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James C. Scott, Farmer and Scholar of Anarchism

Anarchist Movement

DURHAM, Conn. — The Yale political scientist James C. Scott may share his 46-acre farm in this picturesque hamlet with a flock of laying hens, a pair of Highland cattle and an active honeybee colony. But don’t mistake him for your typical Connecticut country squire. For Mr. Scott, the farm, about 20 miles northeast of New Haven, is both a place to blow off steam and an embodiment of the kind of hands-on, ground-up, local knowledge that he has championed during a career spanning five decades and a string of highly influential and idiosyncratic books.

James C. Scott, Farmer and Scholar of Anarchism

By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER
New York Times
December 4, 2012

DURHAM, Conn. — The Yale political scientist James C. Scott may share his 46-acre farm in this picturesque hamlet with a flock of laying hens, a pair of Highland cattle and an active honeybee colony. But don’t mistake him for your typical Connecticut country squire.

For Mr. Scott, the farm, about 20 miles northeast of New Haven, is both a place to blow off steam and an embodiment of the kind of hands-on, ground-up, local knowledge that he has championed during a career spanning five decades and a string of highly influential and idiosyncratic books.

“I’m as proud of knowing how to shear a sheep as I am of anything,” Mr. Scott, who turned 76 on Sunday, said during a recent interview in the living room of his rustic 1826 farmhouse, seated across from a pair of rocking chairs draped with skins of home-butchered Montadales. “I’ve been a better scholar partly because I’ve had this other activity.”

Mr. Scott’s professional accomplishments are certainly considerable, even if the biographical note in his new book, “Two Cheers for Anarchism,” cites his status as a “mediocre” beekeeper alongside his membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the official founder of Yale’s agrarian studies program, as well as an unofficial founder of the field of “resistance studies,” in which his book “Weapons of the Weak” (1985), a study of peasant resistance based on fieldwork in a Malaysian village, is a kind of Bible.

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