Research & Publications

My scholarship encompasses three interconnected lines of research:

1. Global political economy & critical geopolitics

I undertake long-term ethnographic research on Chinese investments in Brazilian agribusiness and infrastructure (now framed by the Belt and Road Initiative). More recently, I also research the economic geography of agrochemical production and trade, the internationalization of Chinese finance in Brazil, and the role of US institutional investors in Brazilian farmland.

2. Global political ecology

I’ve done extensive studies of the soy sector in Brazil, China and beyond, broader examination of the governance of farmland and biofuels around the world, and more recent investigations of agrochemical contamination, conflicts over surface water and aquifer irrigation systems, and both fluvial and deepwater port construction initiatives in Brazil.

3. Discourses on race and environment

I am working on historical studies of Chinese and Japanese migrations to Brazil from the early 1800s to the present, and the co-production of racial and environmental discourses about how these diasporas relate to gardens, rice paddies, cotton and coffee plantations, Amazonian timber extraction, soy farms, donkey ranching, and contemporary environmental initiatives.

Selected publications

Oliveira, G. de L. T., G. Murton, A. Rippa, T. Harlan, and Y. Yang. 2020. China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Views from the Ground. Political Geography. Forthcoming.

Oliveira, G. de L. T., C. He, and J. Ma. 2020. Global-local interactions in agrochemical industry: Relating trade regulations in Brazil to environmental and spatial restructuring in ChinaApplied Geograhpy 123: 102244

Oliveira, Gustavo de L.T., and Ben McKay. 2021. BRICS and Global Agrarian Transformations. in The Edward Elgar Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies, Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Kristina Dietz, Bettina Engels, and Ben McKay (eds.), Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. 2020. Soy, Domestication, and Colonialism. In The Routledge Handbook of Critical Resource Geography, Matthew Himley, Elizabeth Havice, and Gabriela Valdivia (eds.), London and New York: Routledge. Forthcoming.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. 2019a. Boosters, Brokers, Bureaucrats, and Businessmen: Assembling Chinese Capital with Brazilian Agribusiness. Territory, Politics, Governance  7(1): 22-41.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T., and Susanna B. Hecht (Eds.). 2018. Soy, Globalization, and Environmental Politics in South America. London and New York: Routledge.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. 2018a. Chinese Land Grabs in Brazil? Sinophobia and Foreign Investments in Brazilian Soybean AgribusinessGlobalizations 15(1): 114-133.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. 2018b. The Battle of the Beans: How direct Brazil-China soybean trade was stillborn in 2004Journal of Latin American Geography 17(2): 113-139.

Oliveira, G. de L. T. 2018c. A resistência à apropriação chinesa de terras no Brasil desde 2008: Lições e alternativas agroecológicas (The resistance to Chinese land grabs in Brazil since 2008: Lessons and agroecological alternatives). Revista Idéias 9(2): 99-132.

Goetz, A., T. Searchinger, T. Beringer, L. German, B. McKay, G. de L. T. Oliveira, and C. Hunsberger. 2018. Reply to commentary on the special issue Scaling up biofuels? A critical look at expectations, performance and governanceEnergy Policy 118: 658-665.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T., B. McKay, and C. Plank. 2017. How Biofuel Policies Backfire: Misguided Goals, Inefficient Mechanisms, and Political-Ecological Blind SpotsEnergy Policy 108: 765-775.

German, L., A. Goetz, T. Searchinger, J. Tomei, G. de L. T. Oliveira, and C. Hunsberger. 2017. Sine Qua Nons of sustainable biofuels: Distilling implications of under-performance for national biofuel programsEnergy Policy 108: 806-817.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T., and Susanna B. Hecht. 2016. Sacred Groves, Sacrifice Zones, and Soy Production: Globalization, Intensification and Neo Nature in South America. Introduction to special issue: Soy Production in South America: Globalization and New Agroindustrial Landscapes, Journal of Peasant Studies 43(2): 251-285.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. 2016a. The Geopolitics of Brazilian SoybeansJournal of Peasant Studies 43(2): 348-372.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. 2016b. Regularização Fundiária e a “Corrida Mundial por Terras” no Brasil (Land Regularization and the “Global Rush for Land” in Brazil). (An updated, translated, and revised version of an earlier publication in Development and Change). Revista Campo/Território11(23): 43-75.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T., and Mindi Schneider. 2016. The Politics of Flexing Soybeans: China, Brazil, and Global Agroindustrial RestructuringJournal of Peasant Studies 43(1): 167-194.

Oliveira, G. de L. T. 2013a. Land Regularization in Brazil and the Global Land GrabDevelopment and Change 44 (2): 261-283.

Oliveira, G. de L. T. 2013b. Land Regularization in Brazil and the Global Land Grab. In Governing Global Land Deals: The Role of the State in the Rush for Land, W. Wolford, S. M. Borras, Jr., R. Hall, I. Scoones and B. White (eds.), Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 71-92.

Eitzel, M., S. Diver, H. Sardiñas, L. Hallett, J. Olson, A. Romero, G. de L. T. Oliveira, A. Schuknecht, R. Tidmore and K. Suding. 2012. Insights from a Cross-Disciplinary Seminar: 10 Pivotal Papers for Ecological RestorationRestoration Ecology 20 (2): 147–152.

Oliveira, G. de L. T. 2010. Prescrições Agroecológicas para a Crise Atual (Agroecological Prescriptions for the Current Crisis)Revista NERA (the Journal of the Center for Studies of Agrarian Reform of the São Paulo State University) 13(16): 33-47.

Oliveira, G. de L. T. 2009. Uma Descrição Agroecológica da Crise Atual (An agroecological description of the current crisis)Revista NERA (the Journal of the Center for Studies of Agrarian Reform of the São Paulo State University) 12(15): 66-87.