Gustavo de L. T. Oliveira

PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2017

MA, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2009

BA, New College of Florida 2006.


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I am currently Assistant Professor of International Studies at the University of California, Irvine

From August 2018 to July 2019, I am also Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography at Peking University.

From August 2017 to July 2018 I was CFD Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Swarthmore College.


My scholarship encompasses three interconnected lines of research. 

1. The political ecology of transnational agribusiness and infrastructure, focusing on Chinese investments in Brazilian agribusiness and infrastructure for South American integration.

2. Environmental governance of farmland and biofuels, particularly as transformed by new financial instruments