Rice: An Interview

The new edited volume by Francesca Bray, Peter Coclanis, Edda Fields-Black, and Dagmar Schaefer is a wonderfully interdisciplinary global history of rice, rooted in specific local cases, that spans 15 chapters written by specialists in the histories of Africa, the Americas, and several regions of Asia. Rice: Global Networks and New Histories (Cambridge University Press, 2015) creates a conversation among regional and disciplinary modes of studying and narrating rice histories that have often been conducted in isolation. Specifically, the project brings together two large-scale debates that emerge from very different rice historiographies: the “Black Rice” and “agricultural involution” debates frame the inquiry here, and as you listen to my conversation with Francesca and Dagmar (the two co-editors with whom I spoke for the New Books in East Asian Studies podcast) you’ll hear them offer an overview of the nature and stakes of both of those areas of inquiry.