Call for Papers: Rural History 2019 panel proposal – Global expertise and agricultural markets

RHN 144/2018 | Call

Organisers: Federico D’Onofrio (London School of Economics), Niccolò Mignemi (ERHIMOR), Juan Pan-Montojo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Rural History 2019, 10-13 September 2019, Paris, France

Deadline for panel proposals: 15 October 2018

Call for Papers
Rural History 2019 panel proposal
Global expertise and agricultural markets: between national sovereignty and international cooperation (18891949)

The widespread discontent that the first globalization caused among European agricultural elites stimulated not just a wave of protectionist measures but also attempts at regulating international markets, marked by the development of national and international networks of agriculturalists since the 1880s. The birth of the Congrès International d’Agriculture and of the International Institute of Agriculture (IIA) are testimonies to the rising agrarian internationalism. Expertise regarding international agricultural problems was an essential component of the discourse of the agricultural interest groups. Communities of interests were underpinned by epistemic communities that provided knowledge of markets and their uncertainties: economists, statisticians, legal experts, meteorologists, experts in the physiology of plants and animals.

Our panel intends to expand the literature on international agrarianism in order to understand the mobilization of heterogeneous agrarian actors - experts, associations, interest groups - to create new knowledge about international markets for agricultural commodities in order to benefit from competition and/or overcome it. The panel proposes to explore how national concerns with disruptions of international competition and uncertainty led to the development of new forms of transnational expertise and we plan to observe this phenomenon until the end of the 1940s when a new food regime emerged with the bipolar order of the Cold War and new concerns with the Global South, while the FAO took the place of the IIA as the world specialized central organism.

While the emergence of technoscientific governance and the rise of expert knowledge - expertise of national markets, health, plant and animal physiology - are traditional topics in agricultural history, the contributions to this panel will focus on efforts to understand global markets especially in relations with efforts to regulate international markets and overcome disruptive competition. This includes both national centers watching international trends (such as Gustav Ruhland’s initiatives on wheat prices) and transnational fora (such as the IIA or the World Wheat Conferences, the conferences organized by the Canadian Wheat Pool).

Submissions may deal with one or more of the following thematic axes:

  • Building transnational expertise: What are the career trajectories of transnational experts? What was their relationship with transnational scientific debates, and how did their transnational involvement affect their ability to act in national context?
  • New tools for governing agricultural dynamics: Which tools did experts adopt in order to answer common problems and influence actors of different nature and origin? How did these instruments affect new forms of scientific, financial, economic intervention?
  • Agrarian networks and the international civil society: How did the emergence of transnational actors and tools contribute to the rise of an international civil society? What forms of mobilization can we attribute to the agrarian internationalism?

If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract (max. 300 words) and a short CV to and

The deadline for panel proposals is 15 October 2018, but there will be time for paper submissions at a later stage.

Conference website:

The Rural History 2019 Call for Panels can be found in RHN 70/2018.