Agrarian Studies Conference


Conference Schedule

Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue
September 14–15, 2013
Yale University
Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave.

Newly available and updated: PDF of the Printed Conference Program

View or download the Conference Program (PDF opens in new window). Program is also presented below.

Sessions take place at Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue (from the New Haven Hotel, about a 20-minute walk or 5-minute taxi ride).

Conference Program

Saturday September 14th

8:00 Coffee and Breakfast

9:00-9:15 Opening/framing address:

James C. Scott, Co-Director of the Yale University Agrarian Studies Program

Plenary Session:

Chair: James K. Boyce, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

9:15-10:30 Keynote addresses
  • Paul Nicholson, La Via Campesina
  • Teodor Shanin, The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences
  • Bina Agarwal, Manchester University, UK
  • Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
10:30-11:00 Plenary discussion

11:00–11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-13:00 Parallel Sessions I:
Parallel Sessions I-A: Food sovereignty in North America: dynamics of race, class & ethnicity; producer-consumer relationships

Chair: Dominique Caouette, University of Montreal

  • Annette Desmarais, University of Manitoba, and Hannah Wittman, University of British Columbia, Farmers, Foodies, & First Nations: Getting to Food Sovereignty in Canada
  • Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Goucher College, The New American Farmer: The Agrarian Question, Food Sovereignty and Immigrant Mexican Growers in The United States
  • Meleiza Figueroa, University of California, Berkeley, Food Sovereignty in Everyday Life: A “People-Centered” Approach to Food Systems
  • Molly Anderson, College of the Atlantic, The Role of US Consumers and Producers in Food Sovereignty
  • Hilda E. Kurtz, University of Georgia, in collaboration with Heather Retberg and Bonnie Preston, Scaling Biopolitics: Enacting Food Sovereignty in Maine (USA)
  • Alison Hope Alkon, University of the Pacific, California, Food Justice, Food Sovereignty and the Challenge of Neoliberalism
Parallel Session I-B: ‘Food sovereignty, gender relations, and (human) rights
Room 1

Chair: Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), New Delhi, India

  • Carolyn Sachs, Penn State University, Feminist Food Sovereignty: Crafting a New Vision
  • Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, The agrarian transition and the ‘feminization’ of agriculture
  • Hyojeong Kim, Ewha Womans University, South Korea, Women's Indigenous Knowledge and Food Sovereignty: Experiences from KWPA's Movement in South Korea
  • Priscilla Claeys, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, From Food Sovereignty to Peasants’ Rights: an Overview of Via Campesina’s rights-based claims over the last 20 years>
  • Rachel Bezner Kerr, Cornell University, Esther Lupafya and Lizzie Shumba, Food Sovereignty, Gender and Nutrition: Perspectives from Malawi
  • Clara Park, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, Julia, University of Bonn, and Ben White, ISS, The Hague, We are not all the same: taking gender seriously in food sovereignty discourse
Parallel Session I-C: Culture & traditions in food production & consumption and implications for food sovereignty
Room 2

Chair: Annie Shattuck, Food First and UC Berkeley

  • Devon Sampson, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Chelsea Wills, Culturally appropriate food: Researching cultural aspects of food sovereignty
  • Alder Keleman, Yale University, A Tale of Three Habas Pejtos, Or, How to Make a ‘Plurinational’ Cuisine
  • Jill Richardson, Do Purchases Motivated by Symbolic and Social Needs Undermine Food Sovereignty?
  • Maggie Dickinson, City University of New York (CUNY), Beyond the Minimally Adequate Diet: Food Stamps and Food Sovereignty in the US
  • Asfia Gulrukh Kamal and Shirley Thompson, University of Manitoba, Recipe for decolonization and resurgence: Story of O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation’s indigenous food sovereignty movement
  • Kasia Paprocki, Cornell University, and Jason Cons, Bucknell University, Life in a Shrimp Zone: Aqua- and Other Cultures in Bangladesh’s Coastal Landscape

13:00–14:00 Lunch break

14:00–16:00 Plenary Session

Chair: Tony Weis, University of Western Ontario, Canada

  • Henry Bernstein, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, Food sovereignty: a skeptical view
  • Jack Kloppenburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Re-Purposing the Master’s Tools: The Open Source Seed Initiative and the Struggle for Seed Sovereignty
  • Harriet Friedmann, University of Toronto, Beyond the Price Paradox: Towards Deepening the Ecological/Material Foundations of Alliances Across the Food System
  • Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, Peasant-driven agricultural growth and food sovereignty
  • Raj Patel, Fellow, Food First; Research Fellow, KwaZulu Natal Univ., Durban, The Where of Food Sovereignty
Brief responses
  • Mamadou Goita, ROPPA (West Africa Farmers’ Alliance)
  • Martha Jane Robbins, National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Canada

