History of Knowledge seminar series: workshop with dr. Jo Guldi

13 vrij
13 mei 2022

All are invited to register to participate in the upcoming workshop with dr. Jo Guldi (SMU Dedman College), organized as part of the History of Knowledge Seminar Series 

*Places are limited and registration is required (see below)*


Jo Guldi’s forthcoming book The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (Yale) tells a story as old as human history: the global struggle over land, food, water, and shelter. The book traces state-engineered “land reform” projects from their triumphant origins in Victorian Ireland to their quiet assassination by the United States in 1974, crediting a diversity of reformers along the way, among them Irish peasants, Hindu saints, development analysts, economists, and indigenous farmers. In a tale of thwarted idealism, the book illuminates the complex interplay of Cold War ideology, United States idealism, World Bank dogma, grassroots activism, market ideology, and human shortcomings. With a command that readers have compared to Lewis Mumford’s The City in History, Barrington Moore’s Dictatorship and Democracy, and James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State, Jo Guldi delivers a devastating, definitive narrative of land redistribution – its failures and its lessons – and a glimpse into the future of justice on a changing planet.


The focus of the workshop will be on Chapter 2 of the book, which makes the argument that postcolonial peasant revolts against European empire were one impetus for the founding of the UN, and that reversing the sins of colonial land confiscation were baked into the foundation of at least one arm of the UN — the Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO, located in Rome — from the beginning. Guldi describes the origins of what she calls the “Rome Consensus” — the idea, current in many policy circiles in the 1940s — that postcolonial nations could only navigate a peaceful path between capitalism and authoritarian rule if their economies first became more egalitarian through land redistribution, following the path to peaceful prosperity for all established by the Irish Land Reform and the Mexican Revolution and established as a priority by Gandhi and his followers in India.


Jo Guldi is Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University, and was formerly Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. She is the author of Roads to Power (2012) and The History Manifesto (2014).


Participation is free but the number of participants is limited. Please register by sending an email to historyofknowledge.utrecht@gmail.com. Once registered as a participant, you will receive the pre-circulated chapter as well as information and instructions on how to participate.

This series is organized by Lukas M. Verburgt and Elske de Waal with support from the Descartes Centre, NIAS, and Huizinga Instituut. See our website for more information and the full 2022 program.

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