Agriculture in the Anthropocene

27 October 2017

SG1 and SG2, Alison Richard Building

Registration for the workshop will open later in September. 



Hyun-Gwi Park (University of Cambridge)

Martin Skrydstrup (University of Copenhagen)



Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to climate change, but is also affected by it. Thus, we face the paradox of adaptive capacity on the one hand and the facts of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions produced by agricultural activities contributing to the problem on the other. So far, anthropological work on agriculture and climate change has overwhelmingly focused on the multiple exposures of small-scale farmers in the Global South and largely ignored agriculture as a contributor to climate change. Accordingly, we know about the vulnerabilities that farmers face and how communities respond to climate change through their ingenuity, resilience and adaptive capacities. Yet, it is not only farmers but also anthropologists who need to work against the backdrop of global climate change, as anthropologists are required to consider the global dimension in their research and description of agricultural practices. Anthropologists have shown how farmers are by no means ignorant of climate change, nor are they passive in shaping, interpreting and responding to the challenges and opportunities that might arise from climate change. However, beyond this general insight, there is much more that we need to discover.

The objective of this workshop on Agriculture in the Anthropocene is to address the question of 'adaptive capacity' in a much broader framework across a wide range of scales and empirical contexts. The workshop will bring together anthropologically-minded researchers in diverse areas of research, such as in the sciences, environmental economics, global studies, food and resource studies and human geography, in order to discuss the following topics:    

  • the form of the materiality of concrete adaptation measures to be found in local contexts from seeds to soils;
  • how socio-economic factors such as plot size, labour and markets map onto these;
  • the form of innovative agrarian-governmentalities embodied in new relationships between extension officers distributing climate science in farming contexts;
  • new forms of weather-based index insurance and new political participatory approaches;
  • the complex relationships between value and weather in agrarian products before they reach our tables and throughout the process of storage, processing, packaging and transportation
  • the agriculturalists’ perception of weather, their responses to changes in weather and their (non-)relevance to global climate change.




Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).


 Administrative assistance: