Monocultures are a pillar of the modern world. They provide the lion’s share of food and a significant part of the non-food resources that underpin life in the global twenty-first century. But their triumph did not lack ambiguities. Numerous studies have provided us with a good understanding of the toll that monocultures have taken on landscapes, socioeconomic systems and minds. What is understood less well is the underlying rationale: why did agriculturalists and foresters in otherwise different parts of the world gravitate towards a reliance on one single commodity?
Answering this question is at the heart of the new project “The Making of Monoculture: A Global History” (MaMoGH). Generously funded by an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, MaMoGH is dedicated to a bottom-up approach. We want to engage with different monocultures all over the world and explore the same set of questions: who were the agents that typically pushed towards monoculture? What were their interests and mindsets, and how did they change over time? And how did people and institutions cope with the manifold problems of monoculture? For all the diversity of farming and forest systems around the world, we contend that there are recurring features in the making of monocultures that this project seeks to identify and analyze in their significance, requirements, and consequences.
MaMoGH extends an invitation to all scholars who are currently working on pertinent historical projects. We plan to organize workshops and other events in due course, and we want to create a greater awareness of ongoing research around the world. We will also offer job opportunities for post-doctoral researchers in the near future, and we are open to conversations about project ideas if you plan to apply.
If you want to become part of our network, please use the following link and provide us with some information about yourself and your project.
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