International Conference: Critical Agrarian Studies in the 21st Century

International Conference: Critical Agrarian Studies in the 21st Century     Promo Image

10-12 October

College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University

Beijing, China

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), JPS together with the College of Humanities and Development Studies at China Agricultural University (COHD-CAU), the Collective of Agrarian Scholar-Activists from the South (CASAS) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) are convening an international gathering in October in Beijing, China to critically analyze ecological and agrarian questions in the 21st century.

As we continue to build the growing field of critical agrarian studies, and the spirit of pluralism, internationalism, and political engagement fostered within JPS and the communities to which it is connected, the conference will afford diverse spaces and formats for robust debate, invigorating discussion, and shared learning across key constituencies of scholars, activists, and scholar-activists hailing from many corners of our world. The conference will afford important opportunities to connect with critical agrarian issues on the ground in China.

Looking back, looking forward

In many ways, land and labour—those abiding concerns of agrarian studies—continue to shape, and be shaped alike, by deep structural processes and everyday lifeways in rural worlds today. As they manifest within and across diverse regions, these processes take a variety of forms, many of them represented within the last fifty years of scholarship in agrarian studies and addressed by ongoing modes of social organization. For instance, commodity booms and busts, contract farming, precision agriculture, land concessions, ‘green grabbing’ for conservation and so-called “clean energy” are just some of the many dynamics affecting modes of controlling, governing, and using land. Alongside this, longstanding trends of deagrarianization, reagrarianization, circular migration, and multi-sited livelihoods have reshaped everyday life and labour in rural and urban worlds over the last twenty years. Simultaneously, the rapid pace of ecological transformations and ever-widening and intensive forms of extractivism call on us to change how we think about, and mobilize around, agrarian questions in the 21st century.

Thematic pillars

The conference, Critical Agrarian Studies in the 21st Century, will be held along and across the following thematic axes:

  1. Colonial and extractive capitalism across land and labour
  2. Race, indigeneity, ethnicity, and caste: questions and issues for Critical Agrarian Studies
  3. Feminist approaches and agrarian questions: social reproduction, care, and gender
  4. Urban agrarian structures and struggles
  5. Contemporary cross-border migrant rural workers and land and commodity rushes
  6. The climate crisis, anti-capitalism, and agrarian climate justice
  7. Financialization and concentration in land and global food systems
  8. Agrarian and environmental social movements and the unfinished work of a world beyond colonialism and capitalism.
  9. Any themes that are not included the 8 above but you feel are important, please feel free to submit.

Recognizing that these are but a few of many questions that must be asked and addressed, we envisage this conference as a place where we can look ahead to the next 50 years of critical agrarian studies while working and thinking together about how to create more humane, just ways of living in rural worlds for the decades to come.

How to submit

Call for papers: Contributions taking the form of academic papers will involve new empirical material, with different conceptual starting points and diverse methodologies focusing on critical agrarian questions anywhere in the world, as well as more global, international reflections.

​​We welcome papers from all regions and career stages, and especially encourage submissions from those based in the Global South. We can accept approximately 60 papers, and may be able to offer limited financial support to participants from under-resourced institutions.

Please submit an abstract of not more than 400 words, together with a short 250 word bio of the author(s).

Deadline for call for papers: Friday 5 May 2023

To submit an abstract and bio, please use the following link:

If you are not able to access this conference platform, please contact us regarding your submission at

Results will be announced before the end of May. Authors of selected abstracts will be asked to submit conference papers of 5,000-10,000 words as soon as possible and no later than 13 September.

Host institutions: Journal of Peasant Studies, Transnational Institute, Collective of Agrarian Scholar-Activists of the Global South, College of Humanities and Development Studies - China Agricultural University.

Conference website: papers, programme, and other resources will be posted here. The tentative program and invited speakers will be released soon.

There will be no conference fee