SG – Data and Power in Global Food Production

If colonisation were ongoing around us, how attuned would we be to recognising it?

Organised by Studium Generale

Tue 1 February 2022 20:00 to 22:00

About Data and Power in Global Food Production

Even though colonialism is a thing of the past, can it be said that colonisation is still in our midst in the 21st century? And how attuned are we to recognising it? Dr. Oane Visser (Erasmus University, Institute of Social Studies) examines global food production through the lens of empires. He explores if, how and where the mechanisms of colonialism are at play in systemic relations in world-wide agriculture, food production and novel smart farming practices based on his comparative research around the globe. This includes taking a closer look at the (in)visible power of particular players on this field. He will walk us through the subtle shifts away from the direct control over land such as in the land grab rush that emerged from 2006 onwards, to the (more invisible) control via data/digital platforms. How thorny are his findings and what new insights does it give us on everything from big data to start-ups in the global south and beyond?

Dr. Harro Maat of the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group (WUR) joins as first discussant.

About series ‘Reframing Colonialism’

When colonialism ground to a halt, did colonisation end? We explore this question by looking at what underpinned colonialism and the evolution of colonisation. To what extent is it part of our shared past, present and perhaps even futures?

About Oane Visser

Oane Visser

Oane Visser is associate professor in agrarian, food and environmental studies, at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University, The Netherlands. Visser has been visiting fellow at Oxford University, University of Toronto, City University New York, and Cornell University. He conducts research on new (digital) technologies in agriculture, global farmland investment, rural movements and alternative food chains. He currently leads projects funded by the Toyota Foundation (Japan), and the ISRF (UK) focused on the digitalisation of agriculture, as well as on high-tech and low-tech urban agriculture.

About Harro Maat

Harro Maat is associate professor in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group (WUR). With a background in Science and Technology Studies, and the History of Technology, his work focuses on social patterns and institutional arrangements emerging from practices of growing food and other agricultural products. His interests extend to other practices, for example dealing with health threats, climate change and biodiversity, and how this results in socio-technical change in rural communities, past and present. Maat’s earlier work focused on the emergence of agricultural science in Dutch colonial contexts.