16:00-16:15 Coffee Break

16:15-18:00 Parallel Sessions II
Parallel Sessions II-A: Technology, seed, water & food sovereignty
Room 1

Chair: Ye Jingzhong, China Agricultural University, Beijing

  • Elizabeth Fitting, Dalhousie University, Canada, Maize as sovereignty: Anti-GM activists in Mexico and Colombia
  • Birgit Muller, LAIOS Laboratoire de l’anthropologie des institutions et organisations sociales CNRS/EHESS, Paris, The Temptation of Nitrogen. FAO Guidance for Food Sovereignty in Nicaragua
  • Karine Peschard, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Farmers’ Rights & Food Sovereignty: Critical Insights from India
  • Brian Dowd-Uribe, University of Peace, Costa Rica, Carla Roncoli, Ben Orlove, Colin T. West, Is market gardening compatible with food sovereignty? Insights from a case study of small-scale micro-irrigated vegetable production in southwest Burkina Faso
  • Barbara Lynch, Georgia Institute of Technology, Water Access, Food Sovereignty and Peru’s Water Regime
  • Craig Harris, Michigan State University, King of the Sea: Seafood Sovereignty and the Blue Revolution
Parallel Sessions II-B: Food sovereignty: framing strategies
Room 2

Chair: Ryan Isakson, University of Toronto

  • Haroon Akram Lodhi, Trent University, How to build food sovereignty
  • Aeyal Gross, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, We Didn’t Want to Hear About Calories’: Rethinking Food Security, Food Power and Food Sovereignty — Lessons from the Gaza Closure
  • Kathryn De Master, University of California, Berkeley, Navigating De- and Re-Peasantization: Limitations of a Universal Food Sovereignty Approach for Polish Smallholders
  • Hugh Lacey, Universidade de São Paulo & Swarthmore College, Food sovereignty and safeguarding food security for everyone: issues for scientific investigation
  • Alastair Iles and Maywa Montenegro, University of California, Berkeley, Building Relational Sovereignty Across Scales: an example from the Peruvian Andes
  • Margarita Fernandez, V. Ernesto Mendez, and Christopher Bacon, University of Vermont and Santa Clara University, Seasonal hunger in coffee communities: Integrated analysis of livelihoods, agroecology, and food sovereignty with smallholders of Mexico and Nicaragua
  • Joan Mencher, City University of New York (CUNY), Food Sovereignty: How it turns the growing corporate global food system upside down!
Parallel Session II-C: Food sovereignty & the role of the State

Chair: Surichai Wun’gaeo, Chulalongkorn Univ., Thailand

  • Sejuti Dasgupta, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, With flowers and capsicum in the driver’s seat, food sovereignty is impossible: a comparison of the politics of agricultural policy in two Indian states, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh
  • Richard Mbunda, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, The developmental state and food sovereignty in Tanzania
  • Ben McKay, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, & Ryan Nehring, Cornell University, The ‘State’ of Food Sovereignty in Latin America: Political Projects and Alternative Pathways in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia
  • Jenny Ceridwen Cockburn, University of Windsor, Bolivia’s Food Sovereignty & Agrobiodiversity: Undermining the Local to Strengthen the State?
  • Patrick Clark, Carleton University, Food Sovereignty, Post-Neoliberalism, Campesino Organizations and the State in Ecuador
  • Dwijen Rangnekar, University of Warwick, UK, The cunning state of farmers’ rights in India: an epistemic lock-in with corporate agriculture
  • Aaron Kappeler, University of Toronto, The Perils of Peasant Populism: Why Redistributive Land Reform and “Food Sovereignty” Can’t Feed Venezuela

18:00–18:30 — Plenary Session:

Chair: Eric Holt-Gimenez, Food First

Mega book launch
Short reflections: 40th anniversary of The Journal of Peasant Studies
  • Teodor Shanin
  • Henry Bernstein
  • Madeleine Fairbairn
20th anniversary of La Via Campesina
  • Paul Nicholson

