Social & Political Sciences

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Prof.dr. (jun) S.m. Borras

Social Studies
Erasmus University Rotterdam


He is an Adjunct Professor in China Agricultural University, Beijing, a Fellow of the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Institute for Development and Food Policy/Food First. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Journal of Agrarian Change, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, and Alternatives Sud. He is series (co-)editor of: (a) Routledge-ISS Book Series on Rural Livelihoods, and (b) ICAS Book Series in 'Agrarian Change and Peasant Studies' the English edition of which is published by Fernwood and Practical Action (available in 9 non-English language editions). He has authored/(co-)edited books and journal special issues and articles. His thematic area of work is on agrarian politics, specifically: land politics and policies, (trans)national agrarian movements, food politics, forestry, state-society interactions in rural development, rural conflict, biofuels, 'flex crops', land grabbing and food sovereignty. Geographic areas of research interest: Southeast Asia, China, Southern Africa, and Southern America. He also studies international institutional 'spaces' of state- society interactions. The emphasis of his work is on bridging academic research, policy practice and social movement activism. This has been influenced by his professional background: He has been deeply involved in rural social movements since the early 1980s in the Philippines, and later, internationally. He was part of the core organizing team that established the international peasant and farmer's movement La Via Campesina. He has helped establish a global network of academics and social movement activists, the Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS,, helps coordinate its work (, and in setting up the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) (, a global network of researchers studying land grabbing. He has helped in establishing a network of scholars and activists working on the theme of the rise of the BRICS countries and middle income countries (MICs) and its implications for global agrarian transformations, the "BRICS Initiatives for Critical Agrarian Studies" or BICAS ( Among his current research initiatives is the research project entitled, "Climate change mitigation policies, land grabbing and conflict in fragile states: understanding intersections, exploring transformations in Myanmar and Cambodia" (2014-2018, The project is funded by the Dutch NWO. He has an ongoing research on the politics of boom crops inside China and in Southeast Asia (and the links between these), together with a team from China Agricultural University and the Burma team of the Transnational Institute (TNI). He has taught at the graduate level in the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, China, Switzerland, Portugal and Finland on politics of agrarian transformation. He is currently (co-)supervising several PhD students in the ISS, as well as in others universities in Canada, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, China and Canada, and works with a number of post-doctoral fellows. At ISS, he currently (co-)supervises PhD students: Daniela Andrade, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Nguyet Dang Bao, Natacha Bruna, Cecile Fameree, Adwoa Yeboah Gyapong, Eric Gutierrez, Corinne Lamain, Yukari Sekine, SiuSue Mark, Elyse Mills, Ben McKay, Clara Park, Martha Robbins, Christina Schiavoni, Anne Siebert, Ratha Thuon, Salena Tramel, Sara Vigil & Yunan Xu. He currently works with visiting professors/post-doctoral fellows: Dr. Tsegaye Moreda, Dr. Li Hua, Dr. Courtney Work and Dr. Liu Juan. He is currently completing a book on food sovereignty with Zoe Brent, Martha Robbins & Christina Schiavoni, and a small book on "scholar-activism."

Research Interest

Social Studies


  • I. Scoones, M. Edelman, S.M. Borras, R. Hall, W. Wolford & B. White (2017). Emancipatory rural politics confronting authoritarian populism. Journal of Peasant Studies. doi:[go to publisher's site]

  • C. Hunsberger, E. Corbera, S.M. Borras, J.C. Franco, K. Woods, C. Work, R. De la Rosa, V. Eang, R. Herre, S.S. Kham, C.M. Park, S. Sokheng, M. Spoor, T. Shwe, K. Thu Aung, R. Thuon & C. Vaddhanaphuti (2017). Climate change mitigation, land grabbing and conflict: towards a landscape-based and collaborative action research agenda. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 38 (3), 305-324. doi:

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