Land Symposium & Events

The purview of the Land Project is indeed broad and involves colleagues across many disciplines as is evident from the range of events hosted over their productive three-year term.

Past Events

September 7, 2012
The Darwin Economy
4 – 5:00 p.m. 404 Plant Sciences
This event is sponsored by Robert H. Frank, the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the co-director of the Paduano Seminar in business ethics at NYU’s Stern School of Business. His “Economic View” column appears monthly in The New York Times. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. He received his B.S. in mathematics from Georgia Tech, then taught math and science for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Nepal.

October 5, 2012
Lecture by Sir Partha Dasgupta 
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. G10 Biotech
This event is sponsored by Cornell CALS Joint Environmental Social Science Seminar SeriesSir Partha Dasgupta is one of the world’s premier experts in the field of economics. He is currently the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics and past chairman of the faculty of economics and politics at the University of Cambridge. From 1991 to 1997, Dasgupta was chairman of the scientific board of the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and, from 1989 to 1992, professor of economics and philosophy, and director of the Program in Ethics in Society at Stanford University. His research interests have covered welfare and development economics; the economics of technological change; population, environmental, and resource economics; the theory of games; and the economics of under nutrition.

October 17-19, 2012
Global Land Grabbing II Conference
The purpose of the 2012 conference is to continue deepening and broadening of understanding of global land deals. The conference will examine broader topics around land grab intersections with political economy, political ecology and political sociology. There will be a series of parallel sessions on a range of themes responding to the issues including, agrarian change, finance, and international policy actors.

November 29, 2012
Land Project Affiliates’ Luncheon
Noon-1:30 p.m. 423 ILR Conference Center
This working lunch was an opportunity for project affiliates and interested participants to share their ideas and interests for events to be held during the 2013-2014 academic year. See notes.

March 20, 2013
Applications Due
Graduate Research Fellowships
The ISS expects to award 6 students pursuing either a Master’s or Ph.D. $2,500 to support field work related to the ISS Theme Project, Contested Global Landscapes.

April 10, 2013
Kick-off Lecture: Contested Global Landscapes
4:30- 6:00 p.m. 423 ILR Conference Center
Please join us for this lecture introducing the 2012-2015 theme project. The team’s faculty co-leaders, Charles Geisler and Wendy Wolford, both from Development Sociology, will discuss the team’s key research questions, specific research projects, and public activities. Team members will be on hand for Q & A following the lecture. Refreshments will be provided. For any accessibility accommodations, please contact

April 5-6, 2013
Agrarian Crisis in India?
ISS Co-Sponsored Event
Annual Conference of the Cornell/Syracuse Title VI South Asia Center presents: Agrarian Crisis in India? There have always been agrarian crises in India — for individuals, for whole classes, sectors, districts, for some crops, in some years. This conference investigates current characterizations of crisis in both media and political circles.

April 22, 2013
Overcoming Dogma and Prophecies of Doom to Save Nature
5- 6:30p.m. David L. Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall
Lecturer: Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy, Chief Scientist
Conservation is on the defensive. One way forward is to embrace the potential for recovery, restoration, and even rewilding, while realizing that nature never stands still. New messages, new science, new alliances, and a new nature are conservation’s best hope.

April 23, 2013
Roundtable Discussion on Land Conservation Themes
3:30- 5:00pm, 225 ILR Conference Center (King-Shaw Hall)
An in-depth look at current conservation themes – moderated by Drew Harvell (EEB), and featuring Peter Kareiva, Andy Zepp (Finger Lakes Land Trust), Aaron Sachs (HIST), Sara Pritchard (STS), and Sunny Power (EEB)

April 29, 2013
Changing Crops for a Changing Climate: What Can Biotechnology Contribute?
2- 6:00p.m. Statler Auditorium
Lecturer: Mark Lynas, Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment
Following his presentation Mark Lynas will join a panel discussion with Ron Herring, Professor, Government (moderator); Peter Davies, Professor, Plant Biology; Mary-Howell Martens, Owner, Martens Farm and Lakeview Organic Grains; Margaret Smith, Professor, Plant Breeding and Genetics; David Wolfe, Professor, Horticulture; and Wendy Wolford, Associate Professor, Development Sociology.

May 13-17, 2013
Institute on Contested Landscapes
Twelve participants were selected to attend the inaugural Summer Institute on Contested Landscapes. Focused on property, this week-long session seeks to develop and apply critical analyses to important questions. What is property, who and what is eligible for ownership, and who decides? What is the relationship between changing property forms and sustainability, development, and democracy? The Institute on Contested Landscapes is sponsored by Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and the Social Science Research Council.

