Venus Bivar

Venus Bivar

Assistant Professor of History​
PhD, University of Chicago
MA, University of Chicago
BA, University of British Columbia

contact info:

office hours:

  • Tuesdays 2:30 - 4:00 PM
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mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1062
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

​Venus Bivar pursues research and teaching in three broad fields: European, economic, and environmental history. Her interests include the history of capitalism, agriculture and international trade, and the human history of climate change.

Her first book, Organic Resistance: The Struggle Over Industrial Farming in Postwar France (UNC Press 2018), was awarded the J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association, as well as an honorable mention for the Society for French Historical Studies' Pinkney Prize, and was shortlisted for the Canadian Historical Association's Wallace K. Ferguson Prize. She is currently working on two new projects. The first, Falling for Growth, examines the influence of economic thought on anthropogenic climate change, while the second, Unsafe Harbour, draws on the tools of political ecology to analyse the history of migration and port development in modern Marseille.

Selected Publications


Organic Resistance: The Struggle Over Industrial Farming in Postwar France (UNC Press, 2018).

Winner of the Russell Major Prize for best book in French history from the American Historical Association.
Honorable mention for the Society for French Historical Studies' David H. Pinkney Prize for best book in French history.
Shortlisted for the Canadian Historical Association's Wallace K. Ferguson Prize for best book in a field other than Canadian history.

There are two surprises in Organic Resistance. First, French farming is not the bastion of gastronomic refinement that the world tends to believe that it is. And the origins of organic farming do not lie with the radical left, but instead with the fascist right. From its capitalist successes to the politically suspect origins of its turn to terroir, French farming is not at all what it seems. Organic Resistance delves into the intersecting narratives of economic modernization, the birth of organic farming, the development of a strong agricultural protest movement, and the rise of environmentalism. This fresh perspective, grounded in as-yet unexplored archives, provides an antidote to recent works that have focused on the gastronomy, tourism and leisure associated with the French countryside while ignoring the weight of big agriculture in the national economy and its role in shaping rural life and landscapes.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

Guest co-editor of special issue of Modern and Contemporary France titled "French Industrial Food and its Critics" (expected publication in autumn 2019). 

"Agricultural High Modernism and Land Reform in Postwar France," Agricultural History (scheduled for publication in autumn 2019).

"Manufacturing a Multifunctional Countryside: Operational Landscapes, Urban Desire, and the French State, 1945-1976," French Politics, Culture & Society 36, no. 2 (Summer 2018): 53-76.

"History for Sale: The International Art Market and the Nation State," International Journal of Cultural Property, vol. 13, no. 3 (2006): 259-283.

Book Chapters

"La modernisation agricole française d’après 1945 : politiques et contestations," in Ed. Christophe Bonneuil. Une Autre histoire des modernisations agricoles au XXe siècle (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2019).
"Land reform, European integration, and the industrialization of agriculture in postwar France," in Ed. Kiran Klaus Patel. Fertile Ground for Europe? The History of European Integration and the Common Agricultural Policy since 1945 (Baden-Baden: Nomos 2009): 119-137.

Recent Courses

Slow Violence: An Introduction to Political Ecology

The Wheels of Commerce: From Industrial Revolutions to Global Capitalism

An Inconvenient Truth: The Human History of Climate Change

Riots and Revolution: A History of Modern France

Barbarity and Civilisation in Modern Europe

Liberalism and its Critics: A History of Modern Political Thought

Money Talks: Advanced Readings in Economic History

Writing I (Washington University Prison Education Program at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center)

Independent studies in the history of economic thought