logo for Harvard University Press
Against the State
Politics and Social Protest in Japan
David E. Apter and Nagayo Sawa
Harvard University Press, 1984

Reconstructing the dramatic struggle surrounding the building of the New Tokyo (Narita) International Airport near Sanrizuka, this scrutiny of modern protest politics dispels the myth of corporate Japan’s unassailable success. While sensitive to the specific events they describe, the authors provide analyses of broader contemporary issues—the sources of violence in an orderly society and the problems of democratic theory in an institutional setting.

Narita Airport, the largest single government project in Japan, has been the scene of intense conflict over what might be called the unfinished business of Japan as number one. Since 1965, small groups of farmers have been fighting to protect their land, first from the bulldozers, then from the environmental damage of a modern airport. They were joined in the battle by militants from New Left sects, students, and other protesters representing peace, antinuclear, and antipollution issues. Using field observation, in-depth interviewing, and firsthand experience drawn from living in the “fortresses” surrounding the airport, the authors examine the conflict and violence that ensued. They describe the confrontations from the point of view of each group of participants, pinpointing weaknesses in the Japanese political and bureaucratic systems that prolonged and heightened the struggle: the lack of effective due process, inadequate consultative mechanisms outside elite circles, and the failure of local government to represent local issues.

In a broad adaptation of their findings, David Apter and Nagayo Sawa show that the problems of the Narita situation are also endemic to other industrialized countries. Their discussion of violent protest in advanced societies explores how it evolves, who is caught up in it, and the ways that governments respond. Finally, they identify the limitations of contemporary social science theories in addressing in human terms such volcanic eruptions. To overcome these shortcomings they combine several approaches—structural, experiential, and functional—and devise alternative ways to enter the day-to-day lives of the people studied.

Against the State in no way diminishes the magnitude of Japan’s accomplishments. However, the authors find in the Narita protest evidence of that country’s still unfelt need to address its most abstract and pressing moral concerns. Their book raises important questions about the nature of extra-institutional protest and authority in modern states.

[more]

logo for The Ohio State University Press
BLACK SWAMP FARM
HOWARD E. GOOD
The Ohio State University Press, 1997
Howard E. Good was born on a farm in an area of the Maumee Valley in northwestern Ohio known as the Black Swamp, a remnant of the violence of the Ice Age and its glaciers, from which farmland had to be wrested by long and arduous labor and where only the stouthearted had any hope of success. In Black Swamp Farm, a stirring memoir of his early days, Good recounts a now vanished way of life.

Good remembers playing shinny with clamp-on skates and a tin can that had been stomped until it could whiz across the ice given just the right combination of speed and accuracy. He tells of the boom of the steam engine as it pulled the threshing machine to a neighboring farm on a hot summer day, and of the excitement of riding high on a wagonload of hay, gazing down on the horses’ broad, shining backs. He describes the springtime task of making soap, the ritual of the shivaree, and the pleasure of the church ice-cream social. He remembers well—and chronicles for the reader—the unproclaimed achievements of men and women whose courage and grueling toil brought them rich rewards.

First published in 1967, this reprint makes available once again a faithful portrayal of Black Swamp—a place that no longer exists—and provides a treasure trove of history for Ohioans.
 
[more]

front cover of Broken Heartland
Broken Heartland
The Rise of America's Rural Ghetto
Osha Gray Davidson
University of Iowa Press, 1996

Between 1940 and the mid 1980s, farm production expenses in America's Heartland tripled, capital purchases quadrupled, interest payments jumped tenfold, profits fell by 10 percent, the number of farmers decreased by two-thirds, and nearly every farming community lost population, businesses, and economic stability. Growth for these desperate communities has come to mean low-paying part-time jobs, expensive tax concessions, waste dumps, and industrial hog farming, all of which come with environmental and psychological price tags. In Broken Heartland, Osha Gray Davidson chronicles the decline of the Heartland and its transformation into a bitterly divided and isolated regional ghetto. Through interviews with more than two hundred farmers, social workers, government officials, and scholars, he puts a human face on the farm crisis of the 1980s.

In this expanded edition Davidson emphasizes the tenacious power of far-right-wing groups; his chapter on these burgeoning rural organizations in the original edition of Broken Heartland was the first in-depth look—six years before of the Oklahoma City bombing—at the politics of hate they nurture. He also spotlights NAFTA, hog lots, sustainable agriculture, and the other battles and changes over the past six years in rural America.

[more]

front cover of Campesinos
Campesinos
Inside the Soul of Cuba
Chip Cooper and Julio Larramendi
University of Alabama Press, 2017
Deep inside the soul of Cuba are the campesinos—the men and women who have always worked the countryside across the length and breadth of Cuba, away from cities, towns, and often villages. Resilient, resourceful, and proud, campesinos are the heart and soul of Cuba. The fruit of years of travel among Cuba’s less-known and little-explored rural communities, Campesinos: Inside the Soul of Cuba is a collection of loving and intimate photographs by world-renowned photographers Chip Cooper and Julio Larramendi documenting people and places from every corner of the island nation, many never seen by Cubans themselves let alone visitors from abroad.
 
Into the center of this world traveled two photographers to document these extraordinary people. One, Julio Larramendi, was born in Cuba and has spent his whole life there. The other, Chip Cooper, came to visit for the first time from his native Alabama more than a decade ago. Together, Cooper and Larramendi have captured the light, sounds, and spirit of the campesino landscape and the humble and determined people who inhabit it, ways of living that have not changed, in many instances, for a century or more. From green tobacco fields and winding roads to the faces, both stern and smiling, of children and their close-knit families, Cooper and Larramendi have captured in this landmark volume the rhythms and traditions of contemporary rural Cuban life in ways never before documented.
[more]

front cover of Cities of Farmers
Cities of Farmers
Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes
Julie C. Dawson and Alfonso Morales
University of Iowa Press, 2016
Full-scale food production in cities: is it an impossibility? Or is it a panacea for all that ails urban communities? Today, it’s a reality, but many people still don’t know how much of an impact this emerging food system is having on cities and their residents. This book showcases the work of the farmers, activists, urban planners, and city officials in the United States and Canada who are advancing food production. They have realized that, when it’s done right, farming in cities can enhance the local ecology, foster cohesive communities, and improve the quality of life for urban residents.

Implementing urban agriculture often requires change in the physical, political, and social-organizational landscape. Beginning with a look at how and why city people grew their own food in the early twentieth century, the contributors to Cities of Farmers examine the role of local and regional regulations and politics, especially the creation of food policy councils, in making cities into fertile ground for farming. The authors describe how food is produced and distributed in cities via institutions as diverse as commercial farms, community gardens, farmers’ markets, and regional food hubs. Growing food in vacant lots and on rooftops affects labor, capital investment, and human capital formation, and as a result urban agriculture intersects with land values and efforts to build affordable housing. It also can contribute to cultural renewal and improved health.

This book enables readers to understand and contribute to their local food system, whether they are raising vegetables in a community garden, setting up a farmers’ market, or formulating regulations for farming and composting within city limits.

CONTRIBUTORS
Catherine Brinkley, Benjamin W. Chrisinger, Nevin Cohen, Michèle Companion, Lindsey Day-Farnsworth, Janine de la Salle, Luke Drake, Sheila Golden, Randel D. Hanson, Megan Horst, Nurgul Fitzgerald, Becca B. R. Jablonski, Laura Lawson, Kara Martin, Nathan McClintock, Alfonso Morales, Jayson Otto, Anne Pfeiffer, Anne Roubal, Todd M. Schmit, Erin Silva, Michael Simpson, Lauren Suerth, Dory Thrasher, Katinka Wijsman
 
[more]

front cover of Class and the Color Line
Class and the Color Line
Interracial Class Coalition in the Knights of Labor and the Populist Movement
Joseph Gerteis
Duke University Press, 2007
A lauded contribution to historical sociology, Class and the Color Line is an analysis of social-movement organizing across racial lines in the American South during the 1880s and the 1890s. The Knights of Labor and the Populists were the largest and most influential movements of their day, as well as the first to undertake large-scale organizing in the former Confederate states, where they attempted to recruit African Americans as fellow workers and voters.

While scholars have long debated whether the Knights and the Populists were genuine in their efforts to cross the color line, Joseph Gerteis shifts attention from that question to those of how, where, and when the movements’ organizers drew racial boundaries. Arguing that the movements were simultaneously racially inclusive and exclusive, Gerteis explores the connections between race and the movements’ economic and political interests in their cultural claims and in the dynamics of local organizing.

Interpreting data from the central journals of the Knights of Labor and the two major Populist organizations, the Farmers’ Alliance and the People’s Party, Gerteis explains how the movements made sense of the tangled connections between race, class, and republican citizenship. He considers how these collective narratives motivated action in specific contexts: in Richmond and Atlanta in the case of the Knights of Labor, and in Virginia and Georgia in that of the Populists. Gerteis demonstrates that the movements’ collective narratives galvanized interracial organizing to varying degrees in different settings. At the same time, he illuminates the ways that interracial organizing was enabled or constrained by local material, political, and social conditions.

[more]

front cover of Community of Peace
Community of Peace
Performing Geographies of Ecological Dignity in Colombia
Christopher Courtheyn
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022

Achieving peace is often thought about in terms of military operations or state negotiations. Yet it also happens at the grassroots level, where communities envision and create peace on their own. The San José de Apartadó Peace Community of small-scale farmers has not waited for a top-down peace treaty. Instead, they have actively resisted forced displacement and co-optation by guerrillas, army soldiers, and paramilitaries for two decades in Colombia’s war-torn Urabá region. Based on ethnographic action research over a twelve-year period, Christopher Courtheyn illuminates the community’s understandings of peace and territorial practices against ongoing assassinations and displacement. San José’s peace through autonomy reflects an alternative to traditional modes of politics practiced through electoral representation and armed struggle. Courtheyn explores the meaning of peace and territory, while also interrogating the role of race in Colombia’s war and the relationship between memory and peace. Amid the widespread violence of today’s global crisis, Community of Peace illustrates San José’s rupture from the logics of colonialism and capitalism through the construction of political solidarity and communal peace.

