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Tony Weis


  • Agriculture and Food Systems

  • Political Ecology



Associate Professor
Department of Geography, Western University

Tony Weis is an Associate Professor in Geography at Western University. He is the author of The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock (2013) and The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming (2007), and co-editor of Critical Perspectives on Food Sovereignty (2015) and  A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice (2014). His research is broadly located in the field of political ecology, with a focus on agriculture and food systems.

My research is broadly located in the fields of political ecology and critical agrarian studies, and draws upon philosophical perspectives on environmentalism and animal ethics.

Much of my research has tried to understand the political economic dynamics underlying how agricultural landscapes and livelihoods and agro-food systems are organized, and the explicit and implicit (environmental externalities) subsidies that brace the competitiveness of industrial production. Entwined with this is keen interest in various struggles to build more equitable and sustainable alternatives.

Initially, my empirical research occurred in the Caribbean, where I lived and worked for a total of roughly three years (Jamaica and Guyana). In Jamaica, I sought to understand the economic and environmental problems facing small farmers living in the country’s rugged interior, as well as prospects for change, with particular attention to land reform and farmer co-operatives. I approached this research in a way that was deeply grounded in work with small farmers in a particular place, while also considering wider temporal and spatial scales, including the country’s historical geography, its persistent social and landed inequalities, and the processes of structural adjustment and global market integration.

The focus on the broader political economic context of small farmer’s struggles led me towards my first book, The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming (2007), which took a transdisciplinary approach to analyzing the structural imbalances, social tensions, and ecological instabilities in the global system of agricultural production and trade; the historical development and institutional entrenchment of this system; and prospects for more socially just, ecologically rational and humane alternatives. I subsequently focused a lot of attention on what is often described as the ‘global food crisis’, which centers upon the volatility of world food markets and the uneven vulnerability to this. Here, my research has focused upon the biophysical dimensions of present and future food insecurity, especially with respect to the industrial grain-oilseed-livestock complex and what I have referred to as the ‘meatification of diets’, interests led me towards my second book, The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock (2013). The ecological hoofprint is a conceptual framework for understanding the phenomenal growth and industrialization of livestock production – which now commands a large share of the world’s arable land through its heavy pull on grain and oilseed supplies – and the momentous resource budgets and environmental burdens this entails. A core argument of the book is that this system is not only deeply unsustainable but constitutes a powerful vector of global inequality and a revolution in inter-species relations.

Authored Books

Weis, T. (2013) The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock. London: Zed Books.

co-published by: Macmillan (New York).

Weis, T. (2007) The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming. London: Zed Books

co-published and distributed by: Macmillan (New York); Fernwood (Halifax, NS); Books for Change (Bangalore, India); published in Polish by PAH and Res Publica.

Edited Books

Edelman, M., J.C. Scott, A. Baviskar, S.M. Borras Jr., E. Holt-Gimenez, D. Kandiyoti, T. Weis, and W. Wolford (2015) Critical Perspectives on Food Sovereignty. London and New York: Routledge.

Black, S. D’Arcy, T. Weis, and J.K. Russell (eds.). A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice. Toronto and New York: Between the Lines and PM Press.

Edited Journals

Weis, T. (2015) “Meatification and the madness of the doubling narrative.” Canadian Food Studies, 2(2), 296-303.

Ross, K. and T. Weis (2015) “Struggling to Compete: Liberalization and Belizean Banana Production.” Social and Economic Studies, 64(2), 1-27

Anand, S.A., C. Hawkes, R.J. de Souza, A. Mente, M. Dehghan, R. Nugent, M.A. Zulyniak, T. Weis, A.M. Bernstein, R. Krauss, D. Kromhout, D.J.A. Jenkins, V. Malik, M.A. Martinez-Gonzalez, D. Mozafarrian, S. Yusuf, W.C. Willett, B.M. Popkin (2015) “Food Consumption and its impact on Cardiovascular Disease: Importance of Solutions focused on the globalized food system.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 66(14), pp. 1590-1614

Edelman, M., T. Weis, A. Baviskar, S.M. Borras Jr., E. Holt-Gimenez, D. Kandiyoti, and W. Wolford (2014) “Introduction: Critical Perspectives on Food Sovereignty.”  Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(6), 911-31.

Weis, T.  (2013) “The Meat of the Food Crisis.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 40(1), 65-85.

Weis, T.  (2010) “The Ecological Hoofprint and the Population Bomb of Reverse Protein Factories.” Review, 33(2/3), 131-52.

Weis, T.  (2010) “The Accelerating Contradictions of Industrial Capitalist Agriculture.” Journal of Agrarian Change, 10(3), 315-341.

