Research & Publications


My research is on environmental anthropology, political ecology, food studies, and science & technology studies.  I am particularly interested in the social and political aspects of agricultural systems; agricultural sustainability; intensification and industrialization;  indigenous knowledge; responses to population increase; agricultural biotechnology; and alternative food/farming systems.  I have worked on past and contemporary nonindustrialized farmers in West Africa, India, the Philippines, and North America.  Major funding for my research has come from the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and Washington University.

One focus of my present research is on the genetically modified crops in developing countries. After working in a laboratory specializing in transformation of tropical crops, and completing a multi-year, multi-village field study of Andhra Pradesh farmers as GM cotton was being adopted, I am conducting a project on indigenous knowledge and technology change among rice and cotton farmers in India and the Philippines (including “Golden Rice”).  A second research focus is on the new small farm movement in North America, including the economic and ecological aspects of sustainability and historical perspectives on small farmers in Appalachia.  A third focus of current work is on the politics of agricultural research and interventions.

Earlier research projects examined social and agricultural change among Kofyar and Tiv populations in Nigeria.  With the Kofyar I analyzed the social organization of labor and landscape in an intensive, sustainable system. Research on the Tiv showed different responses to land scarcity, including conflict and the manipulation of local political processes to avoid intensification.  I have also worked on Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazis), especially political and agricultural responses to population increase.

For a full citations, see the CV.

2017

Dreading CRISPR: GMO’s, Honest Brokers, and Mertonian Transgressions(Geographical Review)

Agricultural Intensification (International Encyclopedia of Anthropology)

The Ox Fall Down: Path Breaking and Technology Treadmills in Indian Cotton Agriculture. (Journal of Peasant Studies; with A. Flachs).

Heirloom Rice in Ifugao: An Anti-commodity in the Process of Commodification (Journal of Peasant Studies; with D. Glover).  (See "Stick-It-To-The-Man Rice" in The Tropicalist.)

GIS as a Tool for Spatial Modeling in Warangal Cotton Seed Fad Patterns and Farmer Decision-Making (Human Ecology; with A Flachs and C. Shaffer).

2016

Towards a General Theory of Agricultural Knowledge Production: Environmental, Social and Didactic Learning (Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment)

Disembedding Grain: Golden Rice, the Green Revolution, and Heirloom Seeds in the Philippines (Agriculture & Human Values; with D. Glover)

CRISPR and the Monsanto problem (Fieldquestions)

Review of Becoming Salmon: Aquaculture and the Domestication of a Fish (American Anthropologist)

2015

Biotechnology, Schismogenesis, and the Demise of Uncertainty (Journal of Law & Policy)

Seeking Sustainability for Smallholders: Bt Cotton in India (in Africa’s Future: Can Biosciences Contribute; with A. Flachs)

The FoxNewsization of GMO's  (EnviroSociety)

Bringing a Superfood Down to Earth (FieldQuestions)

2014

Biosecurity in the Age of Genetic Engineering (Bioinsecurity and Human Vulnerability)

The Problem with the Farmers Voice (Agriculture & Human Values; with A. Flachs)

Japanese Agricultural Show Village (FieldQuestions)

2013

Rhythms of the Herd (Technology in Society; with A. Flachs and C. Diepenbrock)

Overpopulation and Small Farmers of Oakwood (Fieldquestions)

Trials of Genetically Modified Food (Food Culture & Society; with C. Kudlu)

Response to Herring and Rao (Economic and Political Weekly)

Review of Seeds, Science and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops (Technology and Culture)
 

Agriculture (Oxford Bibliographies; with A. Flachs)
 

2012

Constructing Facts: Bt Cotton in India (Economic & Political Weekly)

GM Crops: From St Louis to India (Anthropology News)

Review of The Slaw and the Slow Cooked: Culture and Barbecue (Culture, Agriculture, Food & Environment)

2011

Field vs Farm in Warangal: Bt Cotton, Higher Yields, and Larger Questions (World Development)

Contradictions in the Last Mile: Suicide, Culture & E-Agriculture (Science, Technology & Human Values)

Genetically Modified Crops and the Food Crisis: Discourse and Material Impacts (Development in Practice; with D. Glover)

Review of Fighting for the Future of Food: Activists vs Agribusiness in the Struggle over Biotechnology (Agricultural History)

2010

Anthropology of Genetically Modified Crops (Annual Review of Anthropology)

Neo-Malthusianism (Encyclopedia of Geography)

2007

Agricultural Deskilling and the Spread of Genetically Modified Cotton in Warangal (Current Anthropology)

The Birth and Death of Traditional Knowledge: Paradoxical Effects of Biotechnology in India (Biodiversity & the Law: Intellectual Property, Biotechnology and Traditional Knowledge)

Entries on Golden Rice, Genetically Modified Organisms, Malthusianism, and Cotton (Encyclopedia of Environment & Society)