[more]

front cover of Constructing Community
Constructing Community
The Archaeology of Early Villages in Central New Mexico
Alison E. Rautman
University of Arizona Press, 2014
In central New Mexico, tourists admire the majestic ruins of old Spanish churches and historic pueblos at Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira in Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The less-imposing remains of the earliest Indian farming settlements, however, have not attracted nearly as much notice from visitors or from professional archaeologists. In Constructing Community, Alison E. Rautman synthesizes over twenty years of research about this little-known period of early sedentary villages in the Salinas region.

Rautman tackles a very broad topic: how archaeologists use material evidence to infer and imagine how people lived in the past, how they coped with everyday decisions and tensions, and how they created a sense of themselves and their place in the world. Using several different lines of evidence, she reconstructs what life was like for the Ancestral Pueblo people of Salinas, and identifies some of the specific strategies that they used to develop and sustain their villages over time.

Examining evidence of each site’s construction and developing spatial layout, Rautman traces changes in community organization across the architectural transitions from pithouses to jacal structures to unit pueblos, and finally to plaza-oriented pueblos. She finds that, in contrast to some other areas of the American Southwest, early villagers in Salinas repeatedly managed their built environment to emphasize the coherence and unity of the village as a whole. In this way, she argues, people in early farming villages across the Salinas region actively constructed and sustained a sense of social community.
[more]

front cover of Cultivating Coffee
Cultivating Coffee
The Farmers of Carazo, Nicaragua, 1880–1930
Julie A. Charlip
Ohio University Press, 2002

Many scholars of Latin America have argued that the introduction of coffee forced most people to become landless proletarians toiling on large plantations. Cultivating Coffee tells a different story: small and medium-sized growers in Nicaragua were a vital part of the economy, constituting the majority of the farmers and holding most of the land.

Alongside these small commercial farmers was a group of subsistence farmers, created by the state’s commitment to supplying municipal lands to communities. These subsistence growers became the workforce for their coffee-growing neighbors, providing harvest labor three months a year. Mostly illiterate, perhaps largely indigenous, they nonetheless learned the functioning of the new political and economic systems and used them to acquire individual plots of land.

Julie Charlip’s Cultivating Coffee joins the growing scholarship on rural Latin America that demonstrates the complexity of the processes of transition to expanded export agriculture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, emphasizing the agency of actors at all levels of society. It also sheds new light on the controversy surrounding landholding in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution.

[more]

front cover of Debt and Dispossession
Debt and Dispossession
Farm Loss in America's Heartland
Kathryn Marie Dudley
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Winner of the Margaret Mead Award of the Society for Applied Anthropology

The farm crisis of the 1980s was the worst economic disaster to strike rural America since the Depression—thousands of farmers lost their land and homes, irrevocably altering their communities and, as Kathryn Marie Dudley shows, giving rise to devastating social trauma that continues to affect farmers today. Through interviews with residents of an agricultural county in western Minnesota, Dudley provides an incisive account of the moral dynamics of loss, dislocation, capitalism, and solidarity in farming communities.
[more]

front cover of Deep River
Deep River
A Memoir of a Missouri Farm
David Hamilton
University of Missouri Press, 2014

Deep River uncovers the layers of history—both personal and regional—that have accumulated on a river-bottom farm in west-central Missouri. This land was part of a late frontier, passed over, then developed through the middle of the last century as the author's father and uncle cleared a portion of it and established their farm.

Hamilton traces the generations of Native Americans, frontiersmen, settlers, and farmers who lived on and alongside the bottomland over the past two centuries. It was a region fought over by Union militia and Confederate bushwhackers, as well as by their respective armies; an area that invited speculation and the establishment of several small towns, both before and after the Civil War; land on which the Missouri Indians made their long last stand, less as a military force than as a settlement and civilization; land that attracted French explorers, the first Europeans to encounter the Missouris and their relatives, the Ioways, Otoes, and Osage, a century before Lewis and Clark. It is land with a long history of occupation and use, extending millennia before the Missouris. Most recently it was briefly and intensively receptive to farming before being restored in large part as state-managed wetlands.

Deep River is composed of four sections, each exploring aspects of the farm and its neighborhood. While the family story remains central to each, slavery and the Civil War in the nineteenth century and Native American history in the centuries before that become major themes as well. The resulting portrait is both personal memoir and informal history, brought up from layers of time, the compound of which forms an emblematic American story.

[more]

front cover of Don't Send Me Flowers When I'm Dead
Don't Send Me Flowers When I'm Dead
Voices of Rural Elderly
Eva J. Salber
Duke University Press, 1983
"This extraordinary book is yet another example of a growing tradition—a literature of compelling and edifying oral history. Dr. Salber has worked for years in one of North Carolina's rural areas, and doing so, has come to know certain elderly people rather well. She has attended their physical complaints, but she has also wanted to know how they live, what they hope for, and what they worry about. She has asked them to speak on the record, to declare to others what occurs to them in the waning hours of their particular lives. The result is a series of American voices reminding us what it has been like for relatively vulnerable, if not defenseless, southern country folk in this rapidly disappearing 20th century.
"They are men and women, blacks and whites, Dr. Salber's teachers. The North Carolinians in this book have no trouble giving us a good measure of open-eyed social comment, not to mention intelligent self-scrutiny and astute moral reflection. These pages glow with all that. . . . This book represents an intense and unyielding ethical as well as medical and literary commitment by a most impressive physician."—Robert Coles
[more]

front cover of Doña Barbara
Doña Barbara
A Novel
Rómulo Gallegos
University of Chicago Press, 2012

Rómulo Gallegos is best known for being Venezuela’s first democratically elected president. But in his native land he is equally famous as a writer responsible for one of Venezuela’s literary treasures, the novel Doña Barbara. Published in 1929 and all but forgotten by Anglophone readers, Doña Barbara is one of the first examples of magical realism, laying the groundwork for later authors such as Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

Following the epic struggle between two cousins for an estate in Venezuela, Doña Barbara is an examination of the conflict between town and country, violence and intellect, male and female. Doña Barbara is a beautiful and mysterious woman—rumored to be a witch—with a ferocious power over men. When her cousin Santos Luzardo returns to the plains in order to reclaim his land and cattle, he reluctantly faces off against Doña Barbara, and their battle becomes simultaneously one of violence and seduction. All of the action is set against the stunning backdrop of the Venezuelan prairie, described in loving detail. Gallegos’s plains are filled with dangerous ranchers, intrepid cowboys, and damsels in distress, all broadly and vividly drawn. A masterful novel with an important role in the inception of magical realism, Doña Barbara is a suspenseful tale that blends fantasy, adventure, and romance.

Hailed as “the Bovary of the llano” by Larry McMurtry in his new foreword to this book, Doña Barbarais a magnetic and memorable heroine, who has inspired numerous adaptations on the big and small screens, including a recent television show that aired on Telemundo.

[more]

front cover of The Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills
The Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills
Farmers of the Forest
Margaret F. Kinnaird and Timothy G. O'Brien
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Hornbills are among the world’s most distinct birds. Easily recognized by their oversized beaks adorned with large casques, they range from Africa to India and throughout Asia. One of the oldest bird orders, they have been known to mankind for millennia and loom large in the mythology of indigenous cultures of tropical Asia. In the past thirty years, ecologists have uncovered many fascinating aspects of hornbill biology, from their unique nest-sealing behavior to their roles as farmers of the forest.

Building on fourteen years of research, Margaret F. Kinnaird and Timothy G. O’Brien offer in Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills the most up-to-date information on the evolution, reproduction, feeding ecology, and movement patterns of thirty-one species of Asian hornbills. The authors address questions of ecological functionality, ecosystem services, and keystone relationships, as well as the disturbing influence of forest loss and fragmentation on hornbills. Complemented by superb full-color images by renowned photographer Tim Laman that provide rare glimpses of hornbills in their native habitat and black-and-white illustrations by Jonathan Kingdon that highlight the intriguing aspects of hornbill behavior, Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills will stand tall in the pantheon of natural history studies for years to come.
[more]

front cover of Fair Bananas!
Fair Bananas!
Farmers, Workers, and Consumers Strive to Change an Industry
Henry J. Frundt
University of Arizona Press, 2009
Bananas are the most-consumed fruit in the world. In the United States alone, the public eats about twenty-eight pounds of bananas per person every year. The total value of the international banana trade is nearly five billion dollars annually, with 80 percent of all exported bananas originating in Latin America. There are as many as ten million people involved in growing, packing, and shipping bananas, but American consumers have only recently begun to think about them and about their working conditions. Although European nations have helped create a “fair trade” system for bananas grown in Mediterranean and Caribbean regions, the United States as a country has not developed a similar system for bananas grown in Latin America, where large corporations have dominated trade for more than a century.

Fair Bananas! is one of the first books to examine the issue of “fair-trade bananas.” Specifically, Henry Frundt analyzes whether a farmer-worker-consumer alliance can collaborate to promote a fair-trade label for bananas—much like those for fair-trade coffee and chocolate—that will appeal to North American shoppers. Researching the issue for more than ten years, Henry Frundt has elicited surprising and nuanced insights from banana workers, Latin American labor officials, company representatives, and fair-trade advocates.

