Zsuzsanna Ihar

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

2022 to 2023
Research Fellow

Arming the Field: The Deployment of Agricultural Science in the Context of War and in its Aftermath (1990-2020)

The project intends to explore the convergences between US agricultural programs and military operations over the last three decades—both abroad and on 'home soil'. It will examine three key projects: agricultural restructuring in the aftermath of the Gulf War, the deployment of Agricultural Development Teams (ADTs) during the Iraq War, and Soldier to Farmer programs in the 2010s. By highlighting the way in which crop cultivation lends itself to counterinsurgency, post-conflict restoration, and the transformation (plus securitisation) of select economic and political systems, the project will complicate both military and agricultural history. It will be argued that conflict (and its aftermath) not only alters the way scientists, labourers, farmers, and government agents define and interact with concepts of value, sustainability, food security, and sovereignty, but also the very nature of agricultural work. Indeed, conditions of war shape practices of collection, cultivation, and conservation across a variety of spaces – from seed repositories, remediated fields, to university laboratories.