Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Notes Toward a Radical Agrarianism

Recently, I had an essay published in Ameriquests (vol. 7, no. 1), an online journal dedicated to "real and metaphorical quests towards 'America'". This essay came out of several years of discussions with the Food Politics Group at the Robert Penn Warren Center, a summer fellowship in Guatemala and Cuba with the Center for the Americas, a panel at the 2008 Radical Philosophy Association conference, and innumerable conversations with many of you. These ideas, of course, are still in motion, and so your comments are encouraged.


  1. Congratulations, Charles Julius. Just downloaded the essay and the first line has me hooked.

  2. A couple questions and comments, C.J.:

    First, when you write that agrarianism "is not merely a standard 'isim'" because it has a requisite practical component, what does this mean for the Southern Agrarians, who, in my very limited understanding, seemed to do a lot for agrarianism through words alone?

    Second, I like that you emphasize the need for action as part of this (or any, I'd extrapolate) conceptual endeavor. I've written a bit, mostly indirectly, about this topic at http://questionspresented.wordpress.com/category/action/.

    Third, I'm glad you discuss the modern relevance of the questions, ideas, and practices of agrarianism. Again out of my limited familiarity, I have to say that most of most of the essays in I'll Take My Stand speak quite clearly to twenty-first century ears. In particular, the 1962 and (especially) 1977 edition introductions are strikingly relevant to the modern reader.

    Fourth, I would have preferred you arranged the words in the opening sentence of the third paragraph of the tenth page as "deaf dumb and blind" as a tribute to the Pinball Wizard. It's unclear whether Tommy was an agrarian, but he was more of a savior than Mr. Roboto.

    Finally, I'd like to recommend the book The Working Landscape: Founding, Preservation, and the Politics of Place by Peter Cannavo. http://www.amazon.com/Working-Landscape-Preservation-Industrial-Environments/dp/0262532921/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266460582&sr=8-1

    Again, congratulations. I enjoyed reading the essay.