Frundt writes with admirable clarity throughout the book, which he has designed for college students who are being introduced to the subject of international trade and for consumers who are interested in issues of development. Frankly, though, Fair Bananas! will appeal to anyone who wants to know more about bananas, including where they come from and how they get from there to here.
[more]

front cover of Farm Boys
Farm Boys
Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest
Collected and Edited by William D. Fellows
University of Wisconsin Press, 1998
Homosexuality is often seen as a purely urban experience, far removed from rural and small-town life. Farm Boys undermines that cliche by telling the stories of more than three dozen gay men, ranging in age from 24 to 84, who grew up in farm families in the midwestern United States. Whether painful, funny, or matter-of-fact, these plain-spoken accounts will move and educate any reader, gay or not, from farm or city.

     “When I was fifteen, the milkman who came to get our milk was beautiful. This is when I was really getting horny to do something with another guy. I waited every day for him to come. I couldn’t even talk to him, couldn’t think of anything to say. I just stood there, watching him, wondering if he knew why.”—Henry Bauer, Minnesota

     “When I go back home, I feel a real connection with the land—a tremendous feeling, spiritual in a way. It makes me want to go out into a field and take my shoes off and put my feet right on the dirt, establish a real physical connection with that place. I get homesick a lot, but I don’t know if I could ever go back there and live. It’s not the kind of place that would welcome me if I lived openly, the way that I would like to live. I would be shunned.”—Martin Scherz, Nebraska

     “If there is a checklist to see if your kid is queer, I must have hit every one of them—all sorts of big warning signs. I was always interested in a lot of the traditional queen things—clothes, cooking, academics, music, theater. A farm boy listening to show tunes? My parents must have seen it coming.”—Joe Shulka, Wisconsin

     “My favorite show when I was growing up was ‘The Waltons’. The show’s values comforted me, and I identified with John-Boy, the sensitive son who wanted to be a writer. He belonged there on the mountain with his family, yet he sensed that he was different and that he was often misunderstood. Sometimes I still feel like a misfit, even with gay people.”—Connie Sanders, Illinois

     “Agriculture is my life. I like working with farm people, although they don’t really understand me. When I retire I want the word to get out [that I’m gay] to the people I’ve worked with—the dairy producers, the veterinarians, the feed salesmen, the guys at the co-ops. They’re going to be shocked, but their eyes are going to be opened.”—James Heckman, Indiana
[more]

front cover of The Farm on Badger Creek
The Farm on Badger Creek
Memories of a Midwest Girlhood
Peggy Prilaman Marxen
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2021
Peggy Prilaman Marxen grew up near the town of Meteor in northwestern Wisconsin’s Sawyer County, isolated by geography yet surrounded by close-knit extended family. Multiple generations of her family witnessed changes to rural Wisconsin that altered the fabric of their lives and the lives of all in their community, including the introduction of new farming techniques, school consolidation, and revolutions in transportation and technology. They supplemented their subsistence herd of dairy cows by hunting, fishing, and selling timber and maple syrup. For many years, her home, like those of her neighbors, lacked indoor plumbing, electricity, and a telephone. As a young child, Peggy attended a one-room schoolhouse and walked, biked, or sledded the three miles to school and back, no matter the weather. 
 
[more]

front cover of Farmers, Hunters, and Colonists
Farmers, Hunters, and Colonists
Interaction Between the Southwest and the Southern Plains
Edited by Katherine A. Spielmann
University of Arizona Press, 1991
Eight contributors discuss early trade relations between Plains and Pueblo farmers, the evolution of interdependence between Plains hunter-gatherers and Pueblo farmers between 1450 and 1700, and the later comanchero trade between Hispanic New Mexicans and the Plains Comanche.
 
Contributors:
Timothy G. Baugh
Judith A. Habicht-Mauche
Frances Levine
Christopher Lintz
David H. Snow
John D. Speth
Katherine A. Spielmann
David R. Wilcox
[more]

front cover of Farmers in Rebellion
Farmers in Rebellion
The Rise and Fall of the Southern Farmers Alliance and People's Party in Texas
By Donna A. Barnes
University of Texas Press, 1984

The years after the Civil War brought struggle to the Southern farmer as the economic mainstay of the South—cotton—steadily dropped in price. Prompted by hard times, farmers in Lampasas County, Texas, gathered in 1877 to discuss what could be done. From these modest origins emerged the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union, later known as the Southern Farmers Alliance, a powerful protest movement that played an important role in the formation in 1892 of a new political force, the People's party. In the "solid South," particularly in Texas, large numbers of voters abandoned the Democratic party for the new party. Yet despite this support, the decline of the People's party after 1894 was swift.

Farmers in Rebellion recounts the compelling story of these two crucial and closely related movements. Donna A. Barnes examines their developmental histories, asking such important questions as: Under what conditions do protest movements remain weak? Under what conditions do they prosper, amassing large numbers of supporters? And under what conditions do successful protest movements lose their momentum and die? The author explores these complex questions with deft use of archival data that allows her to reflect on the adequacy of the past sociological answers to these questions.

Farmers in Rebellion is a book rich in detail and scope in its look at a critical juncture in the growth of national populist movements. Of interest to sociologists, historians, and political scientists, it stands as an important contribution to our understanding of a pivotal time in Texas, and national, history.

[more]

front cover of Farmers, Kings, and Traders
Farmers, Kings, and Traders
The People of Southern Africa, 200-1860
Martin Hall
University of Chicago Press, 1990
In this overview of the origins and development of black societies in southern Africa, Martin Hall reconstructs the region's past by throughly examining both the archaeological and the historical records. Beginning with the gradual southward movement of the earliest farmers nearly two thousand years ago, Hall tracks the emergence of precolonial states such as Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe. Farmers, Kings, and Traders concludes with the devastating effects of colonialism.

Through a close reading of the accounts of early travelers, colonialists, archaeologists, and historians, Hall places in context the often contradictory histories that have been written of this region. The result is an illuminating look at how ideas about the past have themselves changed over time.
[more]

front cover of
"Fear God and Walk Humbly"
The Agricultural Journal of James Mallory, 1843-1877
James Mallory
University of Alabama Press, 1997
A detailed journal of local, national, and foreign news, agricultural activities, the weather, and family events, from an uncommon Southerner
 
Most inhabitants of the Old South, especially the plain folk, devoted more time to leisurely activities—drinking, gambling, hunting, fishing, and just loafing—than did James Mallory, a workaholic agriculturalist, who experimented with new plants, orchards, and manures, as well as the latest farming equipment and techniques. A Whig and a Unionist, a temperance man and a peace lover, ambitious yet caring, business-minded and progressive, he supported railroad construction as well as formal education, even for girls. His cotton production—four bales per field hand in 1850, nearly twice the average for the best cotton lands in southern Alabama and Georgia--tells more about Mallory's steady work habits than about his class status.
 
But his most obvious eccentricity—what gave him reason to be remembered—was that nearly every day from 1843 until his death in 1877, Mallory kept a detailed journal of local, national, and often foreign news, agricultural activities, the weather, and especially events involving his family, relatives, slaves, and neighbors in Talladega County, Alabama. Mallory's journal spans three major periods of the South's history--the boom years before the Civil War, the rise and collapse of the Confederacy, and the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War. He owned slaves and raised cotton, but Mallory was never more than a hardworking farmer, who described agriculture in poetical language as “the greatest [interest] of all.”
[more]

front cover of Food, Farms, and Solidarity
Food, Farms, and Solidarity
French Farmers Challenge Industrial Agriculture and Genetically Modified Crops
Chaia Heller
Duke University Press, 2012
The Confédération Paysanne, one of France's largest farmers' unions, has successfully fought against genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but unlike other allied movements, theirs has been led by producers rather than consumers. In Food, Farms, and Solidarity, Chaia Heller analyzes the group's complex strategies and campaigns, including a call for a Europe-wide ban on GM crops and hormone-treated beef, and a protest staged at a McDonald's. Her study of the Confédération Paysanne shows the challenges small farms face in a postindustrial agricultural world. Heller also reveals how the language the union uses to argue against GMOs encompasses more than the risks they pose; emphasizing solidarity has allowed farmers to focus on food as a cultural practice and align themselves with other workers. Heller's examination of the Confédération Paysanne's commitment to a vision of alter-globalization, the idea of substantive alternatives to neoliberal globalization, demonstrates how ecological and social justice can be restored in the world.
[more]

front cover of Food for the Few
Food for the Few
Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America
Edited by Gerardo Otero
University of Texas Press, 2008

Recent decades have seen tremendous changes in Latin America's agricultural sector, resulting from a broad program of liberalization instigated under pressure from the United States, the IMF, and the World Bank. Tariffs have been lifted, agricultural markets have been opened and privatized, land reform policies have been restricted or eliminated, and the perspective has shifted radically toward exportation rather than toward the goal of feeding local citizens. Examining the impact of these transformations, the contributors to Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America paint a somber portrait, describing local peasant farmers who have been made responsible for protecting impossibly vast areas of biodiversity, or are forced to specialize in one genetically modified crop, or who become low-wage workers within a capitalized farm complex. Using dozens of examples such as these, the deleterious consequences are surveyed from the perspectives of experts in diverse fields, including anthropology, economics, geography, political science, and sociology.

From Kathy McAfee's "Exporting Crop Biotechnology: The Myth of Molecular Miracles," to Liz Fitting's "Importing Corn, Exporting Labor: The Neoliberal Corn Regime, GMOs, and the Erosion of Mexican Biodiversity," Food for the Few balances disturbing findings with hopeful assessments of emerging grassroots alternatives. Surveying not only the Latin American conditions that led to bankruptcy for countless farmers but also the North's practices, such as the heavy subsidies implemented to protect North American farmers, these essays represent a comprehensive, keenly informed response to a pivotal global crisis.

