Troubled Harvest: Agronomy and Revolution in Mexico, 1880-2002

Troubled Harvest: Agronomy and Revolution in Mexico, 1880-2002

Troubled Harvest: Agronomy and Revolution in Mexico, 1880-2002

Troubled Harvest: Agronomy and Revolution in Mexico, 1880-2002

Synopsis

During the 20th century, two revolutions swept rural Mexico: the Mexican Revolution and the Green Revolution. This book examines the history of Mexican agronomy and agronomists to shed new light on the role of science in the Mexican Revolution, the origins of the worldwide Green Revolution, and general issues about the nature of the professions, the impact of professionals' ties to politics and the state, and discourses between members of Mexico's urban middle class and peasantry.

Excerpt

Like most long research projects that end with a book, mine has a complicated history with several unexpected twists and turns. After finishing my bachelor’s degree and working for four years in business, I was dissatisfied with my life and sought a new direction. I renewed a daily relationship with an old friend who moved back to San Diego to begin graduate school, and he convinced me that I also missed the environment of academe. My days growing up in southern California and my many trips to Mexico already had stimulated my interest in Mexican culture and society, and I applied to graduate programs in Latin American history. From my travels I learned that Mexico was beautiful and fascinating, but also that many Mexicans lived in abject poverty, especially in rural areas, and I decided to focus on the issue of economic development in the Masters program at the University of California at Santa Barbara (hereafter UCSB).

To prepare for my Masters exams I looked at many works on the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), which produced the political system and elite that shaped Mexico’s economic policy during the twentieth century. I also began to read about technological change in rural Mexico, discovering an abundant body of literature on the “Green Revolution” in agriculture, most of it quite critical. Most of these works said nothing about Mexican research before the Rockefeller Foundation began the Mexican Agricultural Program (hereafter MAP) in 1943, but a few, such as Francis Moore Lappe . . .

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