Madeleine Fairbairn (University of California, Santa Cruz)

The CSI Guests Seminar will host

Madeleine Fairbairn

Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz

to discuss her book

Fields of Gold

Financing the Global Land Rush

Introduction to the discussion Mathilde Pellizzari

Back cover:

Fields of Gold critically examines the history, ideas, and political struggles surrounding the financialization of farmland. In particular, Madeleine Fairbairn focuses on developments in two of the most popular investment locations, the US and Brazil, looking at the implications of financiers’ acquisition of land and control over resources for rural livelihoods and economic justice.

At the heart of Fields of Gold is a tension between efforts to transform farmland into a new financial asset class, and land’s physical and social properties, which frequently obstruct that transformation. But what makes the book unique among the growing body of work on the global land grab is Fairbairn’s interest in those acquiring land, rather than those affected by land acquisitions. Fairbairn’s work sheds ethnographic light on the actors and relationships—from Iowa to Manhattan to São Paulo—that have helped to turn land into an attractive financial asset class.

Thanks to generous funding from UC Santa Cruz, the ebook editions of this book are available as Open Access volumes from Cornell Open ( and other repositories.

Madeleine Fairbairn, Fields of Gold: Financing the Global Land Rush, Cornell University Press, 2020.

The Guest Seminar Series is organized collectively by the CSI PhD students. It is open upon registration.

Guest seminar programme

Date: Thursday January 25, 2022

Please note: the seminar will exceptionally take place from 5pm to 7pm (Paris time)

The seminar will be held by videoconference

Registration: please fill out this form

Contact: Carole-Anne Tisserand or Abdoulaye Diaw

Photo source:  UC Santa Cruz