[more]

front cover of Food Systems in an Unequal World
Food Systems in an Unequal World
Pesticides, Vegetables, and Agrarian Capitalism in Costa Rica
Ryan E. Galt
University of Arizona Press, 2014
Pesticides, a short-term aid for farmers, can often be harmful, undermining the long-term health of agriculture, ecosystems, and people. The United States and other industrialized countries import food from Costa Rica and other regions. To safeguard the public health, importers now regulate the level and types of pesticides used in the exporters’ food production, which creates “regulatory risk” for the export farmers. Although farmers respond to export regulations by trying to avoid illegal pesticide residues, the food produced for their domestic market lacks similar regulation, creating a double standard of pesticide use.

Food Systems in an Unequal World examines the agrochemical-dependent agriculture of Costa Rica and how its uneven regulation in export versus domestic markets affects Costa Rican vegetable farmers. Examining pesticide-dependent vegetable production within two food systems, the author shows that pesticide use is shaped by three main forces: agrarian capitalism, the governance of food systems throughout the commodity chain, and ecological dynamics driving local food production. Those processes produce unequal outcomes that disadvantage less powerful producers who have more limited choices than larger farmers, who usually have access to better growing environments and thereby can reduce pesticide use and production costs.
 
Despite the rise of alternative food networks, Galt says, persistent problems remain in the conventional food system, including widespread and intensive pesticide use. Facing domestic price squeezes, vegetable farmers in Costa Rica are more likely to supply the national market with produce containing residues of highly toxic pesticides, while using less toxic pesticides on exported vegetables. In seeking solutions, Galt argues for improved governance and research into alternative pest control but emphasizes that the process must be rooted in farmers’ economic well-being.
[more]


front cover of Foragers and Farmers
Foragers and Farmers
Population Interaction and Agricultural Expansion in Prehistoric Europe
Susan Alling Gregg
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Susan Alling Gregg presents a sophisticated model for the transition from hunter-gatherer societies tosettled agricultural communities in prehistoric Europe. She proposes that farmers and foragers must have encountered each other and interacted in a variety of ways for over a millennium as farming systems spread throughout the continent. Several variations of subsistence developed, such as foraging and hunting for part of the year and farming for the rest, or cooperative exchange arrangements between hunter-gatherers and farmers throughout the year.

Gregg examines anthropological, ecological, and archaeological dimensions of prehistoric population interaction. She then examines the ecological requirements of both crops and livestock and, in order to identify an optimal farming strategy for Early Neolithic populations, develops a computer simulation to examine various resource mixes. Turning to the foragers, she models the effects that interaction with the farmers would have had on the foragers' subsistence-settlement system.

Supporting her model with archaeological, ecological, and ethnobotanical evidence from southwest Germany, Gregg shows that when foragers and farmers occur contemporaneously, both need to be considered before either can be understood. Theoretically and methodologically, her work builds upon earlier studies of optimal diet and foraging strategy, extending the model to food-producing populations. The applicability of Gregg's generalized model for both wild and domestic resources reaches far beyond her case study of Early Neolithic Germany; it will interest both Old and New World archaeologists.
[more]

front cover of Four Germanys
Four Germanys
A Chronicle of the Schorcht Family
Donald S. Pitkin
Temple University Press, 2016

In this last book by the late Donald Pitkin, author of The House that Giacomo Built, comes a story of the Schorcht family, through whose fortunes and struggles one can see the transformations of Germany through the long twentieth century.

Each chapter of Four Germanys is reflective of generational rather than historical time. In 1922, Edwin Schorcht inherited his family farm, and in Part One, Pitkin traces the derivation of this farmstead.  Part Two focuses on Schorcht’s children who came of age in Hitler’s Germany. Part Three has the Schorchts growing up in the Ulbricht years (1950–73) of the German Democratic Republic. The book concludes with the great-granddaughter, Maria, looking back to the past in relation to the new Germany that history had bequeathed her.

Ultimately, Four Germanys reflects the impact of critical historical events on ordinary East Germans while it also reveals how one particular family managed its own historical adaptation to these events.

[more]

front cover of From Missouri
From Missouri
An American Farmer Looks Back
Thad Snow, Edited by Bonnie Stepenoff
University of Missouri Press, 2012

After years of subjecting the editors of St. Louis newspapers to eloquent letters on subjects as diverse as floods, tariffs, and mules, Thad Snow published his memoir From Missouri in his mid-seventies in 1954. He was barely retired from farming for more than half a century, mostly in the Missouri Bootheel, or “Swampeast Missouri,” as he called it. Now back in print with a new introduction by historian Bonnie Stepenoff, these sketches of a life, a region, and an era will delight readers new to this distinctive American voice as well as readers already familiar with this masterpiece of the American Midwest.

Snow purchased a thousand acres of southeast Missouri swampland in 1910, cleared it, drained it, and eventually planted it in cotton. Although he employed sharecroppers, he grew to become a bitter critic of the labor system after a massive flood and the Great Depression worsened conditions for these already-burdened workers. Shocking his fellow landowners, Snow invited the Southern Tenant Farmers Union to organize the workers on his land. He was even once accused of fomenting a strike and publicly threatened with horsewhipping.

Snow’s admiration for Owen Whitfield, the African American leader of the Sharecroppers’ Roadside Demonstration, convinced him that nonviolent resistance could defeat injustice. Snow embraced pacifism wholeheartedly and denounced all war as evil even as America mobilized for World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he became involved with creating Missouri’s conservation movement. Near the end of his life, he found a retreat in the Missouri Ozarks, where he wrote this recollection of his life.

This unique and honest series of personal essays expresses the thoughts of a farmer, a hunter, a husband, a father and grandfather, a man with a soft spot for mules and dogs and all kinds of people. Snow’s prose reveals much about a way of life in the region during the first half of the twentieth century, as well as the social and political events that affected the entire nation. Whether arguing that a good stock dog should be left alone to do its work, explaining the process of making swampland suitable for agriculture, or putting forth his case for world peace, Snow’s ideas have a special authenticity because they did not come from an ivory tower or a think tank—they came From Missouri.

[more]

front cover of Growing Resistance
Growing Resistance
Canadian Farmers and the Politics of Genetically-Modified Wheat
Emily Eaton
University of Manitoba Press, 2013

front cover of Harder than Hardscrabble
Harder than Hardscrabble
Oral Recollections of the Farming Life from the Edge of the Texas Hill Country
Edited by Thad Sitton
University of Texas Press, 2004

Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2005
Runner-up, Carr P. Collins Award, Best Book of Nonfiction, Texas Institute of Letters, 2005

Until the U.S. Army claimed 300-plus square miles of hardscrabble land to build Fort Hood in 1942, small communities like Antelope, Pidcoke, Stampede, and Okay scratched out a living by growing cotton and ranching goats on the less fertile edges of the Texas Hill Country. While a few farmers took jobs with construction crews at Fort Hood to remain in the area, almost the entire population—and with it, an entire segment of rural culture—disappeared into the rest of the state.

In Harder than Hardscrabble, oral historian Thad Sitton collects the colorful and frequently touching stories of the pre-Fort Hood residents to give a firsthand view of Texas farming life before World War II. Accessible to the general reader and historian alike, the stories recount in vivid detail the hardships and satisfactions of daily life in the Texas countryside. They describe agricultural practices and livestock handling as well as life beyond work: traveling peddlers, visits to towns, country schools, medical practices, and fox hunting. The anecdotes capture a fast-disappearing rural society—a world very different from today's urban Texas.

[more]

front cover of Healing Grounds
Healing Grounds
Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming
Liz Carlisle
Island Press, 2022
A powerful movement is happening in farming today—farmers are reconnecting with their roots to fight climate change. For one woman, that’s meant learning her tribe’s history to help bring back the buffalo. For another, it’s meant preserving forest purchased by her great-great-uncle, among the first wave of African Americans to buy land. Others are rejecting monoculture to grow corn, beans, and squash the way farmers in Mexico have done for centuries. Still others are rotating crops for the native cuisines of those who fled the “American wars” in Southeast Asia.
 
In Healing Grounds, Liz Carlisle tells the stories of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian American farmers who are reviving their ancestors’ methods of growing food—techniques long suppressed by the industrial food system. These farmers are restoring native prairies, nurturing beneficial fungi, and enriching soil health. While feeding their communities and revitalizing cultural ties to land, they are steadily stitching ecosystems back together and repairing the natural carbon cycle. This, Carlisle shows, is the true regenerative agriculture – not merely a set of technical tricks for storing CO2 in the ground, but a holistic approach that values diversity in both plants and people.
 
Cultivating this kind of regenerative farming will require reckoning with our nation’s agricultural history—a history marked by discrimination and displacement. And it will ultimately require dismantling power structures that have blocked many farmers of color from owning land or building wealth. 
 
The task is great, but so is its promise. By coming together to restore these farmlands, we can not only heal our planet, we can heal our communities and ourselves.
 
[more]

logo for Ohio University Press
The Heritage
A Daughter's Memoir Of Louis Bromfield
Ellen Bromfield Geld
Ohio University Press, 1999
Louis Bromfield, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, established one of the most significant homesteads in Ohio on his Malabar Farm. Today it receives thousands of visitors a year from all over the world; once the site of the wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, it was a successful prototype of experimental and conservation farming.

This lively, outspoken, and affectionate memoir preserves all things Louis Bromfield fought for or against in a life marked by surging vitality and gusto. He came from an Ohio family whose roots were in the land before the land was lost. He had his father's love of the land, and from his willful mother a hunger to know the world. From the New York City of theaters, concerts, parties, and novels, and a life in France that his success allowed, he finally returned to Ohio and established a new order for his family and friends, and for his followers, a new orbit into which they were drawn.

