The elusive plantation: imagining development in Mozambique

Hosted by the Department of Geography and Environment

In-person and online public event (Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House)


Professor Wendy Wolford

Professor Wendy Wolford

Professor Catherine Boone

Professor Catherine Boone



Dr Kasia Paprocki

Dr Kasia Paprocki

For over 100 years, plantations have served as the imagined ideal for agricultural production and labor management in Mozambique. This talk will outline the colonial roots of this desire for the always-elusive plantation and argue that it manifests in contemporary Mozambique in a variety of ways: the global market takes priority over local needs; agricultural researchers rely on external funding that is short-term, motivated by international interests and the search for new varieties rather than land management; and local residents long seen only as plantation labor are separated into ‘emerging’ and ‘poor’ farmers, with research aimed at the former and charity at the latter.

Wendy Wolford will draw on archival materials and field research with government officials, scientists, extension agents, aid workers, and community members involved with an ambitious project called ProSavana intended to transform agricultural production in northern Mozambique.

Meet our speakers and chair

Catherine Boone is Professor of Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a political scientist interested in patterns conducted research on industrial, commercial, and land tenure policies in West Africa, where her work has been funded by the SSRC, Fulbright, the World Bank, and the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and the ACLS, and the Long Chair in Democratic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Wendy Wolford is Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development at Cornell University. Her research includes work on international development, land use and distribution, social mobilization, agrarian societies, through the lens of critical ethnography.

Kasia Paprocki (@KasiaPaprocki) is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work draws on and contributes to the study of the political ecology of development and agrarian change with a focus on South Asia and specifically Bangladesh, where she has worked and conducted research for over 15 years.

More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

The Department of Geography and Environment (@LSEGeography) is a centre of international academic excellence in economic, urban and development geography, environmental social science and climate change.

This event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2023, taking place from 21 October to 17 November with events across the UK.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEElusivePlantation

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