Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Chair

Department of Anthropology

University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

University of Pennsylvania

Teaching: Courses

This book is based on results from the Vijayanagara Metropolitan Survey (VMS), a project designed to investigate the regional dynamics of the hinterland of Vijayanagara, capital of the eponymous empire which claimed control over much of southern India between the fourteenth and sixteenth century AD.  Fields of Victory: Vijayanagara and the Course of Intensification, published in 1995 and reprinted in 2000, comes out of this project and addresses the specific problem of agricultural intensification.  I argue here and in several other publications that it is most useful to view intensification as a process that is itself variable, incorporating more specific strategies of production including specialization, diversification, and intensification proper.  More than this, I also suggest that it is important to examine the course of  intensification and its potentially variable trajectories of change.  More recently, I have begun to examine how this strategic variability may be structured by historically contingent economic and social as well as ecological conditions, focusing more closely on issues of power relations in agrarian change.  Nevertheless, I do not see this contingency as precluding the development of general, processual understandings.