Africa’s Gene Revolution: Genetically Modified Crops and the Future of African Agriculture

By Matthew A. Schnurr
McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019

This book surveys twenty years of efforts to use genomics-based breeding to enhance yields and livelihoods for African farmers. Matthew Schnurr considers the full range of biotechnologies currently in commercial use and those in development - including hybrids, marker-assisted breeding, tissue culture, and genetic engineering. Drawing on interviews with biotechnology experts alongside research conducted with more than two hundred farmers across eastern, western, and southern Africa, Schnurr reveals a profound incongruity between the optimistic rhetoric that accompanies genetic modification technology and the realities of the smallholder farmers who are its intended beneficiaries. Through the lens of political ecology, this book demonstrates that the current emphasis on improved seeds discounts the geographic, social, ecological, and economic contexts in which the producers of these crops operate.  Shortlisted for the Fage & Oliver Prize 2020! See reviews in Global Environmental PoliticsThe AAG Review of Books,The Journal of Modern African Studies, & the Canadian Journal of Development Studies


Simulations and Student Learning

Edited by Matthew A. Schnurr and Anna MacLeod
University of Toronto Press, 2021

Simulations and Student Learning is the first piece of scholarship that brings together experts from the social, natural, and health sciences in order to open up new opportunities for learning about different strategies, methods, and practices of immersive learning. This collection advances current scholarly thinking by integrating insights from across a range of disciplines on how to effectively design, execute, and evaluate simulations, leading to a deeper understanding of how SBE can be used to cultivate skills and capabilities that students need to achieve success after graduation. See review on PAXsims


Africa’s Green Revolution: Critical Perspectives on New Agricultural Technologies and Systems

Edited by William G. Moseley, Matthew A. Schnurr and Rachel Bezner-Kerr
Routledge, 2016

This book is based on a special issue of African Geographical Review. This volume examines the dominant neoliberal agenda for agricultural development and hunger alleviation in Africa. The text reviews the history of African agricultural and food security policy in the post-colonial period, across a range of geographical contexts, in order to contextualise the productionist approach embedded in the much heralded New Green Revolution for Africa. This strategy, supported by a range of international agencies, promotes the use of hybrid seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides to boost crop production. This approach is underpinned by a new and unprecedented level of public–private partnerships as donors actively work to promote the private sector and build links between African farmers, input suppliers, agro-dealers, agro-processors, and retailers. On the consumer end, increased supermarket penetration into poorer neighbourhoods is proffered as a solution to urban food insecurity. See review in the Journal of Political Ecology

book 3

Natural Resources and Social Conflict: Towards Critical Environmental Security

Edited by Matthew A. Schnurr and Larry A. Swatuk
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

 This volume challenges prevailing claims about environmental security by reorienting our understanding of the relationship between natural resources and political violence towards one focused on environmental insecurity. This issue of how security reflects broader patterns of political struggle and social control are underscored through empirically grounded, context-specific case studies. See review in the Political Studies Review