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Women working in a field
Apr 26, 2024

Agrarian Studies, Climate Change, and the Future of Work

This interdisciplinary conference brings together experts on questions of climate change, agrarian transformations and labor to help us reflect on the future of work.

When & Where

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Date & Time

Apr 26, 2024
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Cornell University
700 Clark Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States


The future of work is hot. Literally. Unpredictable seasons, droughts, floods, warming temperatures, rising seas, and a host of other climatic factors are changing what work is, what it means, and what it does to the body. These effects are unevenly felt across geographies and forms of difference.

These effects spill out beyond the factories, fields, and construction sites scholars conventionally associate with legible acts of labor. Self-employed or “informal” workers in cities face new threats from the compounding factors of rising heat and air pollution. Ecotourism sectors have been reconfigured to make climate crisis, extinction, and other consequences of planetary change into sites for “disaster tourism” and consumption. A low-paid service industry coalesces around climate dystopia. The bodily effects of heat and work are newly burdening women, who disproportionately perform unremunerated, devalued reproductive labor in domestic spaces. Questions about the future of work in the context of climate crisis, then, are as much about techno-fixes as they are about home and family.

9:00 - 9:30 AM


9:30 - 9:45 AM

Introductory Remarks by Sarah Besky (Cornell)

9:45-11:15 AM

Harnessing and Containing Insects Amidst Climate Change

Ectothermic Horizons: Climate Change, Vectorborne Diseases and The Humble Brick, Ann Kelly (King’s College London) and Liz McCormick (North Carolina – Charlotte)

The Appetites of Armigera: Bio-economies of Hybrid Cotton in Central India, Aarti Sethi (UC Berkeley)

Title TBA, Jamie Cross (Edinburgh)

11:15 - 11:30 AM


11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Extraction and Decolonization: Land, Labor and Agriculture in the Global South

Agrarian Change from Palestine: Devaluations of Land, Labor, and Environment, Paul Kohlbry (Cornell)

The Costs of Unimagined Transitions and the Clash over Agricultural Price Policy in India, Mekhala Krishnamurthy (Ashoka)

Green Extractivism and the Carbon Rush: Expropriation of Emission Rights and the “Hidden” Role of Labor, Natacha Bruna (Cornell)

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


2:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Experiencing Heat: Vulnerabilities, Measurement and Management of Labor

Caliente: Navigating Heat in Fluvial Colombia, Austin Zeiderman (LSE)

Reframing Heat Vulnerability, Ashley Carse (Vanderbilt)

Atmospheric Fixes and Climate Equity in Sugarcane Plantations, Alex Nading (Cornell)

Contested Mangroves: Agrarian Justice and the Climate Change Adaptation Regime, Diana Ojeda (Indiana – Bloomington)

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM



  • Professor of Anthropology and Global Health, King's College, London

  • Assistant Professor, Architecture, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

  • Professor, Geography, Indiana University - Bloomington

  • Associate Professor, Geography, London School of Economics

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Ashoka University

  • Assistant Professor, Anthropology, UC Berkeley

  • Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Development, University of Glasgow

  • Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University

  • Post-doctoral Associate, Anthropology, Cornell University

  • Post-doctoral Associate, Dept. Of Global Development, Cornell University

  • Associate Professor, Anthropology, Cornell University

  • Associate Professor, ILR School, Cornell University

  • Post-doctoral Associate, ILR School, Cornell University