Agroecological Frontiers in Postwar Mexico

Saturday, January 7, 2017: 10:50 AM
Room 605 (Colorado Convention Center)
Christopher Boyer, University of Illinois at Chicago
This paper considers how the advent of Green Revolution technologies and outlooks refashioned agriculture from the 1940s to the present. This paper provides a bird’s eye view of megaprojects launched in the 19 50s and 1960s, and today, that proposed to modernize a putatively backward agricultural sector through the use of irrigation, fertilizers, and other inputs. These policies not only refashioned Mexican agroecology, they ultimately favored commercial farming over the land-reform (ejidal) sector and sparked the so-called campesinista debates of the 1970s and 80s in which intellectuals, rural leaders, and politicians debated the possibility that “peasants” (campesinos) were destined to become a rural proletariat. The paper will conclude with a discussion over whether this has in fact occurred, despite the continued existence of the land reform sector, and what the changing face of agriculture can tell us about current social and ecological conditions.