Peasants in World History analyzes the multiple transformations of peasant life through history by focusing on three primary areas: the organization of peasant societies, their integration within wider societal structures, and the changing connections between local, regional and global processes.
Peasants have been a vital component in human history over the last 10,000 years, with nearly one-third of the world’s population still living a peasant lifestyle today. Their role as rural producers of ever-new surpluses instigated complex and often-opposing processes of social and spatial change throughout the world. Eric Vanhaute frames this social change in a story of evolving peasant frontiers. These frontiers provide a global comparative-historical lens to look at the social, economic and ecological changes within village-systems, agrarian empires and global capitalism. Bringing the story of the peasantry up through the modern period and looking to the future, the author offers a succinct overview with students in mind.