Sunday September 15th 2013

8:00 Coffee and Breakfast

9:00-11:00 — Plenary Session

Chair, Nancy Lee Peluso, University of California, Berkeley

  • Marc Edelman, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, Food sovereignty: an appreciation and critique
  • Phil McMichael, Cornell University, Historicizing food sovereignty: a food regime analysis
  • Jennifer Clapp, University of Waterloo, Canada, Financialization, Distance and Global Food Politics
  • Mark Bomford, Yale Sustainable Food Project
  • Peter Rosset, ECOSUR, Mexico, Rural Social Movements and Agroecology: Food Sovereignty, Diálogo de Saberes, Peasant Territories and Re-peasantization
Brief responses
  • Blain Snipstal, Rural Coalition USA; La Via Campesina
  • Malik Yakini, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-13:00 Parallel Sessions III
Parallel Session III-A: Property, dispossession, differentiation
Room 1

Chair: John Gershman, New York University

  • Kai Thaler, Harvard University, Land Grabbing and Social Conflict in Africa
  • Elizabeth Havice, University of North Carolina, & Liam Campling, Queen Mary, University of London, The politics of property in industrial fisheries
  • Zoe Brent, Food First, California farmland protection and land access: The use of agricultural easements in the context of food and land sovereignty
  • Kevin Woods, University of California, Berkeley, Contesting the Emerging Agro-Industrial Complex in Asia's 'Final Frontier': The War on Food Sovereignty in Burma
  • Jim Handy, University of Saskatchewan, The “noneconomy” and the Radical Dreams of Food Sovereignty
  • Giuliano Martiniello, Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University, Uganda, Food Sovereignty as a Weapon of the Weak? Rethinking the Food Question in Uganda
Parallel Session III-B: Globalization, trade & food sovereignty

Chair: Mindi Schneider, Johns Hopkins University & International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague

  • Kim Burnett, University of Waterloo, & Sophia Murphy, University of British Columbia, What Place for International Trade in Food Sovereignty?
  • Christopher Bacon, Santa Clara University, Contested Sustainable Value Chain Governance: Smallholder cooperatives navigate the split in fair trade and start the struggle for food sovereignty
  • Antonio Turrent Fernández, Timothy A. Wise, and Elise Garvey, Tufts University, Achieving Mexico’s Maize Potential
  • Max Spoor, Natalia Mamonova, Oane Visser, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, and Alexander Nikulin, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Moscow, Food Security in a Sovereign State and “Quiet Food Sovereignty” of an Insecure Population: The Case of Post-Soviet Russia
  • Enrique Ochoa, California State University, Feast and Famine: The Growth of Corporate Wealth and Food Insecurity in Neoliberal Mexico
  • Guadalupe Rodriguez Gomez, CIESAS, Guadalajara, Mexico, The Debate Over Food Sovereignty in Mexico
Parallel Session III-C: Changing global context: climate change, extractivism, capital accumulation, & financialization of agriculture & implications food sovereignty
Room 2

Chair: Todd Holmes, Yale Agrarian Studies; & Stanford University

  • Jesse Ribot, University of Illinois, Risk and Blame in the Anthropocene: Multi-scale Climate Change Analysis
  • Madeleine Fairbairn, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Like gold with yield”: Evolving intersections between farmland and finance
  • Ryan Isakson, University of Toronto, Financialization and the Transformation of Agro-food Supply Chains: A Political Economy
  • Tanya Kerssen, Food First, Food Sovereignty and the Quinoa Boom: Policy narratives, agrarian change and community-based resistance in Bolivia
  • Elizabeth Starr, Yale University, Rethinking investment dynamics: An alternative framework of the global land rush
  • Charalampos Konstantinidis, University of Massachusetts Boston, Capitalism in (Green) Disguise: The Political Economy of Organic Farming in the European Union

13:00–14:15 Lunch

14:15-15:00: Concluding Plenary Panel

Chair, Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, India

  • Kathy Ozer, National Family Farms Coalition (NFFC), USA
  • Maryam Rahmanian, Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment, Iran; Vice Chair, UN CFS High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition
  • Bob St. Peter, Food for Maine's Future, Maine, USA
  • Todd Holmes, Yale Agrarian Studies, and Stanford University
  • Eric Holt-Gimenez, Food First, Oakland, California
Closing remarks:

Kalyanakrishnan (‘Shivi’) Sivaramakrishnan, Co-Director of Yale Agrarian Studies

*Note on the format for plenary and parallel sessions:

We want to have ample time for conversation, exchange of ideas, vibrant discussion. The format we will adopt is one that allows radically less time for authors’ presentations. Authors in the plenary and parallel sessions will have not more than 7 minutes to introduce their papers, summarize the highlights of their findings/arguments. Full draft papers are available at the conference website, and we expect participants to have read the papers before the conference.

Conference Program Facilitators:
  • Andrew Offenburger, Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University
  • Christina Schiavoni, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague
  • Annie Shattuck, Food First and University of California Berkeley
  • Michael Levien, Johns Hopkins University