Professor Emeritus, Department of Global Development
Philip McMichael is a Professor Emeritus of Global Development, formerly of the Department of Development Sociology, which he chaired in 1999-2005, and in 2014-15. He is a Faculty Fellow in Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and was formerly Director of the International Political Economy Program in the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies for two terms in the 1990s. From 2003-06 he served on the Faculty Board of Cornell University Press. Internationally, he served in 2003-04 on a Scientific Advisory Council in the Food and Nutrition Division of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); in 2004 he chaired an External Review Committee of the University of Queensland’s School of Social Sciences; and in 2006 he was Senior Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford.
Philip has annually taught International Development at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, he has taught seminars in Sociological Theories of Development, State, Economy & Society, Food and Agrarian Change, and Sociology of Global Development (historical methods). His pedagogy includes dialogical lectures complemented with various discussion strategies stimulated by Canvas instructions for undergraduate Sections, and weekly written exercises for graduate students.
Trained as a historical sociologist, Philip’s research focuses on questions of development and social change, and agri-food structuring and restructuring of the modern world, from international political economy and political ecology perspectives. His popular textbook, Development & Social Change: A Global Perspective (Sage), deploys what he calls ‘development’ and ‘globalization projects’ and a potential ‘sustainability project’ to frame world ordering and reordering. And his award-winning Settlers and the Agrarian Question (Cambridge) informed subsequent food regime analysis: of successive international food orders, centered on 19th century Britain, mid-20th century United States, and the corporate-financial world of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Current research includes examining China’s increasingly consequential role in food regime transformation; and political contention between ‘food from nowhere’ and ‘food from somewhere’ in context of global food security, pandemic and climate crises.
Outreach and Extension Focus
From 2010-13, Philip served on the Advisory Board of Groundswell Ithaca, which is dedicated to assisting new farmers. From 2011-17, Philip was co-PI of ‘Food Dignity,’ an action-research USDA-AFRI Grant on community food security in Tompkins County and three other counties, which spawned a campus-wide minor in Community Food Systems, with coursework and internships. He also offered a decade-long short course, Building Bridges, preparing for Cornell student service engagement with Nicaraguan communities over Spring Break. Other outreach has included consulting with the International Planning Council for Food Sovereignty (IPC), and working in the UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with its Civil Society Mechanism -- focusing on land rights, and working on a Technical Support Team regarding programmatic guidelines for Responsible Agricultural Investment in Developing Countries. Philip also prepared a 35,000-word document for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD): “Global food crisis: causes and prospects for policy alternatives,” regarding its Flagship Report: Combating Poverty and Inequality (2006-10).
- 2013: Selection of 2009 article on “Food Regime Genealogy” as one of ‘40 Classics in Peasant Studies,’ for the highly-ranked Journal of Peasant Studies’ 40th Anniversary.
- 1998-2002: President of RC-40 (Sociology of Agriculture and Food Research Committee), International Sociological Association.
- 1995-1996: Chair, Political Economy of the World-System Section of the American Sociological Association.
- 1985: The Social Science History Association's annual Allan Sharlin Memorial Book Award, for Settlers and the Agrarian Question (Cambridge, 1984).
- Philip McMichael, Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective, with Heloise Weber. Sage, 2021, 7th edition.
- Hilde Bjørkhaug, Philip McMichael and Bruce Muirhead Finance or Food? The role of cultures, values & ethics in land use negotiations. University of Toronto Press, 2020.
- Philip McMichael, Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective. Sage, 2016, 6th ed. (Translations: Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Farsi).
- Philip McMichael, Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions. Fernwood Press, 2013. (Translations: Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Thai, Bahasa, Japanese).
- Philip McMichael, ed., Contesting Development. Critical Struggles for Social Change. Routledge, 2010.
- Philip McMichael, Settlers and the Agrarian Question: Foundations of Capitalism in Colonial Australia. Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Articles and Chapters (select)
Philip McMichael. 2023. “Updating Karl Polanyi’s ‘Double Movement’ for Critical Agrarian Studies.” The Journal of Peasant Studies.
Philip McMichael. 2023. “Critical Agrarian Studies and Crises of the World-Historical Present,” The Journal of Peasant Studies. 50 (2): 725-757.
Philip McMichael. 2022. “Frontiers of commodification and historical capitalism,” Commodity Frontiers, 4: 57-67.
