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T H R E E Land Grant Universities, Agricultural Science, and UC Berkeley I N ADDITION TO THE BROAD issues discussed in the previous chapter, the histories of agricultural sciences generally and of UCB specifically have affected the way the UCB-N agreement was perceived and the effects that it has had. Most important are tensions between progressive and populist research orientations that have characterized the agricultural sciences since the beginning of the land grant university (LGU) system. This divide continues today, and is most clearly evident in the split between research on biotechnology and sustainable agriculture. Populism and progressivism, both born of nineteenth-century social and economic struggles, are deeply embedded in American politics and academic life. Populism has been manifested in both right- and left-wing versions of defending“the little guy”from large and powerful economic, political, and cultural interests, whether East Coast banking, midcontinental railroad interests, or West Coast tree huggers. Progressivism, by contrast, stresses the rational, scientific, and efficient management of everything from crime to natural resources, the public purse to productive technologies. While public and land grant universities have historically been given legitimacy by populist appeals to the public interest, the means by which that interest has been served over the last century have predominantly been progressive in character. This contradiction lies at the heart of many academic treatises (McConnell 1953; Hays 1959; Hightower 1973; Kloppenburg 1988) and of struggles such as that over the UC Berkeley–Novartis agreement. T H R E E 36 Berkeley has a long history of success in both progressive and populist research traditions. Researchers at UCB have contributed to the progressive modernization of agriculture. At the same time, some of the landmark populist studies on agriculture and labor, the impacts of agribusiness on rural communities, and the health and environmental impacts of pesticides have been produced by Berkeley faculty. Indeed, the College of Natural Resources (CNR) has long been known for its multiple, often conflicting, research orientations .However,some faculty and agricultural/environmental advocacy organizations perceive this balance between progressive and populist research to be disappearing at UCB. From their perspective, progressive forms of research, which, as represented by biotechnology, now raise large sums of money and garner considerable disciplinary prestige, are being promoted, while research on sustainable agriculture—with its dual commitment to environmental and social justice—is slowly being eliminated from UCB. Thus, for many, UCB-N was the progressive straw that broke the back of the populist camel in CNR. A key point here is that the UCB-N controversy was in many ways less about biotechnology and university-industry relations than it was a struggle over the mode—or modes—of academic creativity, autonomy, and diversity embedded in CNR. Additionally, many faculty concerned with or opposed to the agreement focused on the negotiation process, a process they saw suborning the deep and historical university- and campus-wide commitments to shared, open, and democratic faculty governance derived from the melding of populist and progressive commitments in Kerr’s multiversity.1 In this way, the divide between faculty engaged in conventional research and those engaged in research on alternative agriculture, including actors outside the university, has figured prominently in the response to the agreement itself and the interpretation of its implications. This chapter seeks to situate UCB-N and the ensuing controversy in the context of LGUs and agricultural science in the United States. The first section provides an overview of the establishment and development of LGUs. In the second section we discuss the long-standing tension in the agricultural sciences between progressive and populist research orientations. The third section outlines the establishment and growth of the agricultural sciences at UC. The fourth and final section discusses the shift from agriculture to natural resources at UCB, and the recent restructurings of CNR. THE LAND GRANT UNIVERSITIES The LGUs were established by the Morrill Act of 1862, which mandated that “at least one college” and “a minimum of forty acres of land” be set aside for L A N D G R A N T U N I V E R S I T I E S A N D U C B E R K E L E Y 37 the purpose by each state. Such universities were to combine the applied arts and sciences with public service to, and teaching for, the citizens of each state. LGUs would disseminate knowledge to the laboring classes, and the knowledge produced there would be verified...


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