Hickey, C. and T. Weis (2009) “The Challenge of Climate Change Adaptation in Guyana.” Climate and Development 4(1), pp. 66-74.

Weis, T.  (2007) “Small Farming and Alternative Imaginations in the Caribbean Today.” Race and Class, 49(2), 112-117.

Weis, T.  (2007) “Agrarian Reform in Jamaica: The St Mary Rural Development Project.” Promotio Iustitiae, 94(1), 54-62.

Weis, T.  (2006) “The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Jamaican Peasantry.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 33(1), 61-88.

Weis, T.  (2005) “A Precarious Balance: Neoliberalism, Crisis Management, and the Social Implosion in Jamaica.” Capital and Class, 85, 115-47.

Weis, T.  (2004) “Restructuring and Redundancy: The Impact and Illogic of Neoliberal Agricultural Reforms in Jamaica.” Journal of Agrarian Change, 4(4), 461-91.

Weis, T.  (2004) “(Re-) Making the Case for Land Reform in Jamaica.” Social and Economic Studies, 53(1), 35-72.

Weis, T.  (2004) “To Raze or Renovate?: Developing Countries and the Struggle with the WTO.” Transition, 33, 119-42.

Weis, T. (2003) “Agrarian Decline and Breadbasket Dependence in the Caribbean: Confronting Illusions of Inevitability.” Labour, Capital, and Society, 36(2), 174-99.

Weis, T. (2003) “Confronting Neoliberalism in Southern Mexico: A Primer on the Zapatista Movement and its Contribution to Global Activism.” Transition, 32, 116-32.

Weis, T.  (2001) “Contradictions and Change in Jamaica: Theorizing Ecosocial Resistance Amidst Ecological Crisis.”  Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 12(2), 85-131.

Weis, T.  (2000) “Beyond Peasant Deforestation: Environment and Development in Rural Jamaica.” Global Environmental Change, 10(4), 299-305.

Weis, T.  (2000) “The Role and Limitations of Peasant Co-operatives in Rural Jamaica: The Case of the St. Mary Rural Development Project.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 21(3), 725-52.

Book Chapters

Weis, T.  (2016) “Industrial Livestock and the Ecological Hoofprint: Inequality, Degradation, and Violence.” The Routledge Handbook on Rural Studies. London: Routledge.

Weis, T. (2016) “The beatification of diets.” The Routledge Handbook on Food and Nutrition Security, London: Routledge.

Weis, T.  (2016) “A Political Ecology Approach to Industrial Food Production.” In: Koc, M., J. Sumner, and T. Winson (eds.): Critical Perspectives in Food Studies, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press (updated and revised from 2012).

Weis, T., T. Black, S. D’Arcy, and J. Kahn-Russell (2014) “Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands.” In: T. Black, T. Weis, S. D’Arcy, and J.K. Russell (eds.). A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice. Toronto and New York: Between the Lines and PM Press.

Weis, T.  (2012) “The Environmental Impacts of Intensive Livestock Operations in Canada.” What’s on Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture in Canada. Toronto: World Society for the Protection of Animals, pp. 111-32.

Weis, T.  (2012) “Biofuels.” In: Anheier, H.K., Juergensmeyer, M. and H.K. Anheier‏ (eds.): Encyclopedia of Global Studies. Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 118-21.

Weis, T.  (2010) “Breadbasket Contradictions: The Unstable Bounty of Industrial Agriculture in the United States and Canada.” In: Lawrence, G., K. Lyons, and T. Wallington (eds.): Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainability: New Challenges, Future Options. London: Earthscan, pp. 27-40.

Weis, T.  (2010) “Industrialized Agriculture.” In: Warf, B. (ed.): Encyclopedia of Geography. Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 43-47.

Weis, T.  (2010) “Land Reform.” In: Warf, B. (ed.): Encyclopedia of Geography. Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 1692-1696.

Weis, T.  (2009) “Fossil Energy and the Biophysical Roots of the Food Crisis.” In: Clapp, J. and M.J. Cohen (eds.): The World Food Crisis: Governance Challenges and Opportunities.  Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, pp. 145-60

Luginaah, I.N., T. Weis, S. Galaa, M.K. Nkrumah, R. Bezner-Kerr, D. Bagah (2009) “Environment, Migration, and Food Security in the Upper West Region of Ghana.” In: Luginaah, I.N. and E.K. Yanful (eds):  Environment and Health in Developing Countries: Managing an Emerging Crisis. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 25-38.

Weis, T. and A. Krajnc (2001) “Sustainable Development in Canada and the USA: The Implications, Actors and Responses.” In: Our Fragile World: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development. Paris: United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), pp. 2091-2130.

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