Agricultural History Society 2021 Conference -- Challenging Crops and Climates

Julia Brock Discussion
Call for Papers
June 2, 2021 to June 5, 2021
New Mexico, United States
Subject Fields: 
History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Rural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Local History

Agricultural History Society

Las Cruces, New Mexico

June 2-5, 2021

Challenging Crops and Climates 

The 2021 Agricultural History Society conference will take place in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This location, nestled in the Mesilla Valley and surrounded by the northern Chihuahuan desert, provides an excellent vantage point to consider the history of “Challenging Crops and Climates.” Globally, agriculture occurs in diverse environments, including mountains, deserts, swamps, rain forests, tundra, places of extreme temperatures, and on marginal soils. People have transformed environments to meet the demands of agricultural production through both private and state-sponsored actions. Even before modern production, the nearby Gila Mountains served as a prehistoric heartland for agriculture; archaeologists have discovered there some of the earliest known examples of cultivated maize. Since the early 1900s, however, cotton, pecan orchards, row crops, alfalfa and, of course, chile production in and around Las Cruces have depended on industrial irrigation from major dams along the Rio Grande--an agricultural model that echoes that of the  Appalachian town of Knoxville, Tennessee, the planned site of the 2020 AHS annual meeting. Inspired by this new backdrop, the AHS encourages submissions that explore how farmers and other rural people wrestle with challenging and changing environments.  

Possible topics include but are not limited to:  How farmers adapt agriculture to challenging environments, including exploited microclimates; how difficult environments shape dynamics of rural landscapes and local power arrangements, including how these intersect with race, class, ethnicity, and/or gender; how farmers and rural people have adapted to climate or other environmental changes; the impacts, whether environmental, cultural, social, or political, of private and state-sponsored projects to alter difficult environments; how agriculture has altered fragile ecosystems; scientific and technical approaches to environmental changes over time;  Roles/experiences of women and people of color in difficult farming environments; and challenges to and alterations of food cultures. As befits the Society’s inclusive approach, we especially encourage submission from emerging scholars and researchers covering understudied geographical regions or time periods, and as custom dictates, we support significant contributions that do not directly address the conference theme. 

We strongly encourage panelists who were invited to the 2020 program to join the 2021 program.  See instructions for notifying the Program Committee below.

Information on submissions:  The Society defines agriculture broadly and invites contributions that relate to agricultural and rural history/studies broadly defined. Topics from any location and time period are encouraged.  The AHS strongly encourages panel and roundtable organizers to examine the composition of their panels and work toward diversity of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and career status.  The AHS welcomes traditional sessions with successive papers and commentary, but also seeks thematic panel discussions or debates, roundtables on recent books or films, workshops, and poster presentations.  If you need video projection technology for presentations, please indicate this in your proposal.   The program committee prefers complete session proposals, but will consider individual papers.  The AHS welcomes graduate students and has a competitive travel grant for students presenting papers. 

Instructions for Session and Individual Proposals:  

1. Session proposals: include a 200 word abstract for each paper and a one-page CV for each member (in MS Word). 2. Individual paper proposals: include a 200 word abstract and a one-page CV (in MS Word). 3. All proposals should be submitted electronically in Word format. Submit all proposals to the Program Committee by email at: <>.

2. 2020 panelists: If you were invited to the 2020 program you do not need to resubmit a proposal unless you plan to make substantive changes (e.g. a new slate of panelists and/or topic of focus). Instead please notify the Program Committee via the email above that you intend to be retained on the 2021 program.

Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2020.

Address questions to: Julia Brock, University of Alabama at Program Committee members include Jula Brock, Chair; Jama Grove, University of Arkansas; Casey Lurtz, John Hopkins University; Michelle Martindale, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Bobby Smith II,  University of Illinois

Contact Info: 

Julia Brock, Chair, AHS Program Committee

Adrienne Petty, AHS President

Contact Email: