Agrarian Change and Exclusions

Home/ Agrarian Change and Exclusions
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSGA2EL4074

Semester and Year Offered: TBD

Course Coordinator and Team: Kaustav Banerjee

Email of course coordinator: kb[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The course is primarily an elective course in agrarian political economy and hence connects thematically with many courses offered at AUD (especially the 2 credit course on Agrarian Environments [School of Human Ecology] and the 4 credit core course on Capitalism, Colonialism and Development [School of Liberal Studies]). It builds on an interdisciplinary approach to understanding agrarian change and exclusions in a global context.

Course Outcomes:

  1. To help students understand the interlinked processes of exclusions and agrarian change across the world, especially in the global south.
  2. To introduce students to the agrarian roots of contemporary capitalism and offer students a comparative political economic perspective to comprehend the ‘global’.
  3. To make students aware of the issues arising out of global agro-ecological imbalances and the marginalisation of livelihoods.
  4. To enable students interested in contemporary globalisations understand the agrarian roots of such phenomena.
  5. To help students communicate effectively, through speaking and writing, about ideas and concepts relating to agrarian political economy so as to establish the global interconnectedness between historical events in the north and the contemporary south.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Agrarian Roots of the Global - Comparative histories of Exclusion and Accumulation: This unit will deal in detail with the comparative histories of exclusion and theories of global transformation emanating from agrarian systems. What were the prime movers of change in different agrarian societies? It would evolve an alternative understanding of the history of agrarian change with regards to the role of the various actors/institutions and processes of exclusion, class differentiation and their role in the broader cycle of accumulation. It would also critically explore the idea of the “agrarian” in constructing the “global”. .
  2. Overlapping categories of exclusion and global barriers to agrarian change: This unit will look at the overlapping categories of exclusion – patriarchy, caste, race and class and how their global interlocking proves to be insurmountable barriers to change especially in agrarian societies. The role of colonialism and late capitalism in perpetuating backwardness in producer countries will be dealt with in greater detail. This would provide a basis for studying post-colonial agrarian societies and the challenges they face in their attempts at transformation.
  3. Revisiting the mode of production debates through the lens of exclusion: This unit will deal in detail with the political economy study of the mode of production debates that were used to characterise agrarian systems and their possibilities of transformation. We examine the modes of surplus extraction and employ the concept to conceptualize the various axis of domination. This unit would critically evaluate the relevance of such debates in characterizing agrarian change.
  4. Contemporary agrarian questions: This unit examines contemporary agrarian questions especially issues related to technology, differential impacts of State led agrarian policies (e.g. the Green Revolution, Public Distribution Systems), the politics of aid, the entry of corporates and negative environmental externalities (water table depletion, soil health, crop burning etc.).
  5. The agrarian roots of conflicts and the politics of transformation: This unit examines the agrarian roots of conflict and the politics of transformation. The acquisition of land, extraction of resources, depletion of forests and pasture lands lie at the heart of agrarian based movements and their impact in shaping the contours of transformation are critically examined.

Assessment Details with weights:

  1. Monthly Assessment (3X10% = 30%): Open book written assessment based on Units covered in a month.
  2. Project (30%): term paper on a topic/theme of students’ interest
  3. Final examination (40%): essay-based final exam based on full semester syllabus

Reading List:

Essential readings:

