Madeleine Fairbairn

Credentials: Mozambique

2010 SKJ Fellow

Madeleine Fairbairn is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology with a focus on agrofood systems and international development. Before coming to UW-Madison she received a B.S. from Cornell University with a dual major in Development Sociology and Natural Resource Management. Her master’s thesis examined the emerging concept of “food sovereignty” as a collective action frame conditioned by the current political-economic climate and dominant “food regime.” Most recently Madeleine has begun dissertation research on the wave of large-scale foreign farmland acquisitions which has swept through developing countries since the global food crisis of 2007-2008. These acquisitions, whether driven by fears about food scarcity or pure speculation on the part of investors, have raised concerns in the media and the development community, as they often entail the displacement of local populations and may pose a threat to host country food security. With support from the Scott Kloeck-Jenson grant, Madeleine will conduct preliminary dissertation research on foreign farmland acquisitions in Mozambique. Through interviews with government officials and other informed actors, she will examine how the Mozambican government works to balance the need to attract foreign investment in agriculture with the rights of local populations.

Read on about Madeleine’s fellowship experience here.