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The Commodity Frontier Initiative

Providing a long historical perspective on problems that are often assumed to be modern, the Commodity Frontiers Initiative recasts our thinking about issues of sustainability, resilience, and contestations, contributing to the politics of our own times.


Issue 1. Mineral Frontiers.

Issue 2. Stimulant Frontiers.

Issue 3. Livestock Frontiers.

Commodity Frontiers Roundtable Discussion

09 DECEMBER 2021 – 16:00 — 09 DECEMBER 2021 – 18:00

The Commodity Frontiers Initiative hosts a roundtable discussion on the newly research agenda of the Commodity Frontiers Initiative. It just appeared as an article in the Journal of Global History under the title “Commodity Frontiers and the Transformation of the Global Countryside: A Research Agenda” authored by Sven Beckert, Ulbe Bosma, Mindi Schneider, and Eric Vanhaute.

Their article has already attracted many readers and appeared along with commentary on the piece by Maxine Berg, Ruth Mostern, Ronald Findlay & Kevin O’Rourke.
The authors claim “that studying the global history of capitalism through the lens of commodity frontiers and using commodity regimes as an analytical framework is crucial to understanding the origins and nature of capitalism, and thus the modern world.”

In this hybrid and open-to-the-public event, Neil Brenner (University of Chicago, USA), Philip McMichael (Cornell University, USA) and Nancy Peluso (University of California, Berkeley, USA) will give their views on the proposed research agenda. Hanne Cottyn (University of York) will moderate the round table.

If you want to attend, please send an email to Jacqueline Rutte from the International Institute of Social History, via secretar@iisg.nl.

The articles that appeared in “Arenas in Global History” section of the Journal of Global History can be found on: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-global-history/latest-issue  

Our Research Agenda

Commodity Frontiers Lexicon

The Commodity Frontiers Lexicon proposes and explores some of the crucial concepts at the core of research in the Commodity Frontiers Initiative. It is a space of conversation and confrontation to explore existing ideas and forge new critical ones.

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