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Geographies of agriculture, food and nutrition

This sub-theme explores the practices and politics of food production, distribution and consumption and their significance for human wellbeing across different periods and geographical contexts. Interests include questions of food shortage and food security, the nature and significance of indigenous, smallholder or livestock production systems, food and forest relations, and old and new transformations to food production including, for example, the social and ecological impacts of large-scale land acquisitions, new cultures of food, the design and roll-out of cutting-edge agro-technologies, the fostering and incubation of new attachments and embodied relations between people and land, and political processes involved in the making of various Green Revolutions. A shared concern is with understanding agriculture, food and nutrition as implicated in wider political processes related to land or subjects and their uneven outcomes.

Research projects

Research projects currently being undertaken on this theme include:

Agrarian change and rural transformations in India

Agrarian change and rural transformations in India

This project hopes to open a new conversation about the future of agriculture in India. It involves a series of structured dialogues designed to challenge existing thinking and provide opportunities to articulate alternative visions for the future of Indian agriculture.

Rethinking global food security

Rethinking global food security

This project examines food security as an epistemological object. In particular, the project looks at how the problem of hunger is constructed through the lens of 'food security' and how this knowledge-power constellation authorizes policy interventions sanctioned in the name of a higher 'moral' purpose. At the broadest level, this research asks who defines what 'hunger' is, where it exists, and how best to superintend and manage its remediation?

A comparative study of subsistence crises

A comparative study of subsistence crises

This research stresses the importance of comparative historical analysis, arguing that there is much to learn by assessing famines across space and time.

Agroforestry and sustainability in the humid tropics

Agroforestry and sustainability in the humid tropics

Research in the Cambridge Geography Department on the nutrient dynamics of agroforestry in the humid tropics began more than twenty years ago. This research project provides an overview of recent activity.

Agricultural intensification in pre-colonial Melanesia

Agricultural intensification in pre-colonial Melanesia

The New Guinea project is an attempt to reconstruct the prehistorical geography of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea using archaeological data. Topics include the response of highlands society to tephra fallout from volcanic eruptions, implications of agricultural intensification for gender relations, and links between production, exchange and warfare.