Agriculture and the production of the Global South, 1900s-1960s

Agriculture and the production of the Global South, 1900s-1960s

Käte Hamburger Research Centre global dis:connect
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Takes place
In Attendance
From - Until
04.04.2024 - 05.04.2024
Paula Vedoveli, Judd Kinzley, Käte Hamburger Research Centre global dis:connect, LMU München

Workshop at the Käte Hamburger Research Centre global dis:connect, LMU Munich

4-5 April 2024

Agriculture and the production of the Global South, 1900s-1960s

The importance of agriculture and extractive industries to the making of the Global South in the 20th century has been obfuscated by the resonance of modernisation theory, dependency theory and development economics since the Second World War. A powerful consensus about the validity of these theories during the Cold War prompted development agencies, international organisations, epistemic communities and national governments, among others, to pursue policies that promoted industrialisation and urbanisation. This consensus forged a powerful, enduring distinction between ‘agricultural’ economies and ‘agrarian’ societies and their ‘industrial’ and ‘modern’ counterparts. The residues of this distinction, which have been reflected in debates over centre and periphery, Global South and Global North, continue to exert a powerful grip on how we think about the possible forms of social, political and economic organisation.

This workshop is motivated by the idea that this distinction is ahistorical and does not capture the prevalence of alternative economic futures envisioned by actors in what is known today as the Global South in the pre- and early post-World War II period. We take such visions as a departure point for this workshop to examine the emergence of agricultural nations and their increased relevance for international economic and political stability amid pervasive concerns about food scarcity and the growth of the global population in the first half of the 20th century. We use the term ‘agricultural nation’ expansively to denote political communities that relied on agriculture, livestock and extractive industries rather than on manufacturing or the services industry as their primary sources of income. The workshop also aims to invite participants covering diverse regions.

Potential topics may include but are not limited to:

- The development of knowledge infrastructures and epistemic communities that helped support or challenge the trajectories of agricultural nations
- The institutional (political, economic, and social) development of agricultural nations at the local or national levels
- The material infrastructure that made the project of agricultural nations possible
- How international monetary regimes and financial infrastructures shaped the pathways to the constitution of agricultural economies
- The role of agriculture and extractive industries in nation-making, state-building and state-formation in the Global South
- The place of agriculture and extractive industries in the anticolonial movement and in processes of decolonization
- The institutionalization of global dis:connections within the Global South and between agricultural and industrial nations
- The place of agriculture and extractive industries at international organizations, in transnational movements, and in emerging regimes of global governance

Proposals should include a provisional title and an abstract of <300 words and a one-page CV. Please send these documents in one PDF file to and by 22 December 2023.

Accommodation and catering will be provided for the duration of the workshop, and some support for travel may be available. Please let us know in your email whether you require financial support to help defray travel expenses. The workshop is planned as an on-site event, but remote participation may be available for those who cannot attend in person

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