Reconnecting Lives to the Land: An Agenda for Critical Dialogue
Allison Hayes-Conroy

About the Author:
Allison Hayes-Conroy is a candidate for a PhD in Geography at Clark University. She completed a BA (summa cum laude) in the Growth and Structures of Cities from Bryn Mawr College, and an MA in Geography from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, focusing on agriculture and cultural studies. As a geographer her work continues her commitment to alternative food systems and social activism in examining non-dualistic theories of the body as they relate to food choice and the politics of everyday life. She wrote South Jersey under the Stars: Essays of Culture, Agriculture, and Place (FDUP, 2005).

Do prevailing social discourses hinder human connectedness to the land? And, if so, are there ways in which agriculture can guide us to better ways of thinking and living? This book seeks to answer such questions via a focus on dialogue, specifically on one researcher’s attempts to develop dialogue as a tool for social and cultural change. Throughout the work, dialogue is intentionally focused by means of a metaphorical and literal engagement with agriculture. The book uses agriculture to question whether conventional progress and development, which claims much material success, may be alienating humans from their own ecology and failing in social, psychological, and spiritual ways. It proposes that researchers use agriculture as a framework for discussion, debate, and dialogue on issues of environmental, economic, and cultural significance. The dialogue on agriculture that the book advances also questions whether current discourses within the “environmental community” are bound to exclusive ideologies and are thus flawed as means of all-inclusive dialogue.

The book is accessible to the general public as well as the academic. It was developed to be of particular interest to both the fields of geography and planning, but is also relevant to cultural studies, environmental studies, and spiritual ecology.

Advance praise:
“Written in the community activist tradition and animated with the pragmatic spirit of effecting eco-social change in the here and now, Hayes-Conroy’s book offers a critically engaged approach to agricultural geography and agro-ecology by developing an agriculturally based critical pedagogy centered around the concept of community dialogue.” –Peter McLaren, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

ISBN 978-0-8386-4130-9

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