PRIMA-Professur Prof. Dr. Yi-Tang Lin
Rice Knowledge and Practices between Pacific Asia and West Africa: International Development meets local farming (1960–1991)
Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, this project aims to decentralize historical accounts of the Cold War-era “Green Revolution” by studying exchange pathways between Asia and Africa and challenging the notion of two regions considered only the recipients instead of actors in these exchanges. As the world’s most consumed staple – feeding more than half of the global population, especially in Asia and Africa – rice-growing was highly strategic for international organizations and national development agencies as they attempted to export their respective models during the Cold War. As a traditional rice-producing continent, Asia’s rice-related knowledge and technology inspired development agencies to make rice production more scientific and rational in post-colonial West Africa, a region with a growing appetite for rice. The core project focuses on three major pathways: 1) international agricultural research centers funded by a complex of international donors; 2) official development assistance from Japan, China, and Taiwan; and 3) local agricultural scientists and workers in Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. With her team focusing on knowledge and practices flows between East Asia and West Africa, they will open a new window on Asian–African solidarity by going beyond diplomacy and concentrating on the knowledge generated and held on the ground. Over the five-year period of her professorship, she and her team will mobilize archival collections, oral histories, and bibliographical database analysis to capture historical data from actors who left various quantities of written records.