UC Santa Barbara Environment
is a hub for environmental news, events, education, research, and outreach at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and in the surrounding community.
The agrarian question in the 20th and early 21st century has been the subject of sharply polarized debates. These debates, often Eurocentric in scope and focus, approach agrarian change through the over-determined category of ‘agrarian transition’; that is, the generalization of capitalist relations. The unintended consequence is to naturalize ‘primitive accumulation’ or ongoing dispossession, particularly in settler colonial societies. Strikingly, these debates often ignore the differential weight and effect of race, class, indigeneity, ethnicity and gender. In response to historical and ongoing racialized dispossession, we are witnessing a global explosion of insurgent agency from below including the Zimbabwe fast track land reform, the Zapatista movement, No Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL) Movement, Amadiba Crisis Committee against Australian Mining in South Africa, amongst others. The self- activity and independent self-organization of subaltern classes globally are important building blocks for rethinking anti-capitalist agrarian change; however, it has received limited attention of scholars with a few notable exceptions. The talk seeks to redress this lacuna by rethinking the agrarian question grounded in the self-activity and insurgent agency of subaltern classes. This shifts our analytic lens away from the mechanistic, linear, stageist approach that has narrowed the parameters in which the agrarian question has been debated.
“What we're trying to do here at UCSB is come up with solutions.”