Cornell University

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A Conversation on the Plantationocene

Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 11:00am to 4:00pm

Virtual Event

This virtual conference, sponsored by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and Migrations: A Global Grand Challenge, brings together a diverse group of scholars, activists, and practitioners to discuss the role that plantations and plantation agriculture have played in shaping the nature, structure, and dynamics of the modern era.

Although plantations have long been the subject of study, the Plantationocene as a concept emerged only in the past few years to describe the role of racialized, large-scale plantation agriculture in establishing a world system that to this day lives with the legacy and continuation of slavery, forced migration, dispossession, and mono-crop extractive agriculture intended for export production.

This article serves as a frame for the conversation: Wolford, Wendy, 2021 “The Plantationocene: A Lusotropical Contribution to the Theory,” Annals of the American Association of Geographers, early view online.

Over two days of roundtable discussions (April 15-16), scholars and activists from a variety of disciplines of critical social theory and practice, including agrarian studies, political ecology, development studies, black geographies and feminist theory, will discuss the Plantationocene and to what extent this conceptional framework may be usefulnot just for analytical purposes, but also for activism and practice.

The conference is available in Portuguese through simultaneous interpretation on the same Zoom channel. All sessions will be recorded.


Wendy Wolford, Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor, Department of Global Development, Cornell University


  • Gerard Aching, Professor of Africana and Romance Studies, Cornell University
  • Yasmine Ahmed, Postdoctoral teaching fellow, The American University in Cairo
  • Sarah Besky, Associate Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
  • Rachel Bezner-Kerr, Professor of Global Development, Cornell University
  • Jun Borras, Professor of Agrarian Studies, Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, the Hague
  • Natacha Bruna, PhD candidate, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, the Hague 
  • Judith Carney, Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Sophie Chao, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Sydney
  • Sharad Chari, Associate Professor of Geography, University of California, Berkeley
  • Youjin Chung, Assistant Professor of Energy and Resources Group and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley
  • Andrew Curley, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Arizona
  • Mary Jo Dudley, Director of the Cornell Farmworker Program, Cornell University
  • Christopher Dunn, Elizabeth Newman Wilds Executive Director of Cornell Botanic Gardens, Cornell University
  • Divya Dutta, Researcher, Oxfam America and Oxfam Great Britain
  • Jennifer Franco, Activist and Researcher at the Transnational Institute (TNI), the Hague
  • Shannon Gleeson, Professor of Labor Relations, Law, and History, Cornell University
  • Jenny Goldstein, Assistant Professor of Global Development, Cornell University
  • Euclides Gonçalves, Director and Researcher, Kaleidoscopio, Research in Public Policy, Mozambique
  • Carla Gras, Researcher and Professor of Sociology, University of Buenos Aires
  • Julie Guthman, Professor of Social Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Shalmali Guttal, Executive Director, Focus on the Global South, Bangkok
  • Tania Murray Li, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
  • Juliet Lu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability
  • Fouad Makki, Associate Professor of Global Development, Cornell University
  • Priscilla McCutcheon, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Kentucky
  • Philip McMichael, Professor of Global Development, Cornell University
  • Gregg Mitman, Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Sharlene Mollett, Distinguished Professor in Feminist Cultural Geography, Nature and Society and Associate Professor of Geography, University of Toronto
  • João Mosca, Director, Observatório do Meio Rural, Maputo 
  • Andrew Ofstehage, Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell University
  • Kasia Paprocki, Assistant Professor of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Deniz Pelek, Postdoctoral Researcher in the MIGRADEMO Project, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Nancy Peluso, Professor of Society and Environment and Chair of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Prabhu Pingali, Professor of Applied Economics and Policy, Cornell University
  • Rachel Beatty Riedl, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and Director of the Einaudi Center, Cornell University
  • Caitlin Rosenthal, Associate Professor, History, University of California, Berkeley
  • Sergio Sauer, Professor in the Center for Sustainable Development, University of Brasília
  • Judite Stronzake, Activist in the Movement of Landless Workers (MST), Brazil and Professor of Education, Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados
  • Eric Tagliacozzo, John Stamburgh Professor, Department of History, Cornell University
  • Anna Tsing, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Michael Watts, Chancellor’s Professor of Geography Emeritus, and Co-Director of Development Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Wendy Wolford, Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development, Cornell University
  • Yunan Xu, Post-doctoral researcher, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • John Aloysius Zinda, Assistant Professor, Global Development, Cornell University

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