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Science and Technology Studies and Agricultural Anthropology: Todd A. Crane in the New Issue of Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment

This month, Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment publishes its latest journal issue, Tending the Field: Special Issue on Agricultural Anthropology and Robert E. Rhoades. The issue brings together a collection of articles that expand upon Rhoades’s work in agricultural anthropology. Of particular note for readers interested in participatory and collaborative research is Todd A. Crane’s contribution, “Bringing Science and Technology Studies into Agricultural Anthropology: Technology Development as Cultural Encounter between Farmers and Researchers.”

Crane argues for a unique and innovative twist to the “farmer-back-to-farmer” (FB2F) approach in the development of agricultural technologies. In the FB2F approach, outlined by Robert Rhoades and Robert Booth in 1982, the development of technologies begins and ends with farmers, considering their perspectives and considerations in developing technologies, as well as their evaluation, adaptation, and integration of proposed technologies. Crane updates this model by proposing that empirical social research on scientists’ institutional cultures and technical practices additionally be considered in applied agricultural research- a proposal that creatively integrates perspectives from science and technology studies (STS) into the FB2F approach. “Unpacking the “back-to” part of “farmer-back-to-farmer” means acknowledging researchers as stakeholders in the process, just as much as farmers are,” Crane writes. This proposal is of both applied and theoretical interest. As Crane argues:

Conducting empirical social research on scientists’ technical practices, social organization, and institutional norms- alongside the same research done with farmers- will enable a better theorization of how and why certain forms of applied agricultural research work (or do not work), which should in turn enable applied research strategies to become more effective. Furthermore, by including both farmers and research scientists in the analytical lens, we can also better understand the “hows” and “whys” of cultural encounters that occur when farmers and scientists work together (47).

To read this article through open-access, click here. Read the full issue of Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment on AnthroSource.

Robert M. Netting Best Student Paper Prize

The Culture and Agriculture section of the AAA invites anthropology graduate and undergraduate students to submit papers for the 2013 Robert M. Netting Award. The Graduate and Undergraduate winners will receive cash awards of $750 and $250, respectively, and have the opportunity for a direct consultation with the editors of our section’s journal, CAFÉ (Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment), toward the goal of revising the paper for publication. Submissions should draw on relevant literature from any subfield of Anthropology, and present data from original research related to livelihoods based on crop, livestock, or fishery production and forestry and/or management of agricultural and environmental resources. Papers should be single-authored, limited to a maximum of 7,000 words, including endnotes, appendices, and references, and should follow American Anthropologist format style.

Papers already published or accepted for publication are not eligible. Only one submission per student is allowed. Those submitting papers need not be members of the American Anthropological Association but must be enrolled students. (Students graduating in the Spring of 2013 are eligible). 

The submission deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2013.

Submissions should be sent to: joan.mencher@gmail.com or jcmencher@gc.cuny.edu

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