The Krishna Bharadwaj and Eric Wolf Prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding paper published in the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) by a ‘young scholar’, defined as someone who either is a graduate student or has held a PhD degree for no more than four years when the paper is submitted to the journal. The Prize, which comes with an award of £1000, commemorates two long-standing and distinguished members of the JPS Editorial Advisory Board: the political economist Krishna Bharadwaj (1935–1992) and Eric Wolf (1923–1999). The Prize Committee consists of three members of the JPS editorial team. For the 2021–2022 Bharadwaj-Wolf Award, a committee made up of Kasia Paprocki, Michael Levien, and Bharadwaj-Wolf Award 2019–2020 winner Aniket Aga reviewed eight excellent shortlisted papers. After much discussion, we have chosen two joint prize winners for the 2021-2022 Bharadwaj-Wolf Prize - Tanya Matthan and Gabe Schwartzman.
Appearing in the ongoing Forum on Climate Change and Critical Agrarian Studies, these papers represent the impressively rich, varied, and dynamic work being conducted on climate change by scholars of critical agrarian studies today. The two papers are among the best examples of a diverse field of research on contemporary agrarian political economies and agrarian futures in the time of climate change. This research, taking place across the Global North and Global South, links careful and nuanced empirical research with attention to broader dynamics of political ecological change.
Tanya Matthan’s paper examines how farmers navigate risk in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh through the complex interactions between capitalism and climate change. Bringing forward the insights of political ecology for the age of climate change, Matthan demonstrates ethnographically how “experiences of climate change are always refracted through existing production relations and power structures” (132). She further shows how conventional adaptation measures and crop insurance programs fail precisely because they do not act on these relations and thus wind up excluding those that need them the most.
Gabe Schwartzman's paper examines the drivers and consequences of carbon forestry offsets in Central Appalachia. In the wake of coal industry decline and resultant economic devastation, Schwartzman shows how investments in degraded forest land spurred by California’s carbon market reproduce longstanding forms of natural resource enclosure and exclusion and amount to a form of neo-rentierism. While these dynamics generate grievances that could be articulated by the Left, so far they have only strengthened the right-wing populism that has become entrenched in the region over the past decade. In this way, Schwartzman deploys an agrarian political economy lens to demonstrate the contradictions of green capitalist solutions to the climate crisis.
Congratulations to all our Krishna Bharadwaj and Eric Wolf Prize Finalists!
Gerardo A Torres Contreras – Twenty-five years under the wind turbines in La Venta, Mexico: social difference, land control and agrarian change
Daniela Andrade – Neoliberal extractivism: Brazil in the twenty-first century
Eloisa Berman-Arévalo – Mapping violent land orders: armed conflict, moral economies, and the trajectories of land occupation and dispossession in the Colombian Caribbean
Enrique Castañón Ballivián – Situating ethno-territorial claims: dynamics of land exclusion in the Guarayos Forest Reserve, Bolivia
Antonio Roman-Alcalá – Agrarian anarchism and authoritarian populism: towards a more (state-)critical ‘critical agrarian studies’
Daniela Calmon – Shifting frontiers: the making of Matopiba in Brazil and global redirected land use and control change