  1. Perelman, M. (2000), Introduction in The Invention of Capitalism: The Secret History of Primitive Accumulation, Duke University Press.
  2. Marx, K. (1867), The Secret of Primitive Accumulation, Chapter 26, Capital Vol. 1
  3. Aston, T.H. & C.H.E. Philpin (2005), The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre- Industrial Europe, Cambridge University Press, New Delhi
  4. Bhattacharya, N. (2018), Introduction in The Great Agrarian Conquest: the Making of a Colonial Rural Order (Permanent Black)
  5. Phule, J. (2002), Ghulamgiri [Slavery] & Shetkaryacha Asud [Cultivator’s Whipcord] in Selected Writings, Leftword Books, New Delhi
  6. Taussig, M. T. (1980), Chapter 1 in The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, USA
  7. Mies, M (1998) Introduction in Patriarchy and Capitalist Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour, Zed Books Limited, London and New York
  8. Agarwal, B., (1998), ‘Disinherited Peasants, Disadvantaged Workers-A Gender Perspective on Land and Livelihood’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 33, Issue No. 13.
  9. Desai, M., S.H. Rudolph and A. Rudra (eds.) (1984) Introduction in Agrarian Power and Agricultural Productivity in South Asia, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  10. Mohanty, M. (ed.) (2004), Selected Readings in Class, Caste, Gender, Sage Publications, New Delhi
  11. Ambedkar, B.R. (1936) Annihilation of Caste, Critical Quest, New Delhi
  12. Kumar, D. (1965) Introduction in Land and Caste in South India, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  13. Patnaik, U. and M. Dingwaney (1985) Introduction in Chains of Servitude: Bondage and Slavery in India, Sangam Books, Madras
  14. Thorner, A(1982) ‘Semi-feudalism or capitalism: Contemporary debates on classes and modes of production in India’, in Economic and Political Weekly
  15. Hindess, B. & P.Q. Hirst, (1975), Pre-capitalist Modes of Production, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London
  16. Patnaik, U. (ed.) (2000) Agrarian Relations and Accumulation: The ‘Mode of Production’ Debate in India, Oxford University Press, Bombay
  17. Bardhan, P. (ed.) (1989) Introduction in The Economic Theory of Agrarian Institutions, Oxford University Press, New York
  18. Basu, K, (ed.) (1994), Introduction in Agrarian Questions, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  19. Bhaduri, A. (1983) Introduction in The Economic Structure of Backward Agriculture, Macmillan Publishers, New Delhi
  20. Moyo, S, Jha, P & Yeros, P. (2013). The classical agrarian question: myth, reality and relevance today. Agrarian South, 2(1), 93–119.
  21. Banerjee, K. (2015) ‘Green Revolution’ in Keywords in Modern Indian Studies Gita Dharmpal Frick, Monika Kirolskar Steinbach, Rachel Dwyer, and Jahnavi Phalkey (Eds.), Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
  22. Mazwi, F., Chambati, W. & Mutodi, K. (2018). Contract farming arrangement and poor resourced farmers in Zimbabwe. SMAIAS Publications, Harare.
  23. Banerjee, K. (2011) ‘Decentralised Procurement and Universalised Public Distribution Systems - A possible economic mechanism for the National Food Security Act’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol No. XLVI No. 52
  24. Banerjee, A. (2011) ‘Food, Feed, Fuel: Transforming the Competition for Grains’, Development and Change, Volime 42, Issue 2, pp: 529-557.
  25. Lerche, J., Shah, A & Harriss-White, B. (2013) Agrarian Transitions and Left Politics in India, Journal of Agrarian Change, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp: 337-464,
  26. Moyo, S., P, Jha & P, Yeros. (2012). Imperialism and Primitive Accumulation: Notes on the New Scramble for Africa. Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy 1(2), 181-203.
  27. Brass, T. (2005) ‘Neoliberalism and the rise of (peasant) nations within the nation: Chiapas in comparative and theoretical perspective’ in Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. 32, No. 3, pp 651-691
  28. Breman, J. (1989) ‘Agrarian change and class conflict in Gujarat, India’ in Population and Development Review, Vol.15, Supplement: Rural Development and Population, Institutions and Policy, pp 301-323
  29. Guha, S. (2000) ‘Economic Rents and Natural Resources: Commons and Conflict in Premodern India’ in Agarwal, A. and K. Sivaramakrishnan (eds.) Agrarian Environments, Resources, Representation and Rule in India, Duke University Press, London
  30. Chatterjee, P. (1986) ‘The Colonial State and Peasant Resistance in Bengal 1920-1947’ in Past & Present, Vol. 110, No. 1, pp 169-204
  31. Guha, R. (1983), Introduction in Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  32. Bhatia, B. (2006) ‘On Armed Resistance’ in Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 41, No. 29, pp 3179-3183
  33. Damodaran, V. (2005) ‘Indigenous Forests: Rights, Discourses and Resistance in Chotanagpur, 1860-2002’ in Gunnel Cederlof and K. Sivaramakrishnan (eds.) Ecological Nationalism: Nature, livelihoods and identities in South Asia, Permanent Black, New Delhi, pp.115-150

Supplementary readings:

  1. Agarwal, A. and K. Sivaramakrishnan (eds.) (2000) Agrarian Environments, Resources, Representation and Rule in India, Duke University Press, London
  2. Bhattacharya, N. (2018), The Great Agrarian Conquest: the Making of a Colonial Rural Order (Permanent Black)
  3. Blaut, J. M. (1994) ‘Robert Brenner in the Tunnel of Time’ in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp 351-376
  4. Breman, J. and S. Mundle (eds.) (1991) Rural Transformation in Asia, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  5. Breman, J. (2007) Labour Bondage in West India, From Past to Present, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  6. Chandra, N. K. (2002) ‘The Peasant Question from Marx to Lenin: The Russian Experience’ in Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 37, No. 20, pp 1927-1938
  7. Hariss-White, B. & S. Janakrajan (2004), Rural India Facing the Twentieth Century, Anthem Press, London
  8. Husain, I. (2006), Karl Marx on India, Tulika Books, New Delhi
  9. Lenin, V.I. (1968), Selected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow
  10. Marx, K. (1970), A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Progress Publishers, Moscow
  11. Mohanty, M. (2006) ‘Challenges of Revolutionary Violence: The Naxalite Movement in Perspective’ in Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 41, No. 29, pp 3163-3167
  12. Mundle, S. (1979) Backwardness and Bondage: Agrarian Relations in a South Bihar District, Pauls Press, New Delhi
  13. Patnaik, U. (1987), Peasant Class Differentiation: A Study in Method with Reference to Haryana, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  14. Timberg, T. A. (1982) ‘Bihari Backwardness: Does Feudalism Frustrate?’ in Asian Survey, Vol. 22, No. 5, pp 470-480
  15. Tse-Tung, M. (1965), Selected Works, Volume 1 & 2, People’s Publishing House, Peking