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7/21/2013 Podcast – Kathleen R. Smythe

Kathleen Smythe


Agriculture is approximately 10,000 years old. Thus, it has only been practiced for a very small portion of human existence, yet agriculture is arguably the single most important development in human history. It is also probably the most ecologically disruptive development in human history. A sustainability visionary has been working on changing human agriculture, undoing 10,000 years of human history, with the hope of ensuring the continued existence of human civilization and our planet’s rich ecosystems. Come hear about his work and the necessity of cultivating a sense of a deep human past.

Kathleen Smythe received her Ph.D. in African History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her study of Africa and her experiences there lead her to the fields of economic development, sustainability, and globalization, as she sought to understand for herself and then explain to her students the dynamics—historical and current—that have led to global apartheid and ecological devastation. Much of her teaching and research currently focus on these issues, including a book manuscript derived from her teaching, Why We Need African History, which explores ideas and institutions that are long-lived and might broaden our economic, political and social responses to the aforementioned crises.

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