Article ID: CBB990001613

Beyond Borlaug’s Shadow: Octavio Paz, Indian Farmers, and the Challenge of Narrating the Green Revolution (2021)


Laveaga, Gabriela Soto (Author)

Agricultural History
Volume: 95
Issue: 4
Pages: 576-608
Publication date: 2021
Language: English

Known as “Mexican seeds,” the high-yielding wheat seeds that helped launch the Green Revolution performed a seemingly impossible act: they explicitly referenced Mexico yet at the same time shed themselves of any affiliation with Mexican expertise and domestic science. Ironically, when Mexican seeds arrived in India, they were divested of association with national agrarian reform programs and instead became a stand-in for capitalist development and the transformative American promise of technology. Indeed, the story of the arrival of high-yielding variety (HYV) Mexican seeds to India has often become a tale not of a nation’s agro-technological prowess but rather of a singular man, Norman Borlaug, and his outsized role in mid-twentieth-century agricultural practices. In this article I argue that including relegated figures, such as 1960s diplomats and Mexican agronomists in South Asia, in the account of those transferring agricultural knowledge reveals a more nuanced understanding of “development” aid and calls into question the early hunger narratives that came to define the way we tell histories of the Green Revolution today.

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Authors & Contributors
Baranski, Marci R.
Bruchhausen, Walter
Borowy, Iris
Cueto, Marcos
Curry, Helen Anne
Hartmann, Heinrich
Agricultural History
History and Technology
American Historical Review
Historische Zeitschrift
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Social History of Medicine
Princeton University Press
Queen's University
Pan American Health Organization
Columbia University Press
Purdue University Press
Arizona State University
Green revolution
Development aid
Economic development
Public health
Borlaug, Norman Ernest
Khankhoje, Pandurang Sadhashiv
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
21st century
East Germany
West Germany
Rockefeller Foundation
Tennessee Valley Authority
Pan American Health Organization
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

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