Event—Scholarly Seminars

Rachel Steely, Harvard University


Manna from Manchuria: Agricultural Experiment Stations and the Internalization of Soy Commodity Chains, Rachel Steely

In the early twentieth century, empires and businesses faced rising impediments to accessing raw materials. Scholars have observed how statesmen and industrialists unleashed military might, infrastructure development, and administrative innovations to enclose greater territory under imperial control, thus sustaining metropolitan industries with materials and energy wrested from elsewhere. Internalization of commodity chains was also achieved by capturing key biological resources and acclimating them to environments within existing borders. The soybean, only recently introduced on North Atlantic markets, inspired worldwide internalization efforts, as many saw this commodity as a potential palliative to emergent economic, environmental, and demographic challenges of modernization.

Respondents: Shane Hamilton, University of York, and Maria Fedorova, Macalester College;