Entry on Indigenous Knowledge (Encyclopedia of Environment & Society; with R.d'Avignon)

Reply to comments on "Agricultural Deskilling and the Spread of Genetically Modified Cotton in Warangal" (Current Anthropology)

2005

A Science of the Gray: Malthus, Marx, and the Ethics of Studying Crop Biotechnology (Embedding Ethics: Shifting Boundaries of the Anthropological Profession)

2004

Social Constraints on Biotechnology in Developing Countries (AgBioForum)

Biotechnology and the Political Ecology of Information in India (Human Organization)

Fieldnotes as a Website: Integrating Multimedia into Anthropological Documents (Field Methods; with G. Barkin)

2002

Both Sides Now: Fallacies in the Genetic-Modification Wars, Implications for Developing Countries, Anthropological Perspectives (Current Anthropology) (enhanced online article with backgrounder)

Biotechnology and Suicide in India (Anthropology News)

2001

Agricultural Change Theory (International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences)

The Causes of Land-use and Land-Cover Change: Moving beyond the Myths (Global Environmental Change; with E. Lambin et al.)

Theory of the Square Chicken: Advances in Agricultural Intensification Theory (Asia Pacific Viewpoint)

Review Essay: Malthus, Agribusiness, and Death of the Peasantry (Current Anthropology)

2000

Kofyar Women Who Get Ahead: Incentives for Agricultural Commercialization in Nigeria (Women Farmers and Commercial Ventures: Increasing Food Security in Developing Countries; with M.P.Stone)

Blurring the Lines and Moving the Camera: The Beginnings of Web-Based Scholarship in Anthropology (Social Science Computer Review; with G.Barkin)

1999

Non-Boserupian Ecology and Agricultural Risk: Ethnic Politics and Land Control in the Arid Southwest (American Anthropologist; with C. Downum)

WINNER: Gordon Willey Prize for best archaeology paper, American Anthropologist 1998-2000.

1998

Keeping the Home Fires Burning: The Changed Nature of Householding in the Kofyar Homeland (Human Ecology)

Settlement Concentration and Dispersal among the Kofyar (Rural Settlement Structure and African Development)

Anthropology: Implications for Form and Content of Web-Based Scholarship (Social Science Computer Review)

1997

Predatory Sedentism: Intimidation and Intensification in the Nigerian Savanna (Human Ecology)

Animated Images: A New Tool for Web-Based Anthropology (Cultural Anthropology Methods)

1996

Settlement Ecology: The Social and Spatial Organization of Kofyar Agriculture (Univ. of Arizona Press)

REVIEWED IN: Amer. Anthrop. 100(1); Amer. Antiquity 63(2); Annals Assoc. Amer. Geog. 88:752; Current Anthrop. 38(5); Geog. Review 87(4); Human Ecology 26(1); J. Regional Science 38 (1); J. of the West 38(1); Land Degradation and Development 12(1).

NAMED AS: Outstanding Publication on Africa, Choice, Feb1999.

1995

The Sexual Division of Labor in Kofyar Agriculture (American Ethnologist; with M. Stone and R. Netting)

Social Organization of Agrarian Labor (Comparative Analysis of Human Societies; with R. Netting and M. Stone)

1994

Agricultural Intensification and Perimetrics: Ethnoarchaeological Evidence from Nigeria (Current Anthropology)

1993

Agricultural Expansion, Intensification, and Market Participation among the Kofyar, Jos Plateau, Nigeria  (In Population Growth and Agricultural Intensification in Africa; with R. Netting and M. Stone)

Agricultural Abandonment: A Comparative Study in Historical Ecology (Abandonment of Settlements and Regions: Ethnoarchaeological and Archaeological Approaches)

Agrarian Settlement and the Spatial Disposition of Labor (Spatial Boundaries and Social Dynamics)

1992

Social Distance, Spatial Relations, and Agricultural Production among the Kofyar of Namu District, Plateau State, Nigeria (Journal of Anthropological Archaeology)

1991

Settlement Ethnoarchaeology (Expedition)

Agricultural Territories in a Dispersed Settlement System (Current Anthropology)

1990

An Ethnoarchaeological Perspective on Soils (World Archaeology; with R.H.Wilshusen)

Seasonality, Labor Scheduling and Agricultural Intensification in the Nigerian Savanna. (American Anthropologist; with R. Netting and M. Stone)

1989

Kofyar Cash Cropping: Choice and Change in Indigenous Agricultural Development (Human Ecology with R. Netting and M. Stone)

REPRINTED IN: Case Studies in Human Ecology (1996), edited by D.Bates and S.Lees, pp. 327-348. Plenum Press, NY.

1984

Household Variability and Inequality in Kofyar Subsistence and Cash-Cropping Economies (Journal of Anthropological Research; with R. Netting and M. Johnson)

REPRINTED IN: Household Economies and Their Transformation (1987), edited by M.Maclachlan, pp. 173-197. Univ. Press of America, Lanham.