Race and Rurality in the Global Economy

This day and a half workshop will examine the contemporary state of development, and the fluid zones of rurality in the world economy through the optic of raciality. It will cover notably Asia, Africa and the Americas including the U. S. and the Caribbean. The arguments considered will pivot on heightened risks and multiple states of insecurity being faced given the forces of globalization and environmental change, and the steady decline in the livelihoods of people of color globally, their deepened vulnerabilities, and the complex reconstitution of systemic and lived racialization within this process.

The conference will bring to the fore-front the status of indigenous peoples, blacks and other people of color and center them in a dialogue investigating the outcomes of development in its various effects, namely culturally, economically, ecologically, and politically. It will advocate a critical studies approach to development that shifts the focus from modernization mantras impelling change from agrarian to industrial status, to probe instead into the various relational fields generating hybrid urban-rural spaces that problematize typical narratives of development. This means critically examining the constitution of spaces through the optics of race, land and rurality; questioning the nature of the development practices and rhetorical promises of development; understanding the racializing production of hi/stories (human identity stories) and the fissures they provoke within imaginations of progress; and critically tracking the haunted quest for sustainability, resilience in the management of global spaces. This intervention will thus enable a better engagement with the vital issues related to the wellbeing of diverse populations of color facing the potentially existential threats from globalization and climate change.

Such an approach to the dual dilemmas of displacement and dispossession that attend to the experiences of racialized subjects increasingly divested of land and livelihood also requires exploring the continuity between the spaces of the rural and the urban. From South Africa to India, the rise of emergent middle classes, the growing pressure on the global food supply, and the re/turn to mass agrarian production exist in tension with rapidly growing processes of urbanization. Disarticulated from the historically pivotal relation to proletarianization and wage employment, cities now serve to accommodate populations that have long relied, till this point, on agricultural production. As such, cities have become home not only to the recently urbanized—formerly rural communities—but cities, in turn, reflect changing patterns in the rural-urban continuum in which the countryside is increasingly given over to industrialization while many urban areas are “ruralized.” To the degree this is the case, “land,” as spaces of belonging as well as site for resource conflicts, struggles for place and development projects functions as a central problem field for this conference signaling the changing fates of former agrarians, minorities, and marginals (generally).



Thursday, March 26th

Welcome: Michaeline A. Crichlow (co-organizer)
Remarks by Richard Powell (Dean of Humanities)
Introduction of Keynote
Keynote: 5.50-7.30
Philip McMichael: Land Grabbing in World-Historical Perspective: The Agrarian Question Re-examined

Reception: 7.30-9 pm.

Friday, March 27th

8.45 am: Introduction: Anne-Maria Makhulu (co-organizer)
Welcoming Remarks: Srinivas Aravamudan (President of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes)
Panel #1: 9-11 am: Post-Raciality, and the Politics of Land and Development

Chair: Caela O’Connell (UNC)
Arturo Escobar, “After-Development: Buen Vivir and Transitions to Post-Extractivism in South America
Olivia Maria Gomes da Cunha, ‘A Peesi fu libi’: the Cottica, Ndyuka Families in the Spacetimes of Moengo”
Joost Fontein, “Genealogical geographies, territoriality and the politics of land and belonging in southern Zimbabwe.”
Panel #2: 11.15-1.15pm: Racial Governmentality and the Politics of Space
Chair: Karla Slocum (UNC)
Gabriela Valdivia, “At the margins of oil and revolution: Uneven Development and the Revolución Ciudadana in Ecuador”
Patricia Northover & Michaeline  A. Crichlow, “Land Grabs, Racial Governmentality: Mapping the effect of ‘sweetness and power’ in Africa”
Daniel B. Ahlquist & Amanda L. Flaim, “Race, Space and Inequality: An Internal Periphery in Upland Northern Thailand.”
LUNCH 1.15-2pm
Panel #3: 2-4pm: States in Development and Agrarian Spaces
Chair: Jessica Namakkal (Duke University)
Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, “Agrarian Spaces, Race and Surveillance: Latino Immigrant Farmers and Exclusionism at the US department of Agriculture”
James Giblin, “A Developmentalist State Frustrates Development: Rural Tanzania in the Time of Ujamaa,”
Jeannie Whayne, “Race in the Reconstruction of Rural Society in the Twentieth Century U.S. South”
Panel #4: 4.15-6.15pm: Precarious Time-Spaces and Racialized Inequalities
Chair: Wahneema Lubiano (Duke University)
Beverley Mullings, “Racialized Youth in Precarious Times: Exploring Endurance and Social Transformation: Beyond the Urban/Rural Divide”
Pandora Thomas, "Pathways to resilience: Transforming the U.S. prison pipeline by using lessons and principles rooted in indigenous wisdom and nature”
Dana E. Powell, “Racing the Reservation: Geopolitics of Identity and Development in the Navajo Nation”
7 pm: Dinner for participants and sponsors