May 14, 2013
ISS Land Institute Event
What is Property and Does it Matter?
Stuart Banner, UCLA Law
4-5:30 PM: 423 ILR Conference Center

May 16, 2013 
ISS’ Land Institute’s Event
Global and Local Commons: Emergent Institutions with Residual Property Forms
Kathryn Milun, Sociology & Anthropology, University of Minnesota- Duluth
4:30-6:00 p.m.; 423 ILR Conf. Center

May 17, 2013
ISS’ Land Institute’s Event
Messy Hectare: Questions about the Epistemology of Land Grabbing Data
Marc Edelman, Anthropology, Hunter College and Graduate Center, City University of New York
2-3:30 p.m. Guerlac Room, AD White House

September 6, 2013
What is Land? (Public Panel and Reception)
Panel 3-5:00 p.m. & Reception 5:00-6:00 p.m.; 423 ILR Conference Center. ‘”Land’ as an Indigenous Category: Pacific Insights,” Aletta Biersack, Anthropology, University of Oregon, What is Whenua? Considering Maori Conceptions of Land-Human Relationships before the Waitangi Tribunal,” Andie Diane Palmer, Anthropology, University of Alberta

September 13, 2013
Paper Discussion: Imposing Territoriality: First Nation Land Claims and the Transformation of Human-Environment Relations in the Yukon
Paul Nadasdy, Anthropology, Cornell University
3-4:30 p.m.; 229 ILR Conference Center

September 20, 2013
The Challenge of Representing Competing Demands for Land
John Reilly, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change; Center for Environmental Policy Research, MIT Sloan School of Management
3-4:30 p.m.; 225 ILR Conference Center

September 24, 2013
Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America
Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food and Water Watch, discusses her new book.
3:15-4:15 PM; Statler Auditorium
Cosponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

September 27, 2013
Diminished Dominion: The Loss of the Global Land Endowments
Charles Geisler, Development Sociology, Cornell University
3-4:30 p.m.; 225 ILR Conference Center

October 1, 2013
Social Movements & Sustainability: Contributions, Debates & Outreach
Wendy Wolford and Shorna Allred
12-1:00 p.m.; 300 Rice Hall
Lunch will be provided. Please reply to Pat Hoyt at
if you would like to attend.
This topical lunch event is sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

October 4, 2013
Property for Human Flourishing
Greg Alexander, Cornell Law School
3-4:30 p.m.; 225 ILR Conference Center

Friday, October 18, 2013
How Do We Market Land? (Presentation and Reception)
“Cultivating Profit: Finance Discovers Global Land Markets,” Madeleine Fairbairn, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Financialization, Distance and Global Food Politics,” Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability and Full Professor, Environment and Resource Studies Department, University of Waterloo
Presentation: 3-5:00 p.m. & Reception 5:00-6:00 p.m.; 225 ILR Conference Center. This event is cosponsored by the Department of Development Sociology and the Polson Institute for Global Development.

Friday, October 25, 2013
Property Rights in Transition: Land and Power in Postwar South Sudan
David Deng, South Sudan Law Society
3-4:30 p.m.; 225 ILR Conference Center
This event is cosponsored by the Institute for African Development, Development Sociology and the Polson Institute for Global Development.

Friday, November 1, 2013
Anti-Biotech Movements in the European Union
Franz Seifert, University of Vienna, Austria
3-4:30 p.m. 225 ILR Conference Center
This event is cosponsored by the Department of European Studies, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Development Sociology, and the Polson Institute for Global Development.

Monday, November 4, 2013
Public Trust Policy: Implications for State Wildlife Professionals
12-1 PM, 300 Rice Hall
Christian Smith, Wildlife Management Institute, offers a perspective on public trust policy grounded in practice. This lunch meeting is sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Thursday, November 7, 2013
Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability
Join us at Mann Library for a Chats in the Stacks book talk
With Chris Barrett, Wendy Wolford, Joanna Upton, and Samuel Crowell
4:00 p.m. Stern Seminar Room, 160 Mann Library

Friday, November 8, 2013
Violence and the Land Panel
3-5:00 p.m. 225 ILR Conference Center

  • The Agrarian Violence within Brazil since the Redemocratization — Note: Please read the discussion paper beforehand. Artur Zimerman, Visiting Scholar at Cornell University from Federal University of ABC Region, São Paulo, Brazil (UFABC)
  • Rediscovering Africa? The Role of Brazilian Experts and Expertise in Mozambican Agriculture. Wendy Wolford, Development Sociology, Cornell University

