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Race, Containment, and the Settler-Imperial Politics of the Green Revolution

  • Author(s): Ayazi, Hossein
  • Advisor(s): Iles, Alastair
  • Feldman, Keith P.
  • et al.
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Abstract

From roughly the early 1940s to the early 1970s, the United States led a set of international capital-intensive agricultural research, technology, and education transfer initiatives. These initiatives were designed to facilitate a more expansive market agrarianism, increase agricultural yields, and combat hunger amidst concerns of a rapidly growing population. Yet, named the “Green Revolution,” these initiatives, in their push for the development of industrial agriculture oriented to the global market, ultimately preempted peasant unrest and undermined larger revolutionary action as they reconstituted states as guarantors of agricultural markets in service of U.S. state power and transnational capitalism.

This dissertation, Race, Containment, and the Settler-Imperial Politics of the Green Revolution, recognizes the Green Revolution as an exercise in the risk management of racial capitalism during a period of great social upheaval: when overlapping, internationalized anticolonial and civil rights movements named the limits of racial democracy and risked undercutting postwar U.S. state power and transnational capitalism. Race, Containment, and the Settler-Imperial Politics of the Green Revolution argues that the mid-twentieth century technical, scientific, and education cooperation efforts, and paired innovations in governance and administration, elaborated upon U.S. state-led and capital-intensive efforts to cultivate forms of Native and Black market agrarianisms developed in the early-twentieth century.

Operating in service of the accumulation of wealth and the exercise of geopolitical power, the Green Revolution remade peoples and places in accordance with the anti-Black and settler colonial logics of the plantation and reservation. Additionally, the transit of the plantation and the reservation toward such ends was based upon domestic innovations in U.S. slave and settler capitalisms. The framework of agricultural technical and scientific cooperation and paired innovations in governance and administration during the mid-twentieth crystallized the emergent trope of “development.” Yet, problematizations of the plantation and reservation in the early twentieth century prefigured such developments globally.

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This item is under embargo until July 21, 2022.