Does crop determine culture?

Barbara Hahn, Tiago Saraiva, Paul Rhode, Peter Coclanis, Claire Strom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Drawn from a plenary discussion at the 2013 Agricultural History Society's annual meeting in Banff, five scholars examine the relationships of specific crops to their surrounding cultures. The question "does crop determine culture?" provided opportunities to explore crop determinism and interrogate the relationships between particular crops and their production methods. The question intended to avoid the narrow association of "culture" with cultivation techniques, and each scholar discussed agricultural production methods in ways that included elements of their wider contexts. As usually happens in the history of technology, these historians spoke of cultivation methods that both reflect and shape those phenomena more often classified as social, cultural, political, or economic, rather than narrowly technological. The plenary ends with a call for readers to answer the organizing question for themselves, in their own studies of agriculture and its environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-439
Number of pages33
JournalAgricultural History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014


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