How Grains Domesticated Us

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6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Brunei Gallery
Brunie Gallery Lecture Theatre
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James C. Scott (Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University)

How is it that homo sapiens came, only in the last 5% of its long career on the planet, to live in concentrated heaps of people, grain, and domesticated animals and, later, governed by units we call states?

How were these earliest structured and governed? How did they persist (or perish) and how did they change the landscape and people they controlled? It is surely striking that virtually all classical states were based on grain, including millets. History records no banana, cassava, sago, or sweet potato states. Why are the grassy grain crops---typically barley, rye, wheat, rice, maze, and millets---so closely associated with the earliest states? My guess is that only grains are suited to concentrated production, tax assessment, cadastral surveys, storage, and rationing.


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How Grains Domesticated Us, James C. Scott

Q&A Session

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Q and A session with James C Scott

Speaker Biography
James Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Co-Director of the Agrarian Studies Program.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism.  His publications include Domination and the Arts of Resistance , Yale University Press, 1985, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Yale University Press 1980, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1998; The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, Yale University Press, 2008; and Two Cheers for Anarchism, Princeton University Press, 2012.

Organiser: The Food Studies Centre & the Agrarian Change and Devlopment Research Cluster

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893/2

Sponsor: Support provided by: Journal of Agrarian Change, and Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies