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Food systems and sovereignty: Exploring geographies of uneven development in the Caribbean

Food systems and sovereignty: Exploring geographies of uneven development in the Caribbean
100 St. George Street, Room SS2125
Time: Jan 13th, 3:00 pm End: Jan 13th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Geography & Planning (FAS), Food Studies, Environment, Caribbean, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Talk by Marion Werner

The Department of Anthropology presents

Food systems and sovereignty: Exploring geographies of uneven development in the Caribbean

This paper considers broader debates on food sovereignty and uneven development in relation to the Dominican Republic's food system. The Dominican state plays a central role in the country's food production relative to many of its neighbours in the Caribbean, a region highly exposed to international market regulation of food and agriculture. The form of the state's involvement was forged through right-wing land reforms of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which incorporated some 30,000 households into domestic rice production. Today, these "reform sector" farmers, together with their private sector counterparts, meet the country's entire demand for this staple crop. Rice production is characterized by intensive use of imported agro-chemicals, a largely Haitian migrant workforce, state subsidies to irrigation, a government-funded warehousing and insurance scheme, and, crucially, a protected market. Dominican rice production clearly plays a role in materializing state sovereignty in the context of a regulatory patchwork formally dominated by international markets and multinational corporations. As the country begins the process of lowering tariff barriers for rice and other sensitive food items under the provisions of a free trade agreement (i.e., DR-CAFTA), the paper offers a basis for the consideration of food sovereignty in the context of uneven regulatory development.

Marion Werner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Her research is located at the nexus of critical development studies, feminist theory, and political economy with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. She brings these theoretical perspectives to her work on the economic restructuring of export industries, the gender and racial politics of labor, and, more recently, agro-food systems and development policy. Her work has appeared in several journals including Gender, Place and Culture, Antipode, Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Development and Change. Her book, Global Displacements: The making of uneven development in the Caribbean (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) reveals how uneven development is reproduced by capital and the everyday aspirations of people incorporated into and excluded from circuits of accumulation. Dr. Werner's current research project explores changing forms of regulation in Caribbean food systems, and is supported by an early career grant from the Regional Studies Association.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is required. For further information, please contact the Department of Anthropology at (416) 978-4805.

 


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