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Volume 91, Number 4 (Fall 2017)


“A Golden Harvest”: Gold Mining and Agricultural Reform in North Carolina, 1799–1842 JASON HAUSER

The 1799 discovery of gold in the North Carolina piedmont began a decades-long conversation about the desirability of mining in the region. Within the pages of local and national periodicals, a debate unfolded that pivoted around issues central not to mining, but to agrarianism itself: morality, proper land management, and the relationship between industry and agriculture within North Carolina’s economy. Examining the rhetoric surrounding gold extraction offers insight into the nature of early national agricultural reform, as it indicates that at least some of the South’s agricultural reformers were not hardline agrarians but rather economic boosters in a more general sense. Reformers’ support of highly capitalized mining operations, unaffordable to most of the backcountry farmers who found gold on their land, and their derision of farmers working superficial deposits, suggests that, at least at times, they prioritized general economic improvement over the farmers they ostensibly sought to help.

The Peasant Route to Innovation: Fertilizer Improvement in the Smallholding Economy of Eighteenth-Century Flanders, Belgium PIETER DE GRAEF

In peasant studies as well as agricultural and economic history, little is known about the diffusion of new agricultural knowledge in peasant regions and the ways in which smallholding families gained confidence to adopt new approaches to their farming activities. New agricultural innovations—especially those that required substantial cash outlays—were kept at arm’s length because of the outcome’s uncertainty, which could harm the survival strategies of smallholding peasants. This article elaborates on the spread of two innovative fertilizer improvements—animal urine and lime—in the eighteenth-century smallholding economy of Inland Flanders. It argues that farm size and social relations between smallholding peasants and larger farmers played a pivotal role in the dissemination of fertilizer knowledge. Smallholders did not stick to the safe application of current manures but instead adopted these new innovations after they saw the benefits on pioneering large farms. This study, therefore, confirms much about our understandings of a peasant behavior of risk limitation, yet also challenges it.

The Abolition of the Colonate: Long-Term Sharecropping
Relations in Dalmatia, 1918–1946 IVAN HRSTIC

The colonate was a long-term system of sharecropping widely used on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, especially in Dalmatia. It was a private-law relationship between a landowner and a tenant, who was usually a peasant with hereditary character, and it was similar to other forms of sharecropping across the Mediterranean. This paper argues the colonate was not a rigid system that directly reflected social and economic hierarchies, as it has often been described, but that both landowners and tenants entered into the agreement with the ability to make rational economic calculations. The second part of the paper focuses on the process of abolishing the colonate after World War I. To gain support from peasants, who represented 79 percent of the total population, the government of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes announced the implementation of comprehensive agrarian reform in 1919, which included the dissolution of all traditional agrarian relations and the allocation of land to landless peasants. Unlike in other parts of the Kingdom, however, this policy was only slowly implemented in Dalmatia as the government was unwilling to put it into practice. They supported Dalmatian landowners, many of whom were members of the governing parties and who sought to delay the implementation of the reform. In the end, the colonate was the only traditional agrarian relation not completely abolished during the interwar period. It was only phased out after the end of World War II.

“Because They Just Don’t Want To”: Dairy Consumers, Food Quality, and Spain’s Nutritional Transition in the 1950s and

Prior to the mid-1960s, dairy products—one of the main carriers of the so-called nutritional transition—were not a major element in the Spanish diet. Through an analysis of the obstacles to the expansion of dairy consumption in the 1950s and early 1960s, this article argues that consumer preferences, and not only low consumer incomes or a poorly developed dairy chain, mattered. Even though Spanish consumers were not hostile toward dairy products (at a time of intense propaganda efforts by physicians, agribusinesses, and the state), their preferences were selective. As the cases of raw milk, powdered milk, and cheese show, consumers’ lack of enthusiasm about the characteristics of much of the dairy produce that was available to them hampered the expansion of consumption at a time when their economic situation was clearly improving. This suggests that the progress of the nutritional transition was not necessarily an outcome of changes in consumer income and food production, but depended instead on an appropriate fitting of such changes with the evolution of consumer perceptions about food quality.

Roundtable on Debra A. Reid’s Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites J.L. ANDERSON, JULIA BROCK, NANCY E. VILLA BRYK, R. DOUGLAS HURT, AND DEBRA A. REID

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Book Reviews


Follet, Beckert, Coclanis, and Hahn, Plantation Kingdom: The American South and its Global Commodities, by Brian Schoen

Dawson and Morales, eds., Cities of Farmers: Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes, by Christopher Bosso

Magnan, When Wheat Was King: The Rise and Fall of the Canada-UK Wheat Trade, by Thomas D. Finger

Saraiva, Fascist Pigs: Technocratic Organisms and the History of Fascism, by Thomas Fleischman


Van Bavel, Manors and Markets: Economy and Society in the Low Countries, 300–1600, by Constance Hoffman Berman

Asia and the Pacific

Locke and Buckingham, eds., Conflict, Negotiation, and Coexistence: Rethinking Human-Animal Relations in South Asia, by Sumit Guha

Schmalzer, Red Revolution, Green Revolution: Scientific Farming in Socialist China, by Emily M. Hill

Bossen and Gates, Bound Feet, Young Hands: Tracking the Demise of Footbinding in Village China, by Yongguang Hu

Scates and Oppenheimer, The Last Battle: Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916–1939, by John C. Mitcham

Latin America

Menchaca, The Politics of Dependency: U.S. Reliance on Mexican Oil and Farm Labor, by Irasema Coronado

Tutino, ed., New Countries: Capitalism, Revolutions, and Nations in the Americas, 1750–1870, by Marcela Echeverri

North America

Eyford, White Settler Reserve: New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian West, by Thomas D. Isern

Bean, Too Great a Burden to Bear: The Struggle and Failure of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Texas, by Carl H. Moneyhon

Forret, Slave Against Slave: Plantation Violence in the Old South, by Antwain K. Hunter

Wald, The Nature of California: Race, Citizenship, and Farming Since the Dust Bowl, by Benny Andres

Glasrud and Searles, eds., Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, On the Stage, Behind the Badge, by Rebecca Scofield

Parrish, The Flood Year 1927: A Cultural History, by David Cullen

Freeman, Persistent Progressives: The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, by Michael Weeks

Greene, No Depression in Heaven: The Great Depression, The New
Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta, by Arthur Remillard

LeFlouria, Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South, by Brandon Kyron Lenzie Winford

Vetter, Field Life: Science in the American West during the Railroad Era, by George E. Webb