Saturday, March 28th

Panel #5: 9-11am: Revolution, Race-Craft and Rural Development
Chair: Marcos Morales (Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo)
Ray Kea, “An Age of Revolution in the Global Economy: Rethinking Social Struggles and Transformations in Western Africa’s Zones of Rurality (ca. 1500-ca. 1800)”
Wazir Mohamed, “Race/Class Marginalization: Through the Prism of Globalization of the Rice Industry”
Juan Giusti-Cordero, “Land Rurality, and Region: the Mississippi Delta and Loíza (Puerto Rico)”
11.15-1.15pm: Round table: Conversations on Unsettling Race and Rurality in the Global Economy
Moderator: Michaeline A. Crichlow
Participants: Alvaro Reyes, Anne-Maria Makhulu, and Patricia Northover



Philip McMichael

Professor of Development Sociology
Cornell University

Philip McMichael is the Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University. His book ,Settlers and The Agrarian Question: Foundations of Capitalism in Colonial Australia, won the 1995 Social Science History Association's Allan Sharlin Memorial Award. He has served as Director of Cornell University's International Political Economy Program, as Chair of the American Sociological Association's Political Economy of the World-System Section, and President of the Research Committee on the Sociology of Agriculture and Food for the International Sociological Association. 

Daniel B. Ahiquist

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Duke University

Daniel B. Ahlquist is a post-doctoral fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where he teaches about food systems, conservation and environmental justice through the lenses of political ecology and environmental sociology. His research explores the intersection of forest conservation, state and market integration, and agrarian change in upland ethnic minority communities in northern Thailand. Daniel is a 2015 Trillium Sustainability Fellow and the faculty program director for DukeEngage’s sustainability-oriented summer service program in Portland, OR. He holds a PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University.

Michaeline Crichlow

Duke University

Michaeline Crichlow, Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke University, is interested in projects related to citizenship, nationalism and development mainly in the Atlantic and Pacific regions. My current projects are focused on the sorts of claims that populations deemed diasporic make on states, and how these reconfigure their communities and general sociocultural practices. I am also interested in development's impact on social and economic environments, and the way this structures and restructures people's assessments of their spaces for the articulation and pursuit of particular kinds of freedoms. I have attempted to project these perspectives in my recent book, "Globalization and the Postcreole Imagination: Notes on Fleeing the Plantation" (July 2009) and my current project: "Governing the Present: Vistas, Violence and the Politics of Place" that examines the quests for place and freedoms among populations in the Caribbean, Pacific and South Africa.

Olivia Maria Gomes da Cunha

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Olivia Maria Gomes da Cunha is a professor of anthropology at the National Museum, in the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In addition to writing numerous articles in magazines and academic books,  she published Intent and Gesture: Person, Color and Daily Production of (in) Difference in Rio de Janeiro, 1927-1942 (Award National Archives, 2002) and co-hosted Near-Citizen: stories and anthropologies of the Post-Emancipation (FGV, 2007).