Ellen Bromfield Geld wrote a memoir of the man who was Louis Bromfield, father and friend, tyrant and “Boss,” alive always to whatever was worth responding to in people and in places, yet complex and lonely as a writer must essentially be to work at his craft. Now revived in paperback thirty-five years after its first publication, The Heritage remains a moving tribute and the recreation of a remarkable human being.
[more]

front cover of Insurgent Democracy
Insurgent Democracy
The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics
Michael J. Lansing
University of Chicago Press, 2015
In 1915, western farmers mounted one of the most significant challenges to party politics America has seen: the Nonpartisan League, which sought to empower citizens and restrain corporate influence. Before its collapse in the 1920s, the League counted over 250,000 paying members, spread to thirteen states and two Canadian provinces, controlled North Dakota’s state government, and birthed new farmer-labor alliances. Yet today it is all but forgotten, neglected even by scholars.

Michael J. Lansing aims to change that. Insurgent Democracy offers a new look at the Nonpartisan League and a new way to understand its rise and fall in the United States and Canada. Lansing argues that, rather than a spasm of populist rage that inevitably burned itself out, the story of the League is in fact an instructive example of how popular movements can create lasting change. Depicting the League as a transnational response to economic inequity, Lansing not only resurrects its story of citizen activism, but also allows us to see its potential to inform contemporary movements.
[more]

front cover of John Horry Dent
John Horry Dent
South Carolina Aristocrat On Alabama Frontier
Ray Mathis
University of Alabama Press, 1979
Explores the world of this wealthy planter and landholder
 
Jonah Horry Dent was born on 5 August 1815 in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of John Herbert Dent and Elizabeth Anne Horry Dent. Dent grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and spent summers with his family on a plantation in Colleton County, South Carolina. When he was still a young child, his name was changed from “Jonah” to “John” when an older brother, named John, died, leaving little Jonah as the oldest living son. He was known as John Horry Dent the rest of his life.

Dent married Mary Elizabeth Morrison in 1835 and moved to Barbour County, Alabama, in 1836. He purchased 360 acres of land on Cowikee Creek, paying $15 an acre, and named the new plantation “Good Hope.”  Dent amassed a good fortune but lost most of it after the Civil War when slavery was abolished and his slaves became freemen. In 1866 he sold his properties in Barbour County and moved to Cave Springs, Floyd County, Georgia.

Dent kept detailed records about his crops and properties until very late in life. He died in Cave Springs on 17 May 1892.
 
[more]

front cover of Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine
Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine
Commerce, Culture, and Community on the Eastern Frontier
Kevin D. Murphy
University of Massachusetts Press, 2010
This book examines the life of Jonathan Fisher (1768–1847), a native of Braintree, Massachusetts, and graduate of Harvard College who moved in his late twenties to Blue Hill, Maine, where he embarked on a multifaceted career as a pioneer minister, farmer, entrepreneur, and artist. Drawing on a vast record of letters, diaries, sermons, drawings, paintings, and buildings, Kevin D. Murphy reconstructs Fisher's story and uses it to explore larger issues of material culture, visual culture, and social history during the early decades of the American republic.

Murphy shows how Fisher, as pastor of the Congregational church in Blue Hill from 1796 to 1837, helped spearhead the transformation of a frontier settlement on the eastern shores of the Penobscot Bay into a thriving port community; how he used his skills as an architect, decorative painter, surveyor, and furniture maker not only to support himself and his family, but to promote the economic growth of his village; and how the fluid professional identity that enabled Fisher to prosper on the eastern frontier could only have existed in early America where economic relations were far less rigidly defined than in Europe.

Among the most important artifacts of Jonathan Fisher's life is the house he designed and built in Blue Hill. The Jonathan Fisher Memorial, as it is now known, serves as a point of departure for an examination of social, religious, and cultural life in a newly established village at the turn of the nineteenth century. Fisher's house provided a variety of spaces for agricultural and domestic work, teaching, socializing, artmaking, and more.

Through the eyes of Jonathan Fisher, we see his family grow and face the challenges of the new century, responding to religious, social, and economic change—sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. We appreciate how an extraordinarily energetic man was able to capitalize on the wide array of opportunities offered by the frontier to give shape to his personal vision of community.
[more]

front cover of The Last of the Husbandmen
The Last of the Husbandmen
A Novel of Farming Life
Gene Logsdon
Ohio University Press, 2008

“Nan turned to see Ben’s face turn as hard and white as a sauerkraut crock. When he did not respond, Nan figured that he was just going to back off as he usually did, the shy and retiring husbandman. She did not know her history. She did not know that shy and retiring husbandmen have been known to revolt against oppression with pitchforks drawn.”
The Last of the Husbandmen

In The Last of the Husbandmen, Gene Logsdon looks to his own roots in Ohio farming life to depict the personal triumphs and tragedies, clashes and compromises, and abiding human character of American farming families and communities. From the Great Depression, when farmers tilled the fields with plow horses, to the corporate farms and government subsidy programs of the present, this novel presents the complex transformation of a livelihood and of a way of life.

Two friends, one rich by local standards, and the other of more modest means, grow to manhood in a lifelong contest of will and character. In response to many of the same circumstances—war, love, moonshining, the Klan, weather, the economy—their different approaches and solutions to dealing with their situations put them at odds with each other, but we are left with a deeper understanding of the world that they have inherited and have chosen.

Part morality play and part personal recollection, The Last of the Husbandmen is both a lighthearted look at the past and a profound statement about the present state of farming life. It is also a novel that captures the spirit of those who have chosen to work the land they love.

[more]

front cover of Late Holocene Research on Foragers and Farmers in the Desert West
Late Holocene Research on Foragers and Farmers in the Desert West
Barbara J. Roth and Maxine E. McBrinn
University of Utah Press, 2015
This book brings together the work of archaeologists investigating prehistoric hunter-gatherers (foragers) and early farmers in both the Southwest and the Great Basin. Most previous work on this topic has been regionally specific, with researchers from each area favoring a different theoretical approach and little shared dialogue. Here the studies of archaeologists working in both the Southwest and the Great Basin are presented side by side to illustrate the similarities in environmental challenges and cultural practices of the prehistoric peoples who lived in these areas and to explore common research questions addressed by both regions.
     Three main themes link these papers: the role of the environment in shaping prehistoric behavior, flexibility in foraging and farming adaptations, and diversity in settlement strategies. Contributors cover a range of topics including the varied ways hunter-gatherers adapted to arid environments, the transition from hunting and gathering to farming and the reasons for it, the variation in early farmers across the Southwest and Great Basin, and the differing paths followed as they developed settled villages. 
[more]

front cover of Late Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers and Farmers of the Jornada Mogollon
Late Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers and Farmers of the Jornada Mogollon
Thomas R. Rocek
University Press of Colorado, 2023
Often seen as geographically marginal and of limited research interest to archaeologists, the Jornada Mogollon region of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico deserves broader attention. Late Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers and Farmers of the Jornada Mogollon presents the major issues being addressed in Jornada research and reveals the complex, dynamic nature of Jornada prehistory.
 
The Jornada branch of the Mogollon culture and its inhabitants played a significant economic, political, and social role at multiple scales. This volume draws together results from recent large-scale CRM work that has amassed among the largest data sets in the Southwest with up-to-date chronological, architectural, faunal, ceramic, obsidian sourcing, and other specialized studies. Chapters by some of the most active researchers in the area address topics that reach beyond the American Southwest, such as mobility, forager adaptations, the transition to farming, responses to environmental challenges, and patterns of social interaction.
 
Late Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers and Farmers of the Jornada Mogollon is an up-to-date summary of the major developments in the region and their implications for Southwest archaeology in particular and anthropological archaeological research more generally.
 
The publication of this book is supported in part by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware.
 
Contributors: Rafael Cruz Antillón, Douglas H. M. Boggess, Peter C. Condon, Linda Scott Cummings, Moira Ernst, Tim Graves, David V. Hill, Nancy A. Kenmotsu, Shaun M. Lynch, Arthur C. MacWilliams, Mary Malainey, Timothy D. Maxwell, Myles R. Miller, John Montgomery, Jim A. Railey, Thomas R. Rocek, Matt Swanson, Christopher A. Turnbow, Javier Vasquez, Regge N. Wiseman, Chad L. Yost
 
[more]

front cover of Letters of  a German American Farmer
Letters of a German American Farmer
Juernjakob Swehn Travels to America
Johannes Gillhoff
University of Iowa Press, 2001

Early in the twentieth century, drawing upon the hundreds of letters written to his father by students who had emigrated to northeastern Iowa from Mecklenburg, in northeastern Germany, Johannes Gillhoff created the composite character of Juernjakob Swehn: the archetype of the upright, honest mensch who personified the German immigrant, on his way to a better life through ambition and hard work. Gillhoff's farmer-hero, planting and harvesting his Iowa acres, joking with his neighbors during the snowy winters, building a church with his own hands, proved so popular with the German public that a million copies of Jürnjakob Swehn der Amerikafahrer are in print. Now for the first time this wise and endearing book is available in English.

“First, let's talk about pigs,”Juernjakob Swehn writes from his farm in Iowa. “In America, pigs have a curly tail and talk in Low German so I can understand them.” Swehn builds a log house and makes a success of farming, marries a woman who's “a whole different nation that has its confidence from the inside,” raises a family, and becomes an elder in the Lutheran church. He recognizes his good fortune but acknowledges that memories of his village grow stronger every year, that “being homesick is the best thing that home can do for you …no power on earth holds on to you like your homeland.” It is this sense of home, both in Iowa and in Mecklenburg, that makes Juernjakob Swehn appeal to today's readers as much as he appealed to readers in 1916.

