During the winter break, I had the incredible opportunity to present research at the 136th annual conference of the American Historical Association in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Along side nine other burgeoning undergraduate scholars, I presented “Rice is the Price: American Agriculturalists as Counterinsurgents in South Vietnam, 1964-73” in a lightning round style panel on the Vietnam War and the Global 70s. Being the only scholar – among only a handful of others in the entire conference – focusing on agricultural history, I had the unique opportunity to introduce others to its infinite wonders (for my fellow graduate students, I didn’t introduce myself as “Corn King”). For those interested in reading a short synopsis of my research, I have included the abstract below.
The annual conference of the AHA is the largest gathering of professional historians in the United States which meant that networking was abundant. Through attending receptions, panels,and the occasional elevator ride, I was able to connect with a wide range of scholars inside and outside my direct fields of interest. The important inclusion of sponsored panels by the Agricultural History Society at this conference were at the top of my priority list. The second three person panel – consisting of Dr.Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, Dr. Cory Haala, and Dr. Terrell Orr– titled “Crisis in Agriculture: Conflict, Activism, and Globalization in Farm Politics since the 1980s” provided an incredible wealth of knowledge toward my own academic interests,specifically dealing with political ideological manifestations among rural populations during times of economic exacerbation. Having the ability to make these vital connections and share the preliminary findings of my own research is an opportunity that I am extremely thankful for.
I look forward to continuing the conversation and sharing my passion for agriculture, rural life,and Midwestern hijinks with these scholars and many more in the years to come.I would like to thank Dr. Challú and Dr. Stark for their guidance and wisdom during the conference, they are both prolific historians and educators. This Department is extremely fortunate to have them. Additionally, a giant thank you to BGSU’s Department of History, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship(CURS) for supporting my scholarship. Without their assistance, none of this would have been possible. The reach of Bowling Green State University stretches far and wide, whether from passing comments about visiting the Center for Archival Research or from panel presentations with now Emeritus Faculty. After my time spent in Philadelphia, I am renewed in our university’s mission of: Belong. Stand Out. Go Far.
Presentation Information Title: Rice is the Price: American Agriculturalists as Counterinsurgents in South Vietnam, 1964-73
Abstract: In 1964, Dr. Bernard B. Fall wrote in the New York Times that, “A grain of rice is worth a drop of blood.” His conclusion: fed communists would be easier to deal with, geopolitically, than“lean revolutionaries in China and North Vietnam.” During the Vietnam War, the United States implemented a similar line of thinking; the modernization of South Vietnam’s agricultural industry would lead to effective counterinsurgency measures among the rural population. This research examines how America’s mechanized and industrialized form of agriculture was both too complex and too expensive for South Vietnam’s farmers to maintain without continued American aid.