Arturo Escobar

UNC- Chapel Hill

Arturo Escobar is the Kenan Distinguished Teaching Professor of Anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. He holds a B.S. in  chemical engineering from the University of Valle in Cali, Colombia, a Master's Degree in food science and international nutrition at Cornell University, and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in Development Philosophy, Policy and Planning. His academic research interests include political ecology, anthropology of development, social movements, anti-globalization movements, and post-development theory .He is the author of Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World, winner of the Best Book Award from the New England Council of Latin American Studies.

Amanda Flaim

Post-Doctoral Associate
Duke University

Amanda Flaim is a post-doctoral associate in the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Social Science Research Institute, and Duke Population Research Institute at Duke University.  Her research examines issues and theories of statelessness in Thailand and Nepal, as well as the growing agenda to address statelessness at a global scale.  Prior to coming to Duke, she served as Lead Research Consultant on Statelessness to UNHCR, Nepal and UNESCO, Thailand, and was a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellow in Thailand.

Joost Fontein

Director of British Institute in Eastern Africa
University of Edinburgh

Joost Fontein is Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, on a five year secondment from Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. His research explores the political and material imbrications of landscapes, things and human substances in Zimbabwe, where he has done carried out several extended periods of ethnographic fieldwork since the late 1990s. His doctoral fieldwork in southern Zimbabwe (2000-2001) explored the politics of heritage and landscape around Great Zimbabwe National Monument. Winning the ASA UK Audrey Richards Prize in 2004 this was published as a monograph in 2006. His second monograph Remaking Mutirikwi: Landscape, Water and Belonging is coming out May 2015, and explores the political materialities of belonging in the context of Zimbabwe’s ‘Fast Track’ land reform programme, around a modern dam in Southern Zimbabwe. He is also completing another book entitled The Politics of the Dead & the Power of Uncertainty: Essays on materiality, rumours and human remains in Post-2000 Zimbabwe which explores the affective presence and emotive materialities of human remains.

James Giblin

University of Iowa

James Giblin is on the History Department at the University of Iowa. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.His primary research interest is Tanzania and East Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. In recent years he has held major fellowships from Fulbright-Hays, the Faculty Scholar program of the University of Iowa, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His current work includes co-direction of a collaborative research project on the oral history of the Maji Maji war, a major rebellion against German colonialism in Tanzania during 1905-06.

Juan Giusti

UPR - Rio Piedras

Juan Giusti is a Professor of history at the UPR - Rio Piedras. He has a doctorate in Sociology from SUNY-Binghamton and a degree in law from the UPR. He directed the Center for urban action, community and business of river stones (runway). He has published several articles on the social history of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean; and advised community groups in Piñones (Loíza) and Vieques. He is co-editor of Sugarlandia Revisited: Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas, 1800-1940 (2007).

Ray Kea

University of California, Riverside

Ray Kea received his B.A. degree from Howard University, a diploma in History from the University of Copenhagen, his M.A. with Distinction from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, and his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He taught African history at The Johns Hopkins University and at Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges. He currently teaches at University of California, Riverside. Kea's research is focused on the history of West Africa and Ghana between the 15th and 19th century.

Anne-Maria Makhulu

Assistant Professor
Duke University

Anne-Maria Makhulu is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies at Duke University. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2003. Her research interests cover: Africa and more specifically South Africa, cities, space, globalization, political economy, occult economies, neoliberalism, Marxism, anthropology of finance, as well as questions of aesthetics, including the literature and cinema of South Africa. She recently completed work on a book manuscript entitled "The Geography of Freedom: Revolution and the South African City" (under review). The project examines the status and meaning of the South African city under apartheid and immediately after the transition to democracy focusing on the ways in which matters of citizenship, labor, and race critically intersected with the “urban,” and thereby came to constitute it as a strategic space in which marginal subjects, specifically, the black metropolitan poor, sought to make claims on the apartheid state.

