Venus Bivar

Organic Resistance

The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France

University of North Carolina Press 2018

New Books in Environmental StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in FoodNew Books in French StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books Network October 16, 2018 David Fouser

In Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), Venus Bivar documents the development of agriculture...

In Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), Venus Bivar documents the development of agriculture in post-1944 France. Through the Second World War, France’s agriculture was comparatively backward next to those of its neighbors and geopolitical rivals. The French government undertook a major program of “modernization” to encourage the consolidation of landholdings, increases in the productivity of agricultural labor, and the application of capital-intensive technologies. In this it was successful—at least to the extent that France became one of the world’s leading exporters of agricultural goods. However, as Bivar documents, this transformation was not without considerable resistance: plenty of farmers were unable or unwilling to change, and the transformation of the French countryside generated intense debates about the nature of quality in food and agriculture, and its relationship to the people and land of France.

Venus Bivar is Assistant Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis, where she pursues research and teaching in three broad fields: European, economic, and environmental history. Her interests include the history of capitalism, agriculture and international trade, and the human history of climate change. Following her book Organic Resistance, she is currently developing two new projects. The first studies the emergence of economic growth as both an economic category of analysis and a political objective, while the second examines the social consequences of port development and urban planning in Marseille.


David Fouser is an adjunct faculty member at Santa Monica College, Chapman University, and American Jewish University. He completed his Ph.D. in 2016 at the University of California, Irvine, and studies the cultural and environmental history of wheat, flour, and bread in Britain and the British Empire.

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