of Peasant Studies* 4 (3): 258.
Chayanov, A. V, D. Thorner, B. Kerblay, and R. E. F. Smith. 1966 . *On
the theory of peasant economy*. Vol. 111. Irwin.
Goodman, D., & Watts, M. (Eds.). (1997). *Globalising food: agrarian
questions and global restructuring*. Psychology Press.
Henderson, G. (1998). Nature and fictitious capital: the historical
geography of an agrarian question. *Antipode*, *30*(2), 73-118.
Kautsky, Karl. 1988. *The Agrarian Question: in Two Volumes*. Zwan
Mann, Susan. 1990. *Agrarian capitalism in theory and practice*. Chapel
Hill: UNC Press Books.
McMichael, P. 1997. Rethinking globalization: the agrarian question
revisited. *Review of International PoIiticaI Economy*, *4*(4), 630-662.
McMichael. 2013. Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions. Winnipeg: Fernwood