We are looking for contributions to our panel “Showcases of rural modernity: Agricultural exhibitions and representations of rural development in comparative and transregional perspective” at the 7th Congress on World and Global History (ENIUGH), which will take place in The Hague from 29 June to 1 July 2023.
Rural communities, agrarian spaces and agricultural practices have been most prominent objects of large-scale modernization projects in colonial and post-colonial contexts in different world regions since the 19th century. During the 20th century, and into the Cold War specifically, these projects became not only crucial on ambitious agendas of nation-building but also turned into battlegrounds for the remaking of global order after empire with e.g. socialist collectivization in Eastern Europe, villagization programs in Eastern Africa, or the World bank’s campaigns to uplift the rural poor. Plans and projects developed along these lines did, however, not emerge in isolation, but benefited from the transregional and transnational circulation of knowledge, expertise exchanges and comparative observations in diverse contexts. Essential arenas for both competition and exchange between different visions of rural modernity were agricultural exhibitions as well as (re)presentations in museums, schoolbooks, or media. These were crucial not only for the transfer and circulation of knowledge but also aimed at providing legitimacy to modernization projects as potentially export models.
With a focus on the 20th century, the panel aims at bringing together comparative and transregional perspectives on such exhibition projects understood in a broader context to include representations in media, schoolbooks, museums, model farms or other kinds of (visual) representations. We seek contributions that draw attention to actors and organizations involved in promoting, competing over and being addressed by such projects, historicize their deployed imaginaries, narratives and iconographies and investigate organizational and logistical challenges. Through this lens, the contested notions of rural modernity shall be situated in a transregional conversation beyond North-South or East-West divides and be made visible as part of competing globalization projects, thus critically addressing the urban bias in prominent notions of modernity and globality.
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short biographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org until 10 March 2023.