Graduate Student Affiliate
- Campus: NB
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PhD or MA: PhD
- School : SAS
- Department: Geography
- Research Areas (themes, countries): agrarian studies, Black geographies, digitalization, science and technology studies, Colombia
- Dissertation Title: Programmed Landcapes: The Production of Digital Nature in the Valle del Cauca
- Abstract of Dissertation Work: I contextualize the ubiquity of digital development discourses and initiatives in the Valle del Cauca, demonstrating how efforts to resolve the “digital divide” are themselves shaped by regional land and labor conflicts that reflect longstanding race and class antagonisms. Through an institutional ethnography of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, I use situated research examining the center’s work amidst agrarian transformations in the Valley. I engage in theoretical debates in science and technology studies, political ecology, and related interdisciplinary fields questioning the impact of digital processes on nature, labor, and subjectivity. Technology is embedded within thick webs of history, social networks, and political processes, reflecting these linkages while also belying them. I complicate the depiction of digitalization as a unidirectional application of the “smart” digital to “backwards”, analog-processes of rural farming. Through questioning the Valley’s history as a site of international development, an agro-technological frontier, and a space of extreme violence and inequality, I question the normative claims surrounding agricultural digitalization as a solution for socio-ecological crises. The multivalent process of agricultural digitalization requires attention to the politics of how and where scale is created and the frictions that emerge as the universalizing ideals of technological grandeur are interrupted and impacted by situated contexts.
- Bio: I explore how (agricultural) data science reproduces particular forms of standardization and homogeneity that constitute racialized and exclusionary forms of international development and environmental management across the global South. I approach questions of the "digital" and the "ecological" from a range of heterodox traditions including Marxist thought, Black studies, and feminist science and technology studies. I have a BA in biology from Macalester College and an MSc in agroecology/soil science from the Universty of Minnesota.
- Publications: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alexander-Liebman-2