Image of Glenn Stone.

Glenn Davis Stone

Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies​
PhD, University of Arizona
research interests:
  • Political Ecology
  • Agricultural Change, Intensification, and Industrialization
  • Biotechnology
  • Sustainability
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • India

contact info:

office hours:

  • ​​On leave Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1114
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

Professor Stone is an ecological anthropologist who has studied indigenous agricultural systems for the past 20 years. He is a Guggenheim Fellow for 2016-17. 

Glenn Stone's research is on environmental anthropology, political ecology, food studies, and science & technology studies. He is particularly interested in the social and political aspects of agricultural systems; agricultural sustainability; intensification and industrialization;  indigenous knowledge; responses to population increase; agricultural biotechnology; and alternative food/farming systems. He has worked on past and contemporary nonindustrialized farmers in Africa, India, the Philippines, and North America.

One focus of his present research is on the spread of genetically modified crops in developing countries. After working in a laboratory specializing in transformation of tropical crops, and completing a multi-year, multi-village field study of Andhra Pradesh farmers as GM cotton was being adopted, he is starting a project on indigenous knowledge and technology change among rice and cotton farmers in India and the Philippines (including impacts of “Golden Rice”).

A second research focus is on the new small farm movement in North America, including the economic and ecological aspects of sustainability and historical perspectives on small farmers in Appalachia. A third focus of current work is on the politics of agricultural research and interventions.

Earlier research projects examined social and agricultural change among Kofyar and Tiv populations in Nigeria. With the Kofyar he analyzed the social organization of labor and landscape in an intensive, sustainable system. Research on the Tiv showed different responses to land scarcity, including conflict and the manipulation of local political processes to avoid intensification. He has also worked on Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazis), especially political and agricultural responses to population increase.

In 2007, he started the Village India Program, taking students to live and teach in Kalleda village in Andhra Pradesh (see photos for 2007 and 2008 on Flickr).

From 2011-2013, he  was president of the Anthropology and Environment Society.

Selected Publications

A detailed publications list with links is available here.

Publications on indigenous knowledge:

2016 Towards a General Theory of Agricultural Knowledge Production: Environmental, Social and Didactic Learning.  Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 38(1):5-17  [pdf]

2014 The Problem with the Farmers Voice.  Agriculture & Human Values (with A. Flachs)  [pdf]

2013 Rhythms of the Herd: Long Term Dynamics in Seed Choice by Indian Farmers. Technology in Society 36:26-38. (with A. Flachs and C. Diepenbrock) [pdf]

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).

On food studies:

2017 Heirloom Rice in Ifugao:  An ‘Anti-commodity’ in the Process of Commodification.  Journal of Peasant Studies (with D. Glover). [pdf] For discussion of this work, see Stick It To the Man Rice (The Tropicalist)

2016 Disembedding Grain: Golden Rice, the Green Revolution, and Heirloom Seeds in the Philippines. Agriculture & Human Values 33: online. [pdf] (with D. Glover)

2013 The Trials of Genetically Modified Food: Bt Eggplant and Ayurvedic Medicine in India. Food Culture & Society 16:21-42 (with C. Kudlu). [pdf]

On biotechnology in India:

2017 The Ox Fall Down: Path Breaking and Technology Treadmills in Indian Cotton Agriculture. Journal of Peasant Studies (with A. Flachs). [pdf]

2015 Biotechnology, Schismogenesis and the Demise of Uncertainty.  Journal of Law & Policy 47:29-49.  [pdf] 

2011 Field vs. Farm in Warangal: Bt Cotton, Higher Yields, and Larger Questions.  World Development 39(3):387-398. [pdf]

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).

On biotechnology in general:

2017 Dreading CRISPR: GMO’s, Honest Brokers, and Mertonian Transgressions.  Geographical Review, forthcoming. [pdf]

2010 Anthropology of Genetically Modified Crops.  Annual Review of Anthropology 39:381-400. [pdf]

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]

2002 Both Sides Now: Fallacies in the Genetic-Modification Wars, Implications for Developing Countries, and Anthropological Perspectives. Current Anthropology, 43(4):611-630 [CA + enhanced online article for subscribers]

On science & technology studies of agriculture and biotechnology:

2014 Biosecurity in the Age of Genetic Engineering. In Bioinsecurity and Human Vulnerability, edited by Nancy Chen and Lesley Sharp. SAR Press. [pdf]

2012 Constructing Facts: Bt Cotton Narratives in India. Economic & Political Weekly 47(38):62-70. [pdf]

2011 Contradictions in the Last Mile: Suicide, Culture, and E-Agriculture in Rural India.  Science, Technology and Human Values36:759-790. [pdf]

From our podcast:

Hold That Thought Podcast

India and Biotechnology

Glenn Stone describes the controversies and debates surrounding the role of genetically modified crops in the developing world.