8 – if not neatly a process of “americanization” what about a process of “industrialization”, first of the US South by the North and, then, elsewhere? A process from labor intensive, to capital intensive agriculture, designed to promote urbanization and social control?
This book, as a lesson for environmental history, is that environmental factors, causes, and changes often happen irrespective of political boundaries
Chapter 2 – agro-policy exchange between US and MEX during 1930s was dialogue, not monologue
I feel like Olsson better established that Americans and Mexicans wanted to exchange agro-policies with one another, rather than that they actually did make those exchanges…
133-134 – two schools of opinion on the ejiditarios during WWII — one from hacendados, clergy, and business interests that it’s an inefficient system that promotes indolence — the other from political progressives and radicals claiming that the hacienda system is medieval and that the ejido system simply needs financial and technological investment to become far more productive than the hacienda system. Any schools advocating that ejiditarios simply need autonomy and time to optimize the productivity of their newly acquired lands?
141 – “In 1927, nearly all US corn farmers planted their crop from last year’s seed, choosing varieties based on yield, aesthetics, and hardiness. They drew on a deep well of mltigenerational, place-based knowledge in selecting seeds . . ..”
143 – Eduardo Limon Garcia — Mexican corn breeder trained at Iowa State and therefore had “romantic devotion” to double-cross hybrids despite their obvious drawbacks for the socio-economic and cultural conditions of mexican agriculture and against the recommendation of Mangelsdorf
149 – miguel aleman’s corn commission and its preference for double hybrid corn over open-pollinated synthetic corn — double hybrid’s infeasibility of replanting from it’s own seed creates a dependency relationship between the farmer and the provider of seed (in this case the Corn Commission, i.e. the Mex. Fed. gov’t). This dependency relationship maps onto traditional Mexican political phenomenon of paternalism and clientelism of the state/PNR/PRI
Where does Agrarian Crossings fit in the historiography of environmental history? Is it even an environmental history per se? How does it express the conjunctive spatio-temporality of environmental phenomena?
The analogousness of the US South and rural Mexico was predicated on the spatial analogy of their landscapes and their latifundia/minifundia land distribution dilemmas, as well as on the temporal analogy of their “backwardness” and archaism. Somehow, the reconfiguration of the spatial arrangements of their agricultures were supposed to “thrust them forward” in time. Ironically, at the beginning of these projects, in the early 20th century, latifundia (in both the US South and Mexico) were medieval and feudal and therefore underdeveloped and the minifundium of the yeoman farmer was the “present” ideal. By the end of the story during the cold war, minifundia were inefficiently impracticable relics of agriculture, and latifundia worked by machines and chemicals were the “way of the future.” Thus, various temporal projections forward in time (toward modernity) and backward in time (toward barbarism) were performed through various reconfigurations of the spatial conceptions of the dimensions and scales of the landscape.
In another, comparable example, the future (or ideal present as “modernity”), conceived of as urbanization and industrialization, was also imagined and attained through the coercion of the rural population into cities, reconfiguring the spatial domain of habitation. This is connected to the previous example, because the privileging of the wealthy latifundia landowners, allowing for the dispossession, depopulation, and enclosure of formerly communal, tribal, or smallholding lands decisively drove migration to the cities.