[more]

front cover of A Life of Her Own
A Life of Her Own
A Countrywoman in Twentieth-Century France
Carles, Émilie
Rutgers University Press, 1991
Published in France in 1977 as Une Soupe aux Herbes Sauvages, this autobiography of a peasant woman reared in the stony insularity of a tiny Alpine village reveals the unfolding of a formidable person. Carles, born in 1900, writes of her life in the mountains coountry of southern France as comprising "so many different things, funny or tragic, picturesque or cruel." She takes the reader into her beloved Claree Valley where she as a young child in a motherless family labored alongside her father in the fields; it is where her schooling began and where she recognized her intelligence as the key to the outer world. Primitive village life and the patriarchal though loving structure of her family are background for Carles's full, nonconformist life as teacher, farmer, mother, feminist and political activist. The memoir brings to life a captivating woman
[more]

front cover of A Little Bit of Land
A Little Bit of Land
Jessica Gigot
Oregon State University Press, 2022

From midwifing new lambs to harvesting basil, Jessica Gigot invites the reader into her life on a small farm and the uncommon road that led her there. Fascinated by farming and the burgeoning local food movement, she spent her twenties wandering the Pacific Northwest, interning at small farms and doing graduate work in horticulture, always with an eye towards learning as much as she could about how and why people farm. Despite numerous setbacks and the many challenges of farming, she created a family and farm life defined by resilience and a genuine love of the land.   

In A Little Bit of Land, Gigot explores the intricacies of small-scale agriculture in the Pacific Northwest and the changing role of women in this male-dominated industry. Gigot alternates between chapters describing joys, routines, and challenges of farm life and chapters reflecting on her formative experiences in agriculture, on farms and in classrooms from Ashland to the Skagit Valley. Throughout, she explores questions of sustainability, economics, health, and food systems.

[more]

front cover of The Man Who Created Paradise
The Man Who Created Paradise
A Fable
Gene Logsdon
Ohio University Press, 2001

Gene Logsdon’s The Man Who Created Paradise is a message of hope at a time when the very concept of earth stewardship is under attack. The fable, inspired by a true story, tells how Wally Spero looked at one of the bleakest places in America—a raw and barren strip-mined landscape—and saw in it his escape from the drudgery of his factory job. He bought an old bulldozer and used the machine to carve patiently, acre by acre, a beautiful little farm out of a seemingly worthless wasteland.

Wally’s story is a charming distillation of the themes that the late, beloved Gene Logsdon returned to again and again in his many books and hundreds of articles. Environmental restoration is the task of our time. The work of healing our land begins in our own backyards and farms, in our neighborhoods and our regions. Humans can turn the earth into a veritable paradise—if they really want to.

Noted photographer Gregory Spaid retraced the trail that Logsdon traveled when he was inspired to write The Man Who Created Paradise. His photographs evoke the same yearning for wholeness, for ties to land and community, that infuses the fable’s poetic prose.

[more]

logo for Duke University Press
Mill Villagers and Farmers
Dialect and Economics in a Small Southern Town, Volume 80
Elizabeth DuPree McNair
Duke University Press

front cover of Miners, Merchants, and Farmers in Colonial Colombia
Miners, Merchants, and Farmers in Colonial Colombia
By Ann Twinam
University of Texas Press, 1982

The inhabitants of the department of Antioquía in north-central Colombia have played a unique role in that country’s economic history. During the colonial period Antioqueño placer miners supplied a substantial portion of New Granada’s gold exports. Their nineteenth-century descendants pioneered investments in lode mining, colonization, international commerce, banking, stock raising, tobacco, and coffee. In the twentieth century, Antioqueños initiated the industrialization of the regional capital, Medellín.

Many theories have been set forth to account for the special energy and initiative of Antioqueños. They range from ethnic and psychological interpretations (Antioqueños are descended from Jews or Basques; they are driven to succeed because of status deprivation) to historical explanations that emphasize their geographic isolation, mining heritage, or the coffee-export economy. In Miners, Merchants, and Farmers in Colonial Colombia, Ann Twinam critiques these theories and sets forth her own revisionist interpretation of Antioqueño enterprise. Rather than emphasize the alien or deviant in Antioqueño psychology or culture, Twinam re-creates the region’s late colonial economic and social structure and attributes the origins of Antioqueño enterprise to a particular mix of human and natural resources that directed the region’s development toward capital accumulation and reinvestment.

Although the existing limitations of their colonial environment may have forced Antioqueños along enterprising pathways initially, the continuation of Antioqueño investments to the present day suggests that their adaptation to a specific economic reality became a way of life transcending the historical conditions that created it.

[more]

logo for University of North Texas Press
My Darling Boys
A Family at War, 1941-1947
Fred H. Allison
University of North Texas Press, 2023

front cover of Nomads and Farmers
Nomads and Farmers
A Study of the Yo¨ru¨k of Southeastern Turkey
Daniel G. Bates
University of Michigan Press, 1973
The Yörük of southeastern Turkey are both farmers and nomads. Every year, some of them migrate with their flocks into the mountains for summer pasture, and then back down to the plains for the winter. Others have chosen to remain settled. Anthropologist Daniel G. Bates lived in Turkey for two years in order to study the tribe. Here he describes the many aspects of tribal life: marriage and kidnapping, descent, residence and household patterns, pasture rights, domestic production and wealth, and settlement patterns.
[more]

front cover of The Object of Labor
The Object of Labor
Commodification in Socialist Hungary
Martha Lampland
University of Chicago Press, 1995
Did socialist policies leave the economies of Eastern Europe unprepared for current privatization efforts? Under communist rule, were rural villages truly left untouched by capitalism? In this historical ethnography of rural Hungary, Martha Lampland argues not only that the transition to capitalism was well under way by the 1930s, but that socialist policies themselves played a crucial role in the development of capitalism by transforming conceptions of time, money, and labor.

Exploring the effects of social change thrust upon communities against their will, Lampland examines the history of agrarian labor in Hungary from World War I to the early 1980s. She shows that rural workers had long been subject to strict state policies similar to those imposed by collectivization. Since the values of privatization and individualism associated with capitalism characterized rural Hungarian life both prior to and throughout the socialist period, capitalist ideologies of work and morality survived unscathed in the private economic practices of rural society. Lampland also shows how labor practices under socialism prepared the workforce for capitalism. By drawing villagers into factories and collective farms, for example, the socialist state forced farmers to work within tightly controlled time limits and to calculate their efforts in monetary terms. Indeed, this control and commodification of rural labor under socialism was essential to the transformation to capitalism.
[more]

front cover of OHIO FARM
OHIO FARM
WHEELER MCMILLEN
The Ohio State University Press, 1997
Originally published in 1974, this memoir fondly and vividly recalls life on the McMillen family farm in western Ohio, describing in rich detail the daily and seasonal activities that marked the cyclical progression of farm life.

Uncomplicated when compared with the task of managing today's highly mechanized agricultural complexes, life on the early twentieth-century small farm entailed hard work and afforded simple pleasures that brought satisfaction and enjoyment to the farm and family. Farming on that scale and in the same manner has now become almost completely infeasible, yet in those times a good farmer could prosper and become independent. Wheeler McMillen’s father, Lewis, did both.

Relying frequently on his father’s account books and concise diaries, for this is primarily his father’s story, McMillen recounts the immense labor that farming demanded before the advent of the tractor and the combine harvester. He evokes the special excitements of having company for Sunday dinner, attending the annual oyster supper at the Grange Hall, and gathering on the Fourth of July with the interminable wait for darkness to fall. McMillen also portrays the quiet peace and ineffable joy of private moments, such as resting the horses during spring plowing to watch bronzed grackles search for food in the freshly turned furrows.

Wheeler McMillen’s slice of history will speak to those interested in what rural life was once like in the Midwest and to Ohioans who would like to learn more about their state’s recent past.

[more]

front cover of Persistent Progressives
Persistent Progressives
The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
John F. Freeman
University Press of Colorado, 2015
Persistent Progressives tells the story of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s evolution from an early movement against monopolists and wholesalers to a regional trailblazer for agriculture ideologies built on social democracy, the family farmer, and cooperative enterprises. As a continuing advocate for saving the family farm, the Farmers Union legacy provides a unique window into the transformation of the agriculture and rural communities in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Using data spanning decades, author John Freeman covers the founding of the RMFU in 1907 until the present, demonstrating how members continually sought to control the means of production and marketing by forming cooperatives, providing consumer services, and engaging in politics. Powering this evolution was a group of “practical idealists”—the Farmers Union leaders and titular persistent progressives who shaped the organization’s growth and expansion. Initiated by Jim Patton, who brought the organization out of its oppositional roots and into its cooperative advocacy, the RMFU passed to John Stencel and then David Carter, joining hands with agricultural conservationists and small organic producers along the way to carry the torch for progressive agrarianism in today’s urbanized world. Shaken but undeterred by some notable failures, its leadership remains convinced of the efficacy of cooperatives as a means to achieve justice for all.

