Alexander Samuel Korsunsky

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Vanderbilt U.

Grant number

Gr. 10012

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Korsunsky, Alexander (Vanderbilt U.) " Relocalizing agriculture in a transnational world: settled farmworkers and the political ecology of place "

Anthropologists critique the rift between food systems literature focused on alternative agriculture, ecology, and consumer health, and a farmworker literature oriented toward labor, resistance, and exploitation. However, we have continued to look primarily to the former in our attempts to imagine positive agrarian futures; while global peasant movements are recognized as a major force for a relocalized and ecologically responsible agriculture, the landless campesinos who labor in US agroindustry have generally been engaged only within the limits of their position as racialized and alienated laborers, and overlooked as possible collaborators in imagining new forms of appropriate, place-based agriculture. Working with settled immigrants from Mexican campesino communities, I ask: how do farmworkers imagine a positive vision of agriculture, and how can their efforts to achieve their aspirations as independent farmers illuminate the possibilities and limitations for socially just and ecologically responsible alternative agriculture? Given the importance of relocalization within alternative agriculture and food sovereignty movements and scholarship, and the discourses of transience and alienation that distance farmworkers from wider food movements, this begs a corollary question: What conceptions or experiences of place are mobilized by these farmer/workers’ practices and aspirations, and how can they productively complicate conceptions of local food?