Personal profile

Research interests

Saturnino ('Jun') M. Borras Jr. is Professor of Agrarian Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Peasant Studies for 15 years, until early 2023. He is a recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for his ongoing research project, "Commodity & land rushes: reshaping five spheres of global social life - food, climate change politics, labour/migration, state/citizenship, and geopolitics" in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He is also a Distinguished Professor at China Agricultural University, Beijing, and an associate at the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute (TNI). He was Canada Research Chair (T2) in International Development Studies at Saint Mary's University in Canada in 2007-2010.

His publications includes books, journal special issues, and articles. His Open Access books include Political Dynamics of Transnational Agrarian Movements (with Marc Edelman) and Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World (co-edited with Ian Scoones et al.). His latest monograph (co-authored with Jennifer C. Franco) is  Scholar-Activism and Land Struggles, published in 2023. He is currently co-editing (with Jennifer Franco) The Oxford Handbook of Land Politics.


His research interests include: land politics/land rush, (trans)national agrarian movements (TAMs); migrant farmworkers, climate change politics; food politics/food sovereignty; BRICS and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and global agrarian transformations. His geographic areas of research interest are: Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and South America. He also studies international institutional 'spaces' of state- society interactions, including the role of global governance institutions.

He works within the tradition of, and at the same time studies and writes about, scholar-activism. This has been influenced by his background: He has been deeply involved in rural social movements since the early 1980s in the Philippines, and later, internationally. He was a member of the international agrarian movement La Via Campesina's International Coordinating Committee (ICC) in 1993-1996. He has engaged, selectively, with international inter-governmental institutions on specific issues: a member of  UN FAO's High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, lead-author of a European Parliament-commissioned study on EU registered corporations engaged in international land deals, and took the lead in synthesizing the FAO studies in 17 countries of the global land rush as it unfolded in Latin America and the Caribbean, among others.

He is in the Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers List for six consecutive years, 2018-2023. He has received the Ester Boserup Prize for Research on Development (2020), the Interpreting and Changing the World Award: The COHD Prize (China Agricultural University, Beijing, 2023), and is a winner of the National Book Award 2009 in the Philippines. He is a co-editor of the ICAS small book series in critical agrarian studies, all of the available titles in it are now Open Access, co-coordinates the Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS), Land Deal Politics Initiatives (LDPI), Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiatives (ERPI), and BRICS Initiatves in Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS). He collaborates with the Collective of Agrarian Scholar-Activists in the South (CASAS) on a number of training initiatives, especially the Annual Writeshop in Critical Agrarian Studies and Scholar-Activism, and with the Transnational Institute (TNI) for its Activist Course for Activists (in Critical Agrarian Studies and Scholar-Activism).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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