Discussing the broader social, economic, political, and environmental issues related to farming, ranching, and urbanization, Persistent Progressives seamlessly blends regional history with ongoing issues of agricultural and economic development.
[more]

logo for University of Tennessee Press
Piedmont Farmer
David Golightly Harris 1855-1870
Philip N. Racine
University of Tennessee Press, 1990
The journals of David Golightly Harris are a unique daily record of a fifteen-year span in the life of a Piedmont South Carolina farm family that owned ten slaves and cultivated one hundred acres.  Documents from small slaveholders are few, making these journals an invaluable source of information about the agricultural routines of a small antebellum farm as well as a revealing commentary on regional and national affairs, slavery, education, religion, family relationships, and community life.  
An especially compelling feature of this book is its inclusion of writings by Harris's wife, Emily, who took over the journal when he went to war for the Confederacy in 1862. Recounting the trials of managing the farm and raising seven children in her husband's absence, Emily's words offer poignant insights into the daily struggles of those who tended the home front during the Civil War.
"Piedmont Farmer is one of those rare books that deserves a place alongside The Cotton Kingdom, My Bondage and My Freedom, The Children of Pride, Mary Chesnut's Civil War, and the recent Freedom volumes as an indispensable source for historians of the nineteenth-century South."—David C. Rankin, The Journal of Southern History
"Harris's journals are important because they span the years before, during, and after the Civil War. . . . Philip N. Racine's annotations are extensive and extraordinarily rich in detail and insight. Enhanced with photographs, maps, and a comprehensive index, the Harris journals are not only a major contribution to southern history, but also they are a poignant view of agriculture and an explicit confirmation of slavery's burden."—David E. Schob, Illinois Historical Journal

The Editor: Philip N. Racine is Kenan Professor of History at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He edited "Unspoiled Heart": The Journal of Charles Mattocks of the 17th Maine in the Voices of the Civil War series published by the University of Tennessee Press.
[more]

front cover of POW!
POW!
Mo Yan
Seagull Books, 2012

In this novel by the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature, Mo Yan, a benign old monk listens to a prospective novice’s tale of depravity, violence, and carnivorous excess while a nice little family drama—in which nearly everyone dies—unfurls. But in this tale of sharp hatchets, bad water, and a rusty WWII mortar, we can’t help but laugh. Reminiscent of the novels of dark masters of European absurdism like Günter Grass, Witold Gombrowicz, or Jakov Lind, Mo Yan’s POW! is a comic masterpiece.

In this bizarre romp through the Chinese countryside, the author treats us to a cornucopia of cooked animal flesh—ostrich, camel, donkey, dog, as well as the more common varieties. As his dual narratives merge and feather into one another, each informing and illuminating the other, Mo Yan probes the character and lifestyle of modern China. Displaying his many talents, as fabulist, storyteller, scatologist, master of allusion and cliché, and more, POW! carries the reader along quickly, hungrily, and giddily, up until its surprising dénouement.

Mo Yan has been called one of the great novelists of modern Chinese literature and the New York Times Book Review has hailed his work as harsh and gritty, raunchy and funny. He writes big, sometimes mystifying, sometimes infuriating, but always entertaining novels—and POW! is no exception.

 
[more]

front cover of Powerline
Powerline
The First Battle of America’s Energy War
Paul Wellstone
University of Minnesota Press, 2003

The inspiring story of a grassroots rebellion

Powerline describes the opposition of rural Minnesotans to the building of a high voltage powerline across 430 miles of farmland from central North Dakota to the Twin Cities suburbs. Convinced that the safety of their families and the health of their land was disregarded in favor of the gluttonous energy consumption of cities, the farmer-led revolt began as questioning and escalated to rampant civil disobedience, peaking in 1978 when nearly half of Minnesota’s state highway patrol was engaged in stopping sabotage of the project.

After construction was completed, the powerline proved difficult to defend and unprecedented guerrilla warfare brought many towers to the ground (due to “bolt weevils”). Through pulse-quickening personal interviews and big-picture analysis, Powerline lays bare the latent and unexpected power of the people of rural America—and resonates strongly with today’s energy debates.
[more]

front cover of P'ungmul
P'ungmul
South Korean Drumming and Dance
Nathan Hesselink
University of Chicago Press, 2006
Composed of a core set of two drums and two gongs, p’ungmul is a South Korean tradition of rural folk percussion. Steeped in music, dance, theater, and pageantry, but centrally focused on rhythm, such ensembles have been an integral part of village life in South Korea for centuries, serving as a musical accompaniment in the often overlapping and shifting contexts of labor, ritual, and entertainment.
 
The first book to introduce Korean drumming and dance to the English-speaking world, Nathan Hesselink’s P’ungmul offers detailed descriptions of its instrumentation, dance formations, costuming, actors, teaching lineages, and the complexities of training. Hesselink also evaluates how this tradition has taken on new roles and meanings in the twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, investigating the interrelated yet contested spheres of history, memory, government policy, grassroots politics, opportunities for musical transmission, and performance practices and aesthetics.
 
P’ungmul offers those interested in ethnomusicology, world music, anthropology, sociology, and Asian studies a special glimpse into the inner workings of a historically rich, artistically complex, and aesthetically and aurally beautiful Korean musical and dance tradition.
[more]

front cover of Radical Protest and Social Structure
Radical Protest and Social Structure
The Southern Farmers' Alliance and Cotton Tenancy, 1880-1890
Michael Schwartz
University of Chicago Press, 1988
"Michael Schwartz's book is really three books in one—an analysis of the structural changes that produced one of the most oppressive social systems the world has known (the one-crop cotton tenancy economy and the system of institutionalized racism and authoritarian one-party politics that was required to preserve the fragile economic arrangement); a theoretical analysis of the origins, mobilization, and outcome of insurgent challenges; and a meticulous application of that theory to the rise and collapse of the Populist movement."—Craig Jenkins, Theory and Society


[more]

front cover of Return from the World
Return from the World
Economic Growth and Reverse Migration in Brazil
Gregory Duff Morton
University of Chicago Press, 2024
An anthropologist’s investigation of why some Brazilians choose to leave behind a booming economy and return to their villages.

In Return from the World, anthropologist Gregory Duff Morton traces the migrations of Brazilian workers who leave a thriving labor market and return to their home villages to become peasant farmers. Morton seeks to understand what it means to turn one’s back deliberately on the promise of economic growth.

Giving up their positions in factories, at construction sites, and as domestic workers, these migrants travel thousands of miles back to villages without running water or dependable power. There, many take up subsistence farming. Some become activists with the MST, Brazil’s militant movement of landless peasants. Bringing their stories vividly to life, Morton dives into the dreams and disputes at play in finding freedom in the shared rejection of growth.
[more]

front cover of Revolution Interrupted
Revolution Interrupted
Farmers, Students, Law, and Violence in Northern Thailand
Tyrell Haberkorn; Foreword by Thongchai Winichakul
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

In October 1973 a mass movement forced Thailand’s prime minister to step down and leave the country, ending nearly forty years of dictatorship. Three years later, in a brutal reassertion of authoritarian rule, Thai state and para-state forces quashed a demonstration at Thammasat University in Bangkok. In Revolution Interrupted, Tyrell Haberkorn focuses on this period when political activism briefly opened up the possibility for meaningful social change. Tenant farmers and their student allies fomented revolution, she shows, not by picking up guns but by invoking laws—laws that the Thai state ultimately proved unwilling to enforce.
    In choosing the law as their tool to fight unjust tenancy practices, farmers and students departed from the tactics of their ancestors and from the insurgent methods of the Communist Party of Thailand. To first imagine and then create a more just future, they drew on their own lived experience and the writings of Thai Marxian radicals of an earlier generation, as well as New Left, socialist, and other progressive thinkers from around the world. Yet their efforts were quickly met with harassment, intimidation, and assassinations of farmer leaders. More than thirty years later, the assassins remain unnamed.
    Drawing on hundreds of newspaper articles, cremation volumes, activist and state documents, and oral histories, Haberkorn reveals the ways in which the established order was undone and then reconsolidated. Examining this turbulent period through a new optic—interrupted revolution—she shows how the still unnameable violence continues to constrict political opportunity and to silence dissent in present-day Thailand.

[more]

front cover of Risky Rivers
Risky Rivers
The Economics and Politics of Floodplain Farming in Amazonia
Michael Chibnik
University of Arizona Press, 1994
While anthropologists and ecologists have carefully described the activities of the slash-and-burn cultivators, ranchers, and miners of tropical South America, they have largely overlooked the economic strategies and political struggles of riverine people who survive by flood-recession agriculture and fishing. These ribere¤os, who constitute the majority of the inhabitants of the Amazonian floodplains of Peru, have developed ecologically sustainable resource management practices that enable them to cope with periodic inundations of their fields by "risky rivers."

They have, however, suffered greatly from unpredictable crop prices and erratic state agricultural policies. Michael Chibnik here examines the household economies, cultural ecology, grassroots political organizations of ribere¤os living in three floodplain villages near Iquitos, Peru. He describes the villagers' remarkable history, their participation in misconceived development programs, and their longstanding conflicts with regional elites. Chibnik discusses the political ecology of the region in the context of arguments about appropriate development policies in tropical lowlands. Although ribere¤os practice intensive agriculture with low environmental impact, they have not been able to improve their economic circumstances in recent years. Chibnik's study is a significant and timely contribution to current debates about the possibility of sustainable, equitable development in Amazonia.
[more]

logo for University of Chicago Press
The Road to Rebellion
Class Formation and Kansas Populism, 1865-1900
Scott G. McNall
University of Chicago Press, 1988
In the late 1800s an unprecedented coalition of American farmers rose to challenge the course of national politics. Aspiring to a society in which justice and equality were the norm, the farmers galvanized thousands of voters, causing two dominant political parties to reshape their agendas. Yet by 1900, the movement was virtually dead. Scott G. McNall analyzes why America's largest mass-democratic movement failed. He focuses his inquiry on Kansas, the center of the agrarian rebellion that led to the creation of the Farmer's Alliance and, later, to the founding of the People's party. Integrating new historical accounts with original analyses of census data, Alliance membership records, and speech transcripts, McNall restores these Kansas voices, revealing their struggle against an entrenched class system, indifferent political parties, and economic hardship.

