This panel seeks to explore the interrelationship among, peasant agriculture, liberal political projects, and race from a comparative perspective across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Taking as its conceptual starting point Sidney Mintz's argument that 'Caribbean peasantries represent a mode of response to the plantation system and its connotations, and a mode of resistance to imposed styles of life' (Mintz, 1974) this panel seeks to address the historical and contemporary relationship among peasantries, liberal politics, and race across Latin America and the Caribbean. Papers may address a wide range of problems such as: popular mobilisation against slavery and/or colonial rule; peasant farming as resistance to wage labour and/or 20th century neo-colonial economic policies; the relationship between peasant life and concepts of freedom in the Americas; the uses, and limits, of liberalism in Latin American and Caribbean popular politics; the place of the peasantry in racial thought of the Americas; the relationship between historically black peasantries and indigenous rural communities; contemporary government policies regarding small scale agriculture and their socio-political consequences. For the purposes of the panel the term peasant is meant to include different forms of small scale agriculture such as: 'traditional' peasant farming, 'reconstituted peasantries', landless rural workers, maroon, cimarron and quilombo communities. 'Liberalism' should be understood in its broadest sense as a political philosophy based on the ideas of liberty, equality and universal rights - put into practice in very diverse ways. Furthermore, race and racism may be analysed from material, symbolic or ideological perspectives.