Washington Univ. Arts & Sciences
Washington Univ. Dept. of Anthropology

Professor, Sociocultural Anthropology
and Environmental Studies

Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1988
Vita with links to pubs

My research is on environmental anthropology and political ecology: I study the social and political aspects of agricultural systems, population increase, and agricultural biotechnology. I have worked on ancient, historic, and contemporary nonindustrialized farmers in Africa, India, and North America.

My present research focuses on ecological, social, and political aspects of  the introduction of genetically modified crops in developing countries. I completed a semester of work in a laboratory specializing in transformation of tropical crops, and am now engaged in a multi-year NSF-sponsored project on information flow, farmer skill, intellectual property, and the political ecology of genetically modified cotton in India. The primary fieldwork site is in Andhra Pradesh.

My Nigerian research examined social and agricultural change among Kofyar and Tiv populations during 40 years of rising population density. With the Kofyar I analyzed the social organization of labor and landscape in an intensive, sustainable system. Comparative research on Tiv showed different responses to land scarcity, including conflict and the manipulation of local political processes to avoid intensification. A larger aim of this work has been development of stronger models of agricultural change that recognize cultural context and agency. I have also worked on Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazis), especially political and agricultural responses to population increase over long time spans.

In 2007 I started the Village India Program, taking students to live and teach in Kalleda Village, Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh (see photos for 2007 and 2008 on Flickr). Apart from India I maintain areal interests in contemporary subSaharan Africa and the prehistoric American Southwest; however my work is on processes that occur worldwide, and I work with students conducting research in diverse areas.

For more information see the overview of the department's research in sociocultural anthropology.


Brave New Crops, Culture and Environment, Political Ecology, Peoples & Cultures of Africa, Proposal Writing

Selected Publications

2007 The Birth and Death of Traditional Knowledge: Paradoxical Effects of Biotechnology in India. In Biodiversity and the Law: Intellectual Property, Biotechnology and Traditional Knowledge, edited by Charles McManis, pp 207-238.  Earthscan. [pdf]
           For discussion of this work, see: The Napster pirates of transgenic biotech (Salon.com)

2007 Agricultural Deskilling and the Spread of Genetically Modified Cotton in Warangal. Current Anthropology 48:67-103. [pdf]
           For discussion of this work, see: Ganesh and Brahma bow to a new god (Salon.com)

2005 A Science of the Gray: Malthus, Marx, and the Ethics of Studying Crop Biotechnology. In Embedding Ethics: Shifting Boundaries of the Anthropological Profession, ed. L. Meskell and P. Pels, pp. 197-217. Berg, Oxford. [pdf]

2004 Biotechnology and the Political Ecology of Information in India. Human Organization 63:127-140 [html, pdf]

2002 Both Sides Now: Fallacies in the Genetic-Modification Wars, Implications for Developing Countries, and Anthropological Perspectives. Current Anthropology, 43(4):611-630 (a CA+ enhanced online article; pdf file with separate backgrounder available locally).

2002 Biotechnology and Suicide in India. Anthropology News 43(5):5. [html]

2001 Theory of the Square Chicken: Advances in Agricultural Intensification Theory. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 42:163-180. [pdf]

1999 (Stone, G.D. and C.E. Downum) Non-Boserupian Ecology and Agricultural Risk: Ethnic Politics and Land Control in the Arid Southwest. American Anthropologist 101:113-128. (GORDON WILLEY AWARD, 2000) [html, pdf]

1998 Keeping the Home Fires Burning: The Changed Nature of Householding in the Kofyar Homeland. Human Ecology 26:239-265. [pdf]

1997 Predatory Sedentism: Intimidation and Intensification in the Nigerian Savanna. Human Ecology 25:223-242. [pdf]

1996 Settlement Ecology: The Social and Spatial Organization of Kofyar Agriculture. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. [link]

1990  (G.D.Stone, R.M.Netting, and M.P.Stone) Seasonality, Labor Scheduling and Agricultural Intensification in the Nigerian Savanna.  American Anthropologist 92:7-23. [pdf]