McNall rejects the traditional view that blames the failure of the Alliance on a turn to mass-based electoral politics, but rather sees the move into national politics by the Farmer's Alliance as part of a rational strategy to better wage their fight for economic justice. The Kansas populists failed, he argues, because of their inability to embrace a broad, working-class base, to provide an effective alternative vision, and ultimately to create a distinct class organization. Debates about how classes come into being, or how democracy is to be realized, cannot be settled in the abstract. McNall's recreation of this heroic struggle is a model in the analysis of class formation. At the same time, The Road to Rebellion is dynamic social history, which holds vital lessons for structuring and realizing alternative political agendas today.
[more]

front cover of Roots of Reform
Roots of Reform
Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877-1917
Elizabeth Sanders
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Roots of Reform offers a sweeping revision of our understanding of the rise of the regulatory state in the late nineteenth century. Sanders argues that politically mobilized farmers were the driving force behind most of the legislation that increased national control over private economic power. She demonstrates that farmers from the South, Midwest, and West reached out to the urban laborers who shared their class position and their principal antagonist—northeastern monopolistic industrial and financial capital—despite weak electoral support from organized labor.

Based on new evidence from legislative records and other sources, Sanders shows that this tenuous alliance of "producers versus plutocrats" shaped early regulatory legislation, remained powerful through the populist and progressive eras, and developed a characteristic method of democratic state expansion with continued relevance for subsequent reform movements.

Roots of Reform is essential reading for anyone interested in this crucial period of American political development.
[more]

front cover of Thad Snow
Thad Snow
A Life of Social Reform in the Missouri Bootheel
Bonnie Stepenoff
University of Missouri Press, 2003
Thad Snow (1881–1955) was an eccentric farmer and writer who was best known for his involvement in Missouri’s 1939 Sharecropper Protest—a mass highway demonstration in which approximately eleven hundred demonstrators marched to two federal highways to illustrate the plight of the cotton laborers. Snow struggled to make sense of the changing world, and his answers to questions regarding race, social justice, the environment, and international war placed him at odds with many. In Thad Snow, Bonnie Stepenoff explores the world of Snow, providing a full portrait of him.
Snow settled in the Missouri Bootheel in 1910—“Swampeast Missouri,” as he called it—when it was still largely an undeveloped region of hardwood and cypress swamps. He cleared and drained a thousand acres and became a prominent landowner, highway booster, and promoter of economic development—though he later questioned the wisdom of developing wild land.
In the early 1920s, “cotton fever” came to the region, and Snow started producing cotton in the rich southeast Missouri soil. Although he employed sharecroppers, he became a bitter critic of the system that exploited labor and fostered racism. In the 1930s, when a massive flood and the Great Depression heaped misery on the farmworkers, he rallied to their cause.
Defying the conventions of his class, he invited the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU) to organize workers on his land. He became a friend and colleague of Owen Whitfield, an African American minister, who led the Sharecroppers’ Roadside Strike of 1939. The successes of this great demonstration convinced Snow that mankind could fight injustice by peaceful means. While America mobilized for World War II, he denounced all war as evil, remaining a committed pacifist until his death in 1955. Shortly before he died, Snow published an autobiographical memoir, From Missouri, in which he affirmed his optimistic belief that people could peacefully change the world.
This biography places Snow in the context of his place and time, revealing a unique individual who agonized over racial and economic oppression and environmental degradation. Snow lived, worked, and pondered the connections among these issues in a small rural corner of Missouri, but he thought in global terms. Well-crafted and highly readable, Thad Snow provides an astounding assessment of an agricultural entrepreneur transformed into a social critic and an activist.
[more]

front cover of This State of Wonders
This State of Wonders
The Letters of an Iowa Frontier Family, 1858-1861
John Kent Folmar
University of Iowa Press, 1991

When the John Hugh Williams family immigrated to Homer, Iowa, in the 1850s, they had six children, ranging in age from five to twenty. Suddenly land poor, in debt, and caught in the Panic of '57, they sent their eldest son, James, to Georgia to work and add to the family income.

The seventy-five letters collected here represent the family's correspondence to their absent son and brother. From 1858 to 1861, James' sisters, brothers, mother, and father wrote to him frequently, each with distinct views on their daily life and struggles. While Mr. Williams wrote most often about money, farming, and moral advice (he was minister in the Church of New Jerusalem, as well as a merchant and farmer), Mrs. Williams commented on her daily chores, the family's health, the ever-important weather, and her leisure activities, including the contemporary journals and books she read, such as David Copperfield and Jane Eyre. James' sisters and brothers wrote about many concerns, from schoolwork and housework to games and family celebrations in nearby Webster City.

As the letters continue, the affection for the absent James becomes more pronounced. And, as the years go by, the letters touch on more current national trends, including the Pikes Peak Gold Rush and the growing North/South crisis, on which James and his family strongly disagree. James was never to return to Iowa but married and remained in the South, becoming a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army.

Complete with voices both young and old, male and female, This State of Wonders offers a wealth of information about the daily life of an ordinary family on the Iowa prairie. It is a book to be treasured by all Iowans interested in the early life of their state and by all historians looking for a complete portrait of family life on the midwestern frontier.

[more]

front cover of Toward a Cooperative Commonwealth
Toward a Cooperative Commonwealth
The Transplanted Roots of Farmer-Labor Radicalism in Texas
Thomas Alter II
University of Illinois Press, 2022
Agrarian radicalism's challenge to capitalism played a central role in working-class ideology while making third parties and protest movements a potent force in politics. Thomas Alter II follows three generations of German immigrants in Texas to examine the evolution of agrarian radicalism and the American and transnational ideas that influenced it. Otto Meitzen left Prussia for Texas in the wake of the failed 1848 Revolution. His son and grandson took part in decades-long activism with organizations from the Greenback Labor Party and the Grange to the Populist movement and Texas Socialist Party. As Alter tells their stories, he analyzes the southern wing of the era's farmer-labor bloc and the parallel history of African American political struggle in Texas. Alliances with Mexican revolutionaries, Irish militants, and others shaped an international legacy of working-class radicalism that moved U.S. politics to the left. That legacy, in turn, pushed forward economic reform during the Progressive and New Deal eras.

A rare look at the German roots of radicalism in Texas, Toward a Cooperative Commonwealth illuminates the labor movements and populist ideas that changed the nation’s course at a pivotal time in its history.

[more]

front cover of Waiting On The Bounty
Waiting On The Bounty
Dust Bowl Diary Mary Dyck
Pamela Riney-Kehrberg
University of Iowa Press, 1999
The daughter of German immigrants, Mary Knackstedt married Henry Dyck, a Mennonite farmer, and in 1905 moved west to a settlement near Lamont Township in Hamilton County, Kansas. For the next thirty years they enjoyed growth and prosperity. Then the drought and dust storms that had driven many farmers from the region in the early years of the century returned. The Dycks remained on their farm and witnessed the mass exodus of farmers and townspeople—including close friends and family—who fled the Kansas wheat country to find work.

Though she had only a fifth-grade education, Mary Knackstedt Dyck faithfully kept a diary. Written with pencil on lined notebook paper, her daily notations tell the story of farm life on the far western border of Kansas during the grim Dust Bowl years. Manuscript diaries from this era and region are extremely rare, and those written by farm women are even more so. From the point of view of a wife, mother, and partner in the farming enterprise, Dyck recorded the everyday events as well as the frustrations of living with drought and dust storms and the sadness of watching one's children leave the farm.
A remarkable historical document, the diary describes a period in this century before the telephone and indoor plumbing were commonplace in rural homes—a time when farm families in the Plains states were isolated from world events, and radio provided an enormously important link between farmsteads and the world at large. Waiting on the Bounty brings us unusual insights into the agricultural and rural history of the United States, detailing the tremendous changes affecting farming families and small towns during the Great Depression.
Pamela Riney-Kehrberg has provided an edited version of the diary entries from 1936 to 1941. Her informative introduction tells the story of the Dycks' settlement in western Kansas and places the diary in its historical context.
[more]

front cover of Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico
Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico
Climatic, Institutional, and Economic Change
Hallie Eakin
University of Arizona Press, 2006
From floods and droughts to tsunamis and hurricanes, recent years have seen a distressing and often devastating increase in extreme climatic events. While it is possible to study these disasters from a purely scientific perspective, a growing preponderance of evidence suggests that changes in the environment are related to both a shift in global economic relations and these weather-related disasters.

In Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico, Hallie Eakin draws on ethnographic data collected in three agricultural communities in rural Mexico to show how economic and climatic change are not only linked in cause and effect at the planetary scale but also interact in unpredictable and complex ways in the context of regional political and trade relationships, national economic and social programs, and the decision making of institutions, enterprises, and individuals.She shows how the parallel processes of globalization and climatic change result in populations that are “doubly exposed” and thus particularly vulnerable.

Chapters trace the effects of El Niño in central Mexico in the late 1990s alongside some of the principal changes in the country’s agricultural policy. Eakin argues that in order to develop policies that effectively address rural poverty and agricultural development, we need an improved understanding of how households cope simultaneously with various sources of uncertainty and adjust their livelihoods to accommodate newly evolving environmental, political, and economic realities.
[more]

front cover of When Horses Pulled the Plow
When Horses Pulled the Plow
Life of a Wisconsin Farm Boy, 1910–1929
Olaf F. Larson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011
In 1910, when Olaf F. Larson was born to tenant livestock and tobacco farmers in Rock County, Wisconsin, the original barn still stood on the property. It was filled with artifacts of an earlier time—an ox yoke, a grain cradle, a scythe used to cut hay by hand. But Larson came of age in a brave new world of modern inventions—tractors, trucks, combines, airplanes—that would change farming and rural life forever.
            When Horses Pulled the Plow is Larson’s account of that rural life in the early twentieth century. He weaves invaluable historical details—including descriptions of farm equipment, crops, and livestock—with wry tales about his family, neighbors, and the one-room schoolhouse he attended, revealing the texture of everyday life in the rural Midwest almost a century ago. This memoir, written by Larson in his ninth decade, provides a wealth of details recalled from an earlier era and an illuminating read for anyone with their own memories of growing up on a farm.
 
[more]


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter