Sabanci University Summer 2010 hist 473 Approaches to Agrarian Societies: Peasants, Politics and Representation Instructor: Nilay Özok-Gündoğan



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Sabanci University

Summer 2010

hist 473

Approaches to Agrarian Societies: Peasants, Politics and Representation

Instructor: Nilay Özok-Gündoğan 
nozokgu1@binghamton.edu
Thursday 14:40-17:30

Friday 8:40-14:30


Office hours: TBA 

In the last two decades social sciences have become increasingly urban-biased. Cities, slums, skyscrapers and urban dwellers crowded the stage. Where have all the peasants gone? Where is agricultural production? This course aims to bring agrarian societies back in to our scholarly endeavor. To do so, we will focus on key issues related to agrarian societies in the modern era. How did the social, economic and political changes of the modernization transform the lives, livelihoods and choices of peasants? What are the major theoretical approaches to agrarian societies? Seeking answers to these questions, we will look at the ways in which forces of commercialization, industrial revolution and urbanization imprinted themselves on the agrarian lives. We have three interrelated aims in this course: Theoretical, Historical and Comparative. First, we will start from the classical approaches to agrarian question and then examine new theoretical perspectives and paradigms. This will help us develop a theoretically informed perspective that will guide in our analysis of the case-studies. Second, throughout the course we will try to bring a historical approach to issues and grasp the changes that agrarian societies underwent since the early modern era. Taking agrarian societies as dynamic entities, which shape and are shaped by the social, economic and political forces, we will seek to understand the changes they experienced over time. Third, the regional scope of the course will be broad, yet a particular attention will be paid to Latin America, China, the Middle East and Europe. We will seek to maintain our comparative lens for our analysis of the agrarian societies. The themes that we will explore include but not limited to commercialization, land tenure systems, moral economy debates, migration, urbanization, and peasant resistance and agency. In the last part of the class we will focus on how agrarian societies/peasants are represented in literature and cinema.



Exams: There will be one midterm exam. The exam will measure students’ grasp of the major concepts and debates in agrarian studies and historical developments together with their ability to interpret and critically think on the reading material.

Critical essay: Students will also write two critical review essays (10 pages-double space) on representations of peasants in literature and cinema using one of the novels and one of the films in the syllabus. One paper will be on one of the novels, and the other will be on one of the movies in the syllabus.

Using the reading materials and lecture notes students are expected to focus on how peasants, rural communities and various other issues examined in this class are dealt with in these pieces.

Midterm: 35%

Review Essay 1: 25%

Review Essay 2: 25 %

Attendance and Participation 15% 



Week 1

Introduction: Why study agrarian societies?

8/7 Raymond Williams. 1985. “Peasant” in Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Oxford University Press: 231-32.

9/7 Halil Berktay. 1992. “The Search for Peasant in the Western and Turkish History/Historiography” in New Approaches to State and Peasant in Ottoman History, edited by Halil Berktay, Suraiya Faroqhi. Frank Cass and Company Limited: 109-184.

Week 2

Conceptualizations of Agrarian Transformation

15/7 A.V. Chayanov. 1986. The Theory of Peasant Economy. University of Wisconsin Press: xi-xxiii, 1-24.
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie. 1977. The Peasants of Languedoc University of Illinois Press: 51-83.

16/7 Robert Brenner. 1976. “Agrarian Class Structures and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe,” Past and Present 70: 30-75.
Guy Bois. 1978. “Symposium. Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe: Against the Neo-Malthusian Orthodoxy,” Past and Present 79:  60-69. 
Week 3
22/7 Markets and Commercialization

Linda Schilcher. 1991. “The Grain Economy of Late Ottoman Syria and Issue of Large-Scale Commercialization,” in Landholding and Commercial Agriculture in the Middle East, edited by Caglar Keyder, Faruk Tabak. State University of New York Press: 173-196.

Loren Brandt. 1989.  “The Accelerated Commercialization of Agriculture” in Commercialization and ltural Development: Central and Eastern China, 1870-1937. Cambridge University Press: 70-106.

23/7 Food and Famine

Peter Gray. 1995. Irish Famine. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.





The Return of Martin Guerre (Le retour de Martin Guerre-1982)

In 16th-century France, a man who deserted his wife Nathalie Baye and child unexpectedly returns to his native village after eight years. But the astonishing metamorphosis in his personality leads a number of his relatives and neighbors to believe he's a fraud and, ultimately, he's hauled before a magistrate to expose the truth. Gérard Depardieu capitalizes on his nuanced role as the returning spouse



ATTENTION: 23/7 DEADLINE FOR THE LITERATURE PAPER

Week 4
Tragedy of the Commons” and Peasants’ “Moral Economy”

29/7 Eric Hobsbawm. 1996. “The Land,” in The Age of Capital. Vintage: 173-193.
Emilio Kouri. 2004. “The End of Communal Landholding,” in A Pueblo Divided: Business, Property, and Community in Papantla, Mexico. Stanford University Press: 107-156.
30/7 Steven Hahn. 1982. "Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging: Common Rights and Class Relations in the Post-bellum South," Radical History Review 26:  37-64. 

Week 5

5/8 Peasants in the Era of Industrial Revolution

Florencia Mallon. 1983. “The Peasants Confront Industry” in The Defense of Community in Peru’s Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860-1940. Princeton University Press: 168-214.

Donald Quataert. 1994. “Ottoman Manufacturing in the Nineteenth Century” in Manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, edited by Donald Quataert. State University of New York Press: 87-122.

6/8 Colonizing Rural Landscapes

Raymond Craib. 2004. “Fugitive Landscapes” in Cartographic Mexico: A History of State Fixations and Fugitive Landscapes. Duke University Press: 55-90.



6/8 ATTENTION: IN CLASS MID-TERM EXAM

Week 6

12/8 Peasant Resistance

James C. Scott. 1985. “Normal Exploitation, Normal Resistance,” in Weapons of the Weak. Yale University Press: 28-47.

Ranajit Guha. 1983. Introduction to Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India. Oxford University Press: 1-17.

13/8 Peasant Revolutions

Franz Fanon. 2004 [1961]. “On Violence,” in The Wretched of the Earth. Grove Press: 1-52.

Eric Wolf. 1969. Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century. Harper & Row: ix-xv & 276-302.

Week 7

19/8 Peasants in the Era of Globalization

Marc Edelman. 2005. "Bringing the Moral Economy back In … to the Study of 21st Century Transnational Peasant Movements," American Anthropologist  107.3: 331-45.

Marc Edelman. 1999. Peasants against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica. Stanford University Press: Conclusion.

Laura Carlson. 2003.  “A Knife to the Heart: WTO Kills Farmers,” Counterpunch September 12. 



20/8 OVERVIEW AND MOVIE

Viva Zapata (1952)

Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando), an illiterate peasant, rallies the countryside against the government and eventually assumes the role of president of the country. A rare Western role for Brando, the movie earned five Academy Award nominations. (Anthony Quinn won a statuette for Best Supporting Actor for his fiery performance.) Elia Kazan directed, and John Steinbeck wrote the screenplay.


20/8 ATTENTION: DEADLINE FOR THE MOVIE PAPER

NOVELS

John Steinbeck. 2006 [1939]. Grapes of Wrath. Penguin Classics.

Yasar Kemal. 2006 [1955]. My Hawk. Seal Press.

Talip Apaydin. 2000 [1991]. Koyluler. T.C Kultur Bakanligi Yayinlari.

Jose Saramago. 1999. Umut Tarlalari. Can Yayinlari.

MOVIES



The Return of Martin Guerre (Le retour de Martin Guerre-1982)

In 16th-century France, a man who deserted his wife Nathalie Baye and child unexpectedly returns to his native village after eight years. But the astonishing metamorphosis in his personality leads a number of his relatives and neighbors to believe he's a fraud and, ultimately, he's hauled before a magistrate to expose the truth. Gérard Depardieu capitalizes on his nuanced role as the returning spouse



Viva Zapata (1952)

Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando), an illiterate peasant, rallies the countryside against the government and eventually assumes the role of president of the country. A rare Western role for Brando, the movie earned five Academy Award nominations. (Anthony Quinn won a statuette for Best Supporting Actor for his fiery performance.) Elia Kazan directed, and John Steinbeck wrote the screenplay.



1900 (1977)

Bernardo Bertolucci's epic tale follows the lives of two Italian men -- a peasant (Gerard Depardieu) and a landowner (Robert De Niro) -- both born on Jan. 1, 1900. Friends as children, the two become estranged as their differing social status pulls them apart. Their personal conflicts mirror the political events in Italy, as both fascism and socialism gain footholds in the country. Sterling Hayden, Donald Sutherland and Burt Lancaster co-star.



Yilanlarin Ocu (1962)







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