I am Assistant Professor of Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands. My research and teaching interests are in the fields of development sociology, political sociology, food politcs, and agrarian political ecology. Before receiving my PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 2103, I studied and worked in food and farming systems, with previous degrees in Horticulture Production (BS) and Agronomy (MS), both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After my PhD, I was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Arrighi Center for Global Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
Since 2007, my research has focused on the social and ecological transformations that accompany the industrialization and capitalization of China’s agro-food system, arguing that these relations are key for understanding development imaginaries and trajectories both in China and in the world today.
My current project, undertaken with Alexander Day, is entitled ‘Feeding China: The Project on China’s Food Histories, Geographies, and Ecologies’ (https://feedingchina.wordpress.com/). Using a combination of archival and ethnographic methods, we investigate shifting rural-urban and human-nature relations in China from the 19th century to the contemporary moment, asking how these processes of change interact with global capitalist development and relate to widespread environmental crises.
In addition to academic work, I have also served as a consultant for a number of NGOs. My work on China’s pork industry has been covered in The Economist, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and other popular press outlets. I am also a founding member of the Monsanto Tribunal.