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Pineda, Harvesting Innovation

Dr. Yovanna Pineda will be on sabbatical during the 2016-2017 academic year to work on her second book project, Harvesting Innovation: Agricultural Science, Technology, and Memory in Argentina, 1860-1990 and on a documentary film, “The Cradle of the Harvester.” A primary aim of the second book is to challenge the perception that developing regions tend to trail behind more developed areas and are persistently dependent on foreign technologies. Beginning with the nineteenth century, it examines how Argentine farmers and blacksmiths improved their local technological competencies by tinkering with transferred farm technologies from the United Kingdom and the United States, but by the early twentieth century, they began to invent their own farm machinery and methods. By micro-analyzing invention patents, family-owned factories, and collecting oral histories of the men and women involved in creating and working domestic farm machinery, she shows that Argentine inventors and manufacturers took users into account when innovating on mechanical designs and methods. Ultimately, they developed farm machinery as technically advanced as those in developed nations and unique because of a focus on levity, ruggednes for all-year outdoor exposure, and simple designs that permitted nearly anyone with minimal training to operate machinery. They eventually created heavy machinery that easily adapted to farm fields well beyond the Pampas, including Brazil, Venezuela, and former Soviet bloc nations. The documentary film follows the stories of the men and women involved in the struggle to keep the family-owned factories open by developing innovative strategies to counter the economic crises from 1960 to today. The book and documentary film analyze and record this little known history about Argentine inventions of farm machinery and their global impact in the twentieth century.