Philip McMichael. 2023. “Frontiers of commodification and historical capitalism,” Journal of Commodity Frontiers.
Philip McMichael. 2023. “Critical agrarian studies and crises of the world-historical present.” The Journal of Peasant Studies.
Philip McMichael. 2022. “Land in the Food Regime.” In The Oxford Handbook of Land Politics, eds, Saturnino M. Borras, Jr., and Jennifer Franco. (Oxford University Press).
Philip McMichael. 2022. “Global land grabs, food and power,” in Handbook of Property, Law and Society, eds., Nicole Graham, Margaret Davies & Lee Godden, pp. 252-263. (Routledge).
Philip McMichael. 2021. “Reformulating settler/modernist farming’s entropy on a globally contentious scale,” in Hugh Campbell’s Farming inside Invisible Worlds: Modernist Agriculture and its Consequences Symposium. Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, 102 (4).
- Philip McMichael, Shock and Awe in the UNFSS, Development, 2021.
- Philip McMichael, "UN Food Systems Summit 2021: Dismantling Democracy and Resetting Corporate Control of Food Systems," with Matthew Canfield and Molly Anderson, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 2021.
- Philip McMichael, “Does China’s ‘going out’ strategy prefigure a new food regime?” The Journal of Peasant Studies, 47(1), 2020.
- Philip McMichael, “Food Regimes,” in Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies, ed, Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Edward Elgar, 2020.
- Philip McMichael, “Political-economy of the global food and agriculture system,” in Rethinking Food and Agriculture: New Ways Forward, eds, Amir & Laila Kassam. Elsevier, 2020.
- Philip McMichael, “Land grab governance and the crisis of market rule.” In Property Rights from Below, Commodification of Land and the Countermovement, eds, Balakrishnan Rajagopal and Olivier De Schutter. Routledge, 2020.
- Philip McMichael, “L'analisi dei food regimes.” ‘Agricolture e cibo’ MERIDIANA. Rivista di storia e scienze sociali, 93, 2019.
- Philip McMichael, “Towards an ecology of development,” in Handbook on International Development and Social Change, eds, Ronaldo Munck & Honor Fagan, Edward Elgar, 2018.
- Phil McMichael, Seminar on Food Regime Transitions at the University of London Institute In Paris, January 13, 2023.
- Philip McMichael, “Global food regimes and China,” International Webinar, co-organized by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Journal of Peasant Studies, April, 2021.
- Philip McMichael, “Reflections on food regime analysis.” Keynote for 25th Anniversary Conference of the Australian & New Zealand Agri-Food Research Network, University of Queensland, Brisbane, December, 2018.
- Philip McMichael, “Global Governance and the Committee on World Food Security,” Global Governance Colloquium, Institute for Social Studies, The Hague, February, 2016.
- Philip McMichael, “Food regimes and the agrarian question,” Critical Development Studies Conference, University of Zacatecas, Mexico, August, 2015.
- Philip McMichael, “The question of food security,” Plenary presentation to European Society for Rural Sociology, Aberdeen, Scotland, August, 2015.
- Philip McMichael, “Rethinking the Agrarian Question through the Lens of the Food Regime," Seminar Series: Critical Issues in Agrarian and Development Studies, College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University (CAU), Beijing, June, 2013.
- Ph.D., Sociology SUNY-Binghamton, 1979
- M.A., Sociology, SUNY-Binghamton, 1975
- B.A. (First Class Honors), Political Science, University of Adelaide, 1972
- B.Ec., Economics, University of Adelaide, 1969
DSOC 2050: International Development
DSOC 6060: Sociological Theories of Development
DSOC 6250: State, Economy & Society
DSOC 7300: Sociology of Global Change
DSOC 7500: Sociology of Food, Ecology and Agrarian Change
251 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
pdm1 [at] cornell.edu
Philip in the news
Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean, recognized 41 faculty and staff members for their remarkable accomplishments at the 2021 CALS Research, Extension and Core Value Staff Awards ceremony.
- Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station
- Institute for Food Safety
- Department of Communication
Melanie Stansbury , M.S. ’07 arrived at Cornell in 2006 searching for new tools and knowledge to make a difference in her hometown community in Albuquerque. Backed by new insights into the theory and practice of community sociology, she returned...
- Department of Global Development
- Global Development