Land Without Masters: Agrarian Reform and Political Change under Peru's Military Government

Hosted by the Department of International History

Online Public Event, United Kingdom


Dr Anna Cant

Dr Anna Cant

Professor Paulo Drinot

Professor Paulo Drinot


Dr Tanya Harmer

Dr Tanya Harmer

Book Launch

In 1969, Juan Velasco Alvarado’s military government began an ambitious land reform programme in Peru, transferring land from large estates to peasant cooperatives. Fifty years later this reform remains controversial: critics claim it unjustly expropriated land and ruined the Peruvian economy, while supporters emphasise its success in addressing rural inequality and exploitation.

Moving beyond agricultural policy to offer a fresh perspective on the agrarian reform, Land Without Masters shows how ideological assumptions and state interventions surrounding the reform transformed Peru’s political culture and social fabric. Making novel use of both visual and cultural sources, this book offers a fascinating look at how the agrarian reform process permanently altered the relationship between rural citizens and the national government—and how it continues to resonate in Peruvian politics today.

This event included comments on the book by Peruvian historian Professor Paulo Drinot (UCL) and a Q&A with the author.

Meet our speakers and chair

Dr Anna Cant, Assistant Professor, International History, LSE. She is a historian of Latin America with expertise in twentieth-century politics, cultural history and rural development. She gained her PhD in History at the University of Cambridge (2015) with a thesis on land reform in Peru. Before joining the LSE in September 2018, Dr Cant spent two years as a visiting researcher at Los Andes University, Bogota (Colombia). She is currently researching the history of Catholic radio in the Andes. 

Professor Paulo Drinot (@paulodrinot), Professor of Latin American History, UCL Institute of the Americas. He studied economic history at the London School of Economics as an undergraduate and an MPhil in Latin American Studies and a DPhil in Modern History at Oxford. His main research focus is the history of Peru in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His thematic interests include labour history and state formation, racism and exclusion, gender and sexuality, the social history of medicine, and memory and historiography. He is currently working on a biography of José Carlos Mariátegui, a project supported by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship.

Dr Tanya Harmer (@TanyaHarmer), Associate Professor, International History, LSE. She is a specialist on the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle. She obtained her BA at the University of Leeds and her MA and PhD in International History at the London School of Economics. She has written widely on Chile’s revolutionary process in the 1970s, the Cuban Revolution’s influence in Latin America, counter-revolution and inter-American diplomacy, solidarity networks, women and gender.

More about this event

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day.

Sponsored by the Department's The Americas in World History research cluster.

Banner: @Pixabay

Please ensure all the details have been entered correctly in the Twitter control.

System.Net.WebException: The remote server returned an error: (404) Not Found. at System.Net.HttpWebRequest.GetResponse() at LSE.Web.ExternalAPI.Twitter.GetTwitterFeed(String oAuthConsumerKey, String oAuthConsumerSecret, String oAuthURL, String screenname, Int32 limit) at ASP._Page_Components_Social_Media_UT02_Twitter_Vertical_cshtml.Execute() in d:\websites\website_live\Components\Social-Media\UT02-Twitter-Vertical.cshtml:line 26 { oAuthConsumerKey = Z7aqXpil2iRP0HCMFLkqbuZFr, oAuthConsumerSecret = 7UJISoFWvNUXp9TzYFTWEaQZx8OGN0hGLYeI5ihtrDRBDpUcvz, oAuthURL =, screenname = @LSEHistory, limit = 2, twitterURL = }

  Sign up for news about events