I work in the fields of critical agrarian, food and environmental studies in an interconnected fashion. My approach stems from a scholar-activist tradition, which combines rigorous academic…
I work in the fields of critical agrarian, food and environmental studies in an interconnected fashion. My approach stems from a scholar-activist tradition, which combines rigorous academic work with a commitment to progressive societal transformation. As part of the ‘Political Ecology Research Group’ and the teaching Major ‘Agrarian, Food & Environmental Studies (AFES)’, and under the supervision of Professors Max Spoor and Saturnino (Jun) Borras Jr., my doctoral research and recent publications discuss the socio-ecological implications of the global resurgence of resource extractivism—and the consolidation of ecosystem services—in capital accumulation and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the early 21st century.
I joined the editorial team of the Journal of Peasant Studies as co-editor of the Book Reviews Section on January 2018. At the same time, I am a research associate at the Agrarian and Environmental Justice Programme of the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam since 2013. This has exposed me to the transnational arena of climate and natural resource politics, processes and actors, including inter-governmental organizations and governance systems, scholar networks and social movements. Additionally, during the last five years my work in TNI has involved action-research in Myanmar.
At the age of 22 I worked as a research assistant at Praxis in Bangalore, India, during 2001-2002. I was involved in research on indentured labour and farmworkers issues, access to water and privatization of nature. I got my MA degree in International Development and Humanitarian Action in Deusto University in Spain in 2004. That year I moved to Guatemala, where I helped set-up the Institute of Agrarian and Rural Studies (IDEAR). This position allowed me to carry out field research in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. And this is something I have done through a mix of research methods: qualitative and quantitative, from the social and natural sciences.
In all of these countries, and during the past decade, my research agenda has focused on the political ecology, economy and sociology of agro-environmental change amid convergent climate/environmental, energy, financial and food crises. I have examined the rise of what I term the “agro-extractive capitalist project” and the multiple and dynamic politics that enable and constrain this particular form of organizing labour, land, finance, knowledge and external nature into biomass extraction for traditional food, fibre and feed uses, as well as for liquid fuels, bio-materials and carbon sinks.
My scholarly collaborations in particular benefit from my involvement with global scholarly networks focused on agrarian and environmental change and politics including the Initiative on Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS), the Land Deal Politics (LDPI), the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS), and the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI).
I have taught in, and helped develop course syllabi for, undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the fields of political ecology, politics of agrarian and environmental transformation, environmental and rural sociology, food systems and politics, and development more generally. I have taught, and to a lesser extent supervised, students from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds in different countries including the Netherlands, China, Guatemala, Belgium and Spain.
B. Mckay, A. Alonso Fradejas, C. Wang & S.M. Borras (2014). Contested Land Politics and Trajectories of Agrarian Change within an Emergent World Agro-commodity Regime: Insights from the BRICS and the Periphery. In W.D. Schanbacher (Ed.), The Global Food System: Issues and Solutions (pp. 211-242). Santa Barbara, California: Praeger