Current Issue

The Morrill Mandate and a New Moral Mandate CAROLYN B. BROOKS AND ALAN I MARCUS

This paper argues that the original Morrill mission aimed to provide opportunity to an entire segment of society otherwise unable to attend college. The 1890 Morrill Act extended that promise to the freedmen and women in the American South.

Over the years, however, the original land-grant universities have forgotten, perhaps even abandoned, their initial mission. Rather than offering opportunity to the diverse pastiche that comprises America, they now seek glory for themselves by coveting only the best students. In the process, their historic role of providing entrance into the middle class for the disenfranchised has gone wanting. Brooks calls for a revitalized Morrill mandate to take advantage of the vast human capital that would otherwise be wasted.

Turning the Earth: Free Black Yeomanry in the Antebellum South Carolina Lowcountry DAVID W. DANGERFIELD

Aptly described by Ira Berlin as slaves without masters, free people of color in antebellum North America were beset by laws and social conditions that rendered them little more than slaves. In recent years, however, scholars have explored free blacks whom sometimes challenged this status by achieving meaningful degrees of economic and social stability in the antebellum South. This essay examines such a group--a segment of free black farmers in the rural parishes surrounding Charleston, South Carolina, whose farming strategies, production, and rural lives were quite similar to their yeoman-class white neighbors. These free black farmers crossed the boundary between race and class by establishing economic self-sufficiency through farm production and then by cultivating important, yet often fragile and contingent, social advantages in their rural communities.

Illuminating Ephemeral Medieval Agricultural History through Manuscript Art DOLLY JØRGENSEN

There are objects and practices we would not know existed if we relied only on written texts or archeological evidence to piece together medieval agricultural history. These ephemeral aspects of the agricultural past are sometimes, however, captured in art. This essay explores some of the possible ways to recover fleeting history using medieval illuminations, which are hand-painted illustrations in books most often unrelated to agriculture. Unglamorous technologies, agricultural processes, plant varietals, animal breeds, housing design, and variation of agricultural practice in time and space can all be explored in medieval manuscript art. Medieval illuminations can, under the right conditions, give us new knowledge about agricultural practice rather than serving as simple “illustrations” of agricultural history known from textual sources.

Forging the Colonial State as an Arbiter of Internal Boundaries: Japanese Colonial Rule and the Agrarian Relational Shift in Korea JIN-YEON KANG

This article examines changes in agrarian social relations during the Japanese colonial period in Korea. Throughout the colonial rule, the Japanese regime followed the imperial logic of maximizing its own political and economic interests, thus generating the societal reorganization of colonial Korea. Yet, the colonial government by no means remained as an oppressive and extractive power only. Rather, it continued to reformulate the colonial system by interacting with different responses from the colonialized. Focusing on the influence of the legal enforcement of agricultural projects upon colonial Korea, this article explores why Japanese colonial rule accelerated internal conflicts among Koreans, and how the colonial government took a mediating position, rather than simply acting as a super-imposed colonial power. Of particular importance is that the Government-General of Korea kept revising the colonial legal system, which in turn led Korean landlords and peasants to seek their own survival or economic profit through the intervention of the colonial power. By highlighting the fact that the colonial state pursued its own political interest of maintaining social order in its colony, instead of exclusively supporting landlords or peasants at the expense of the other, the article advances the argument that the colonial government served as an arbiter of internal boundaries among Koreans.

Aviation’s Heartland: The Flying Farmers and Postwar Flight PETER SIMONS

In 1944 the National Flying Farmers organized at Stillwater, Oklahoma. The organization took advantage of aviation’s wartime growth to promote flight as an integral part of agricultural life that would modernize production, break down social barriers, and give farmers greater access to markets. It also built on aviation’s roots in the agricultural landscapes of the Midwest and Great Plains as well as the strategic role these spaces would come to play in the Cold War. In addition to giving farmers greater control over their land and work, flight was more broadly imagined to connect the agricultural heartland with consumers abroad, making the region the capital of the United States’ “aviation empire.” Although the Flying Famers failed to achieve their broader goals, the organization’s early history provides further evidence of the international scope of farm life in the postwar era.

Milking Science for its Worth: The Reform of the British Milk Trade in the Late Nineteenth Century JACOB STEERE-WILLIAMS

This article examines the late nineteenth-century process whereby elite British dairy companies used the tools and the rhetoric of scientific management to gain market hegemony, marginalizing small and often rural dairy farmers. This was in the context of increased parliamentary demands for the regulation of the milk industry, fueled by fears of milk-borne disease and the nutritional quality of cow’s milk. Whereas historians have assumed that dairy farmers were resistant to central oversight, elite and self-labeled progressive companies such as the Aylesbury Dairy Company in London used agricultural science to become drivers in agricultural reform. While that change was not without significant pushback from small-scale dairy farmers, the most pressing problem was that a wide variety of scientific experts vied for agricultural expertise on cow’s milk, including veterinarians, medical officers of health, chemists, and bacteriologists. These burgeoning professions competed and jostled for authority even as they were being used by elite companies to reorganize the British dairy industry.

Book Reviews

Schafer, Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and the Atlantic World: Slave Trader, Plantation Owner, Emancipator, by Paul M. Pressly

Woertz, Oil For Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East, by Bill Winders

Roberts, Slavery and the Enlightenment in the British Atlantic, 1750–1807, by Frederick Knight

Newman, A New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic, by David Ryden

Hoyle, ed., The Farmer in England, 1650–1980, by J. V. Beckett

Bowman and Wilson, eds., The Roman Agricultural Economy: Organization, Investment, and Production, by Brent D. Shaw

MacAskill, ed., The Highland Destitution of 1837: Government Aid and Public Subscription, by Peter Hillis

Oddy and Drouard, The Food Industries of Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, by Hayley Goodchild

Shaw, Everyday Life in the Early English Caribbean: Irish, Africans, and the Construction of Difference, by Neal D. Polhemus

Saka, For God and Revolution: Priest, Peasant, and Agrarian Socialism in the Mexican Huasteca, by Jim Norris

Moon, The Plough that Broke the Steppes: Agriculture and Environment on Russia’s Grasslands, 1700-1914, by Jenny Leigh Smith

Lucas and Warren, eds., Land for the People: The State and Agrarian Conflict in Indonesia, by Peter Boomgaard

Holland, Home in the Howling Wilderness: Settlers and the Environment in Southern New Zealand, by Gordon M. Winder

Hannickel, Empire Of Vines: Wine Culture In America, by Victor W. Geraci

Valencius, The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes, by Gary T. Edwards

Salafia, Slavery’s Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River, by Ian Beamish

Johnson, Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America, by Robin C. Henry

Wishart, The Last Days of the Rainbelt, by Virgil W. Dean

Knight, Tropic of Hopes: California, Florida, and the Selling of American Paradise, 1869–1929, by Jack E. Davis

Nugent, The Tolerant Populists: Kansas Populism and Nativism, by James M. Beeby

Lauck, The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History, by Jenny Barker Devine

Angelo, The Law and Ecology of Pesticides and Pest Management, by Frederick R. Davis

Ogle, In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America, by Jennifer Jensen Wallach

Edge et al., eds., The Larder: Food Studies Methods from the American South, by Tore Olsson

Veit, Modern Food, Moral Food: Self-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century, by Tom Okie