Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies

About Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES)

  • Can we feed the world and achieve economic development while conserving ecosystems and improving the livelihoods of peasants and the rural poor?
  • How do we understand and tackle the interlinked agrarian and environmental crises?
  • What types of policies create sustainable development that guarantees justice, equality and autonomy for poor and marginalized communities?

Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES) offers an interdisciplinary approach – combining political economy, political ecology, and political sociology – to understanding and confronting the impacts of global capitalist development on agrarian structures and environmental systems.

The focus of the AFES Major is on the social, political and economic dynamics of rural and agrarian change and environmental degradation, seen from a wider perspective of rural and rural-urban links, and across the Global South-North divides to include emerging international actors in agro-environmental terrain, such as BRICS.

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Target group

This Major targets professionals and students who have worked on or are interested in rural development and environmental issues. They can be recent graduates, or come from international development agencies, national governments, donor organizations, NGOs, social movements, trade unions, and from wider constituencies such as journalists, community-based workers, and agrarian-environmental activists.

Find out more about the ISS student body


Within the MA programme students have an option to specialize further. Take a look at the current specializations on offer.

ISS study guide

ISS study guide 2017-2018Download the ISS study guide for more information on ISS and our other programmes.