Krisna Suryanata

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Associate Professor Krisna Suryanata received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award in the East Asia and Pacific Region for her work in the political ecology of agriculture and food. She will spend six months as a visiting professor at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, one of the premier universities in Indonesia.

At UGM, Suryanata will share her conceptual tools in teaching and researching geography of agriculture and food, such as framing investigations to follow a commodity chain; analyzing discursive practices on food production and consumption; and identifying critical research questions in contemporary rural Java.

Suryanata’s research examines the interplay of the global agro-food industry, growing consumer awareness and the ways farmers and growers navigate the demands that at times conflict with one another.

“Since coming to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, I have mostly focused on examining these questions in the context of Hawaiʻi’s changing agrarian landscape. The Fulbright award allows me to return to Indonesia and apply this analysis there. It has been more than 25 years since I did my last research in rural Java, and the changes affecting agriculture and food systems have accelerated,” said Suryanata. “I am excited to work alongside the faculty and students at UGM, who represent the most accomplished geography scholars in Indonesia.”

In the early 1990s, Suryanata studied land use change in the uplands of Java. This was a period of rapid economic development in Indonesia that had led to a growing middle class and its concomitant demand for fresh fruits. The favorable market had provided an incentive to upland farmers to practice fruit-based agroforestry, which in turn brought about ecological and social change. This work was published in a series of journal articles and book chapters on changing property relations that accompany a shift to tree-based farming.

More about Krisna Suryanata

Suryanata is an associate professor in the geography department in the College of Social Sciences. She is the 2013 recipient of the UH Mānoa Peter V. Garrod Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award and the College of Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

Suryanata is the co-editor of the book Food and Power in Hawaiʻi, Visions of Food Democracy and several journal articles and book chapters on Hawaiʻi‘s changing agriculture. She views diverse agro-food initiatives in Hawaiʻi as political-cultural expressions to build unique and creative spaces of engagement in the face of structural challenges imposed by the global agro-food system.