(Re)Integrating Spaces: The Color of Farming

Savannah Law Review, Volume 2, Number 1, 2015

43 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2015

See all articles by Angela P. Harris

Angela P. Harris

University of California, Davis - King Hall School of Law

Date Written: September 11, 2015

Abstract

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, in 2007, 83% of farmers were white men. American farming, it seems, is a white thing. This essay, written for the Savannah Law Review's symposium on "(Re)Integrating Spaces," explores American agriculture as a site of citizenship, and a site of racialization. I argue that since the colonization of America, the idea of farming has been central to stories about who Americans are and ought to be. Agriculture has figured into stories about what it means to live in a democracy; about what it means to be "civilized"; about what it means to own property; about what it means to belong to a place; and about what kind of nation the United States aspires to be. As these stories, told and retold over time, have developed recurring characters and familiar plots, indigenous people, people of African descent, and immigrants from many nations have figured as foils for proper citizenship. Whiteness is not a fixed identity but an argument, and farming has played an important role in shaping the evolution of whiteness as national identity.

Keywords: race, citizenship, agriculture

JEL Classification: N52, Z10

Suggested Citation

Harris, Angela P., (Re)Integrating Spaces: The Color of Farming (September 11, 2015). Savannah Law Review, Volume 2, Number 1, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2659077

Angela P. Harris (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - King Hall School of Law ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
530-752-3276 (Phone)
530-754-5311 (Fax)

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