Campus Box 1114
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
My research is on environmental anthropology, political ecology, and science & technology studies. I am particularly interested in the social and political aspects of agricultural systems; agricultural sustainability; intensification and industrialization; indigenous knowledge; responses to population increase; agricultural biotechnology; and alternative food/farming systems. I have worked on ancient, historic, and contemporary nonindustrialized farmers in Africa, India, and North America.
One focus of my present research is on the spread of genetically modified crops in developing countries. After working in a laboratory specializing in transformation of tropical crops, and completing a multi-year, multi-village field study of Andhra Pradesh farmers as GM cotton was being adopted, I am starting a project on indigenous knowledge and technology change among rice and cotton farmers in India and the Philippines (including impacts of “Golden Rice”).
A second research focus is on the new small farm movement in the US and Canada, including the economic and ecological aspects of sustainability and historical perspectives on small farmers in Appalachia.
A third focus of current work is on the politics of agricultural research and interventions.
Earlier research projects examined social and agricultural change among Kofyar and Tiv populations in Nigeria. With the Kofyar I analyzed the social organization of labor and landscape in an intensive, sustainable system. Comparative research on Tiv showed different responses to land scarcity, including conflict and the manipulation of local political processes to avoid intensification. I have also worked on Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazis), especially political and agricultural responses to population increase.
Since 2011 I have been president of the Anthropology and Environment Society.
A detailed publications list with links is available here.
On biotechnology in India:
2011 Field vs. Farm in Warangal: Bt Cotton, Higher Yields, and larger Questions. World Development 39(3):387-398. [pdf]
2007 The Birth and Death of Traditional Knowledge: Paradoxical Effects of Biotechnology in India. In Biodiversity and the Law: Intellectual Property, Biotechnology and Traditional Knowledge, edited by Charles McManis, pp 207-238. Earthscan. [pdf]
For discussion of this work, see: The Napster pirates of transgenic biotech (Salon.com)
2007 Agricultural Deskilling and the Spread of Genetically Modified Cotton in Warangal. Current Anthropology 48:67-103. [pdf]
For discussion of this work, see: Ganesh and Brahma bow to a new god (Salon.com)
On biotechnology in general:
2010 Anthropology of Genetically Modified Crops. Annual Review of Anthropology 39:381-400. [pdf]
2005 A Science of the Gray: Malthus, Marx, and the Ethics of Studying Crop Biotechnology. In Embedding Ethics: Shifting Boundaries of the Anthropological Profession, ed. L. Meskell and P. Pels, pp. 197-217. Berg, Oxford. [pdf]
2002 Both Sides Now: Fallacies in the Genetic-Modification Wars, Implications for Developing Countries, and Anthropological Perspectives. Current Anthropology, 43(4):611-630 [CA + enhanced online article for subscribers or local pdf file with backgrounder)
On Science & Technology Studies of agriculture:
2012 Constructing Facts: Bt Cotton Narratives in India. Economic & Political Weekly 47(38):62-70. [pdf]
2011 Contradictions in the Last Mile: Suicide, Culture, and E-Agriculture in Rural India. Science, Technology and Human Values, in press. [pdf]
On theories of agricultural change:
2001 Theory of the Square Chicken: Advances in Agricultural Intensification Theory. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 42:163-180. [pdf]
1999 (Stone, G.D. and C.E. Downum) Non-Boserupian Ecology and Agricultural Risk: Ethnic Politics and Land Control in the Arid Southwest. American Anthropologist 101:113-128. (GORDON WILLEY AWARD, 2000) [pdf]
1998 Keeping the Home Fires Burning: The Changed Nature of Householding in the Kofyar Homeland. Human Ecology 26:239-265. [pdf]
On social and agricultural change in Nigeria:
1997 Predatory Sedentism: Intimidation and Intensification in the Nigerian Savanna. Human Ecology 25:223-242. [pdf]
1996 Settlement Ecology: The Social and Spatial Organization of Kofyar Agriculture. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. [link]
1990 (with Robert Netting and Priscilla Stone) Seasonality, Labor Scheduling and Agricultural Intensification in the Nigerian Savanna. American Anthropologist 92:7-23. [pdf]