Abstract: Over the last decade, transnational farmland deals in the global South have become increasingly prevalent and controversial. Framed by scholars as a new global land rush, they have highlighted the shifting geopolitics of development cooperation, as well as ongoing questions about agricultural investment, food security, and infrastructure. Yet because of their political sensitivities and often ambiguous data trails, transnational land deals have often proven difficult to study up close. Using the case of contemporary Laos, this talk develops the concept of micro-geopolitics, which I argue helps to explain the uneven geography of plantation development and associated smallholder dispossession in northwestern Laos’s so-called “Chinese rubber boom.” Using a mix of ethnographic and historical methods, the talk engages debates about the global land rush, including how it works and what can be done about it; and argues for analytic and policy approaches that include accounting for multi-decadal legacies of transnational conflict.
Geography's Colloquium - Turning battlefields into marketplaces: Grounding the global land rush in postwar Laos by Dr. Mike Dwyer
Friday, February 14, 2020
3:35 P.M. – 4:35 P.M.
Location: Student Building 005