History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences


Larry Carney

I came to RISD in 1996, after working as Assistant Editor of the Journal of Economic History, then housed at Brown University.  Since that time, I have taught various courses, among them: "Politics of Globalization", "Capitalism, Ecology, and EcoCommunitarian Alternatives", "Who Will Feed the World: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty, Food Justice, and Sustainable Agriculture", "Models of Development in the Global South:  Globalization, Aid, Technology, and the Grassroots", "The Consumer Society", "Politics and Social Movements in Latin America", "The Power of Whiteness", and "Anarchism and Utopia."

In the 1960s my emerging interest in development issues, especially in Latin America, led me to enroll in the Faculty of Sociology (later the School of Social Sciences) at the National University of  Colombia in Bogota Colombia.  The Faculty of Sociology was established by Orlando Fals Borda and Father Camilo Torres Restrepo as the first autonomous school of sociology in Latin America.  The curriculum there was multi-disciplinary, drawing on the fields of sociology, anthropology, and political economy. There was a strong emphasis in the curriculum on issues of rural development, a field that has maintained my interest to this day.  Later I worked on a regional development survey of the department (state) of Atlantico in Colombia.  I then pursued graduate studies at Washington University and The Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research.  I later collaborated with Charlotte O'Kelly on a range of studies on gender relations, much of it focused on Japan and the relations between gender and economic development.  I was honored to receive in 2008 the RISD award for Extraordinary Accomplishment in Fostering a Multicultural and Inclusive Community.

Academic research/ areas of interest

Political Economy


Race and Racism

Gender and Development


Latin American Studies

I am currently engaged in research on what has classically been known as the “Agrarian Question”:  the capitalist transformation of the countryside, particularly as it currently relates to the peasantry, agrarian political and social movements, and the prospects for progressive resolutions of what has been called the “town [city]/country divide.”  This has involved travels in recent years to Chiapas (Mexico), Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Costa Rica, the Basque Country of Spain and France, northern Italy, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and South Korea, and—earlier— Japan,, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, and Nicaragua.