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern's research and teaching explore the interactions between food and racial justice, rural development, and transnational environmental and agricultural policy. She has extensive experience working on sustainable development and agricultural biodiversity projects abroad, combined with work on migrant health issues domestically. She explores immigrant and refugee farmers' roles in agrarian change in the United States today. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and B.A. from Cornell University where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in sustainable agriculture and development and a concentration in Latin American studies.

Wazir Mohamed

Richmond Human Rights Commission

Wazir Mohamed holds a B.S. in Communication from the University of Guyana, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Binghamton University. His interests include the intersection of Atlantic slavery, particularly with the rise of slavery in the age of abolition, the second slavery in Cuba, Brazil, and the USA with the persistence of ethnic divisions and marginalization of the descendants of slaves in the African Diaspora of the Caribbean and the Americas. He is heavily involved in community work and social justice activism at the local, national, and international levels of society, which ranges from participation as Chair of the Richmond Human Rights Commission to involvement with local churches in the Children of Abraham Study Committee.

Beverley Mullings

Associate Professor
Queen's University

Beverley Mullings, Associate Professor at Queen's University, research focuses on the field of feminist political economy and engages questions of labor, social transformation, neoliberalism, and the politics of gender, race and class in the Caribbean and its diaspora. She is broadly interested in the ways that evolving neoliberal regimes are recasting and transforming work, divisions of labor, patterns of urban governance and ultimately, responses to social and economic injustice. She is committed to understanding how people located at the intersections of overlapping systems of oppression are affected by and respond to the exclusions produced by these transformations.

Patricia Northover

Senior Fellow
Sir Arthur Lewis Insitute of Social and Economic Studies

Patricia Northover specializes in Development studies and is a Senior Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES, UWI, Mona, Jamaica). She received her doctorate in economics and philosophy at the University of Cambridge. She has been a Fellow of Girton College at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow at Duke University with the Race, Space and Place project. She published Globalization and the Post-Creole Imagination: Notes on Fleeing the Plantation with Michaeline Chrichlow. Her forthcoming book is, Growth Theory: Critical Philosophical Perspectives (Routledge).

Dana Powell

Assistant Professor
Appalachian State University

Dana Powell is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University. Her areas of interest include cultural politics of energy development; social studies of science and technology; political ecology; politics of knowledge and expertise; indigeneity and Native America; feminism and gender; identity and subjectivity; social movements; ethnographic methodology and engaged scholarship.

Pandora Thomas

Earthseed Consulting LLC

Pandora Thomas’ life and work is rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands on environmental education experiences. She is passionate about deepening her and others connection to the natural rhythms of our earth in order to heal our communities. She is co-founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work deepens the impacts of environmental advocacy in the lives of diverse communities. Her education has sought to link issues such as global affairs, women's rights, the environment and sustainability, racial justice, and youth empowerment. She studied at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and Tufts University.

Gabriela Valdivia


Gabriela Valdivia's research focuses on issues of development, identity, and natural resources in Latin America. I draw on political ecology and critical resource geography to examine environmental governance in the Andean-Amazon region, specifically Ecuador and Bolivia, where economic neoliberalization and volatile socio-political institutions have fueled intense struggles over natural resources. 

Jeannie Whayne

University of Arkansas

Jeannie Whayne is a Professor of History at the University of Arkansas and co-director of the university’s Teaching and Faculty Support Center. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. She has published over a dozen articles and essays on Arkansas, African American, and Southern history. She has served on various college and university committees and is a past chair of the Campus Faculty and the Faculty Senate.. She has been a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians since 2008. In addition, author or editor of ten books, including Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Southern Agriculture, winner of the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award.

Race and Rurality in the Global Economy
March 26, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Duke University

Africa Initiative; Center for Latin America & Caribbean Studies; Dean of Humanities; Dean of Social Sciences; Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke; Duke University Center for International Studies; Department of Sociology; Franklin Humanities Institute; Institute of African American Research (UNC-Chapel Hill); International Comparative Studies; Office of the Provost