For some time now, scholars in the humanities have called for a more-than-human approach to analyzing and narrating the past. In recent years, research endeavors have mushroomed: scholars have considered the historical significance of everything from fungi to flies to copper filaments. To do so, they are drawing on theory and empirical findings from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. There is no shortage of neologisms, including New Materialism.

What are some of the implications of this scholarly foment for writing histories of agriculture?

Before diving into this question, I should note that I can readily imagine some agricultural historians scratching—or perhaps shaking—their heads over this question. How can “agricultural history” be anything but materialist? In fact, a perusal of article titles from the first decade (1927–37) of Agricultural History finds authors addressing topics like cattle breeds, copper-based fungicides, grain elevators, grain drills, long-distance plant introductions, grasshopper plagues,...

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