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Michael Levien

Tue, Apr 5, 2022    1:15pm

A lecture by Michael Levien, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

This lecture will be presented virtually, please register in advance for the Zoom link.

While the urbanization of the countryside proceeds apace, in this talk I make the case for the enduring significance of Marxian agrarian studies for understanding processes of interest to urban planners. After briefly reviewing the century-long Marxist scholarship on the “agrarian question,” I outline recent theoretical developments in Agrarian Marxism and some key insights they provide on trajectories of capitalist development and politics in the 21st century. I will then draw on my past and present research on land dispossession in India and the politics of energy transition in the rural United States, to show concretely what can be learned by studying “planetary urbanization” from the vantage of the rural.

Michael Levien is associate professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. His research falls within the fields of development sociology, political sociology, agrarian political economy and social theory. The main focus of his research has been on the drivers, consequences, and politics of land dispossession. This research has been largely ethnographic and focused on India, but has also included cross-national comparisons. Additional research interests have included the expansion of land-related corruption and criminality in post-liberalization India, and global trends in public opinion towards markets and inequality over the past three decades. His new research focuses on climate change and the politics of energy transition in fossil fuel producing regions in the U.S.

Organized by the PhD students in the Urban Planning Program at Columbia GSAPP. Free and open to the public.

Virtual events hosted on Zoom Webinar do not require an account to attend, advanced registration is encouraged. GSAPP is committed to providing universal access to all of our virtual events. Please contact up@arch.columbia.edu to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.