James J. Lang Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0249

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection, measuring .66 linear feet, contains three series of field notes:

Series I, housed in 12 acid-free file folders, relates to Notes of a Potato Watcher, covers potato crops, viruses that effect the potato, research into ways to prevent the viruses, genetic engineering of the potato, production, pests, and breeders. File folders follow the format from the table of contents. Note: An abstract written by Professor Lang is included with the finding aid.

Series II, housed in six acid-free file folders, relates to Inside Development in Latin America, covers the principle problems in each country, outlining some programs that may improve conditions in education, health care, and agriculture. File folders are in alphabetical order. The following field notes are included in the collection:

Series III contains two bound volumes of field notes Chapter One: Asia- Feeding a Hungry Planet, and Chapter Two: Brazil-Feeding a Hungry Planet.

Dates

  • 1981 - 1998

Language of Materials

English

Biography/History

James J. Lang received his B.A. degree from Canisius College in 1966. His doctoral work in sociology and demography was completed at the University of Michigan. He served as a Vista Volunteer at Southside Settlement House in Columbus, Ohio and worked as a Project Director for Crossroads Africa in Gambia, West Africa.

Professor Lang held a position in Sociology and Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University from 1974 to 2008. His research and field work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Potato Center, and Vanderbilt’s Faculty Research Council.

Between 1988 and 1998, he visited nine countries for his book Notes of a Potato Watcher, College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2001. The field notes are from the following countries: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya and Uganda, India, and Indonesia.

Between 1981 and 1984, he visited thirty-four development projects in six countries: Costa Rica, Brazil, The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Paraguay, and Argentina. The field notes from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Colombia provided the raw materials for Inside Development in Latin America, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. These materials were received in Special Collections in 2002.

In 1989 Professor Lang took a trip to Brazil, and in 1990 to Asia to meet with people from the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute). Topics discussed include research testing of rice, salt and iron tolerance in rice, weed control, and production. His field notes are contained in two bound volumes titled, Feeding a Hungry Planet.



Professor Lang provided a biographical sketch and a bibliography, which is included below.

Biographical Sketch from Lang and Bibliography

Dr. James Lang grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he received his B.A. degree from Canisius College in 1966. As a college student, he spent his summers as a steel worker at the Bethlehem rolling mill in Lackawanna, New York. He did his doctoral work in sociology and demography at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. At Michigan, Dr. Lang was a founding member of the first Residential College. Before completing his graduate studies, he served as a Vista Volunteer at Southside Settlement House in Columbus, Ohio. He also spent a summer as a Project Director for Crossroads Africa in the Gambia, West Africa. As an advanced degree candidate, Lang held a Danforth-Kent Doctoral Fellowship.

From 1974 to 2008, Dr. Lang held a position in Sociology and Latin American Studies. His research and field work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Potato Center, and Vanderbilt’s Faculty Research Council.

Dr. Land participated in Vanderbilt’s Faculty-in-Residence Program and is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Cup for service to Vanderbilt students. He is fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish and is a past Director of Vanderbilt’s residential language program at Vanderbilt’s McTyeire International House.

Dr. Lang’s published work has focused on comparative history and development. Conquest and Commerce: Spain and England in the Americas (New York: Academic Press, 1975) compares the colonial regimes that Spain and England established in the New World. Portuguese Brazil: The King’s Plantation (New York: Academic Press, 1979) examines how the formation of an export-dominated economy shaped Brazil’s development. Inside Development in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988) looks at how community-focused, self-help projects are organized; examples come from the Dominican Republic, Columbia, and Brazil. Feeding a Hungry Planet (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996) is about how grassroots technology transformed rice production in Asia and Latin America. Notes of a Potato Watcher (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2001) describes Andean agriculture, explains how potatoes became a staple crop throughout the world, and analyzes potato production projects in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Extent

1.26 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives
Title
Finding Aid for the James J. Lang Papers
Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

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