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Cayuga Land Claims
Peter Whitely, Curator, American Museum of Natural History
1:25-2:40 PM; 100 Caldwell Hall

Friday & Saturday, November 22-23, 2013
Ecosystem Services as Simplification: Knowledge Production in Practice (Workshop)
Steven Wolf, Natural Resources, Cornell University
Sara Pritchard, Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University
November 22, 2013: 1-5:30 PM; 423 ILR Conference Center
November 23, 2013: 8:30 AM -1:00 PM; 423 ILR Conference Center. Lunch served on Nov 23.

Friday, December 6, 2013
Property, Power and Freedom
Eduardo Peñalver, University of Chicago Law School
3:00-4:30 PM; 225 ILR Conference Center

Friday, January 31, 2014
Owning/Controlling the Underground
David Kay, CARDI, Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University
3-4:30 PM; An affiliates reception will follow his talk.
423 ILR Conference Center

Friday, February 7, 2014
Water and Land Panel
3-5 PM;225 ILR Conference Center
Hydroimperialism and Hydrocapitalism: Irrigation Technologies in Algeria and Beyond
Sara Pritchard, Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University

Any Distant Archipelago: Oceans, Islands, Havens
Raymond Craib, History, Cornell University

Monday, February 10, 2014
Historicizing the Land Grab: The Unfolding, and Unraveling, of the Global Food Regime
Philip McMichael, International Professor and Chair, Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University
4:45 PM; 165 McGraw Hall

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Payment for Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes; Navigating Neoliberalism and Mythology to Advance Outcome-Based Conservation Policy

Steven Wolf, Natural Resources
12:20 – 1:10 PM, 135 Emerson Hall

Thursday, February 13, 2014
Young Social Scientists’ Sustainability Research Conference
8 AM- 1 PM; 423 ILR Conference Center

Friday, February 14, 2014 (Cancelled due to Weather.)
Wild Blue: The Undersea World as Frontier in the 1950s and 1960s
Helen Rozwadowski, History, University of Connecticut
3-4:30 PM; 225 ILR Conference Center

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Planetary Boundaries and Poverty Alleviation – Do We Have to Choose? (Topical Lunch)
Mathis Wackernagel, Executive Director of Global Ecological Footprint Network
Hosted by Laurie Drinkwater and Wendy Wolford
12-1:00 PM; 300 Rice Hall
This event is sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

Friday, February 28, 2014
Mobilizing Culture: Landless Peasant Politics in Santa Cruz Bolivia
Nicole Fabricant, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, Towson University
3-4:30 PM; 423 ILR Conference Center

Friday, March 7, 2014
Food, Farm and FuelPanel Discussion led by Philip McMichael, Development Sociology, Cornell University
What We Talk About When We Talk About Hunger: An Etymology of Food Policy, Nick Cullather, History, Indiana University-Bloomington
Footprint Technopolitics and the Greening of Big Food, Susanne Freidberg, Geography, Dartmouth College
Panel 3-5 PM; 423 ILR Conference Center

Friday, March 14, 2014
Land and Land Use Rights in China
Calum Turvey, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
3-4:30 PM: 225 ILR Conference Center

Friday, March 21, 2014
The Plantation and the Mine: Nouveau-Colonization of Land in Indonesia
Nancy Peluso, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
3-4:30 PM; 225 ILR Conference Center
This event is cosponsored by the Southeast Asia ProgramDepartment of Development Sociology and the Polson Institute for Global Development.

Friday, April 11, 2014
Deepening Histories of Private Conservation, Science, and Patrimony in Patagonia
Emily Wakild, History, Boise State University
3-4:30 PM; 225 ILR Conference Center

Friday, April 18, 2014
What Are the Implications of Mozambique’s Natural Gas Boom for the Rural Economy?
Steven Kyle, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
3-4:30 PM; 225 ILR Conference Center

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Deal of the Century! Political Economic Construction of Multifunctional Landscapes in the Adirondacks

Steven Wolf, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
12:00-1:00 PM; 461 Kennedy Hall
Sponsored by the Department of Landscape Architecture

Friday, May 2, 2014
Challenging Social Inequality: The Movement for Agrarian Reform in Brazil
Miguel Carter, Political Science, American University, and
Isis Domingos Barbosa Campos, Casa Brasileira de Pesquisa e Cooperacão
3-5 PM:225 ILR Conference Center

Friday, May 9, 2014
Frontiers: Contested Global Landscapes
Michael Watts, Class of ’63 Professor of Geography
Co-Chair, Department of Development Studies
UC Berkeley
3:30-4:30 PM, 423 ILR Conference Center

Friday, May 9, 2014
Contested Global Landscapes Graduate Student Paper Workshop
9:00 AM-5:00 PM, 423 ILR Conference Center

Sunday, May 18 – Friday, May 23, 2014
Knowledge and Politics of Land
2014 Summer Institute on Contested Land
Cornell University

Monday, May 19, 2014
The Land Question and Knowledge Politics
Philip McMichael
Chair, Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University
4-5:30 PM; 401 Physical Sciences Building

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Beyond the Subterranean Energy Regime?: Fuel, Land-Use, and the Production of Space
Matthew Huber
Geography, Syracuse University
4-5:30 PM; 401 Physical Sciences Building

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Killing Life to Make Life: The Biopolitics of Soil Fumigant Regulation in California’s Strawberry Industry
Julie Guthman
Food, Politics and Economy, University of California Santa Cruz
4:30-6 PM, 401 Physical Sciences Building

Thursday, October 23, 2014
The Neoliberal Regime in the Agri-Food Sector
4-5 PM, Room 160, Mann Library
Steven Wolf, Natural Resources, will discuss his new book. Professor Wolf is a member of the ISS’ land theme project.

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Wild Blue: The Undersea World as Frontier in the 1950s and 1960s
4:45-6:15 PM, Guerlac Room, A.D. White House
Helen Rozwadowski, History and Maritime Studies, University of Connecticut

February 6, 2015
Governance of Multifunctional Landscapes: Property rights, accountability, and limits to institutional innovation
Sutton Hall, University of Texas
Steven Wolf, ISS Land Team Member

Friday, March 27, 2015
Situated Mobilities: Space, Place, and Mobility
Cornell Theory, Method, Research Workshop
Tim Cresswell, History, Northeastern University

Thursday, April 9, 2015
8:30 AM-5:30 PM
401 Warren Hall
ISS’ Contested Global Landscapes Project’s Affiliates’ Conference, Capstone Lecture, and Reception

Monday, April 20, 2015
374 Rockefeller Hall
From Pangaea to Partnership: The Many Fields of Rural Development
Wendy Wolford, Development Sociology

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
4:30 PM
102 Mann Library
Climate, Crisis, and Value: Can Renewable Energy Provide a Socioecological Fix to Capital?
James McCarthy, Department of Geography, Clark University

Monday, May 10-Friday, May 15, 2015
Occupation: Violence and the Long-term Control of Land and People
2015 Summer Land Institute, Cornell University

Monday, May, 11, 2015
3:30-5:00 PM
401 Physical Sciences
Occupied Minds: Was Hawai’i Ceded or Seized?
M. Umi Perkins, Hawaiian History Teacher, Kamehameha Schools, and Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
4:00-5:00 PM
165 McGraw
On Legitimizing Canadian Sovereignty on Indigenous Lands
Michael Asch, University of Alberta (emeritus), and University of Victoria

May 14, 2015
Occupation, The Struggle Against the New Enclosures and the Reproduction of Everyday Life
3:30-5:00 PM, 401 Physical Sciences
Silvia Federici, Hofstra University (emerita)

May 15, 2015
Book Launch, No Gods, No Masters, No Peripheries: Global Anarchisms, Co-edited by Raymond Craib,  Land Team Member
5:00-6:00 PM
Buffalo Street Books, 215 N. Cayuga Street, Ithaca

February 1, 2016
National Food Security through Oligopolistic Globalization: The Role of Japan’s General Trading Companies (Sōgō Shōsha) in the “Global Land Grab”
Derek Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University
A.D. White House
4:30-6 PM

March 14, 2016
Free screening – We Come as Friends
7:00 p.m. Cornell Cinema- Willard Straight Theater
There will be a panel discussion following the film with Professors Muna Ndulo, Cornell Law School and the Institute for African Development, and Wendy Wolford, Polson Professor of Development Sociology.
This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Social Sciences, Department of Natural Resources, and the Institute for African Development.

April 18, 2016
Planning Democracy: Agrarian Intellectuals and the Intended New Deal
3:30 – 5:00 p.m. AD White House, Guerlac Room
Jess Gilbert, Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Sponsored by Cornell University Institute for Social Sciences and the Departments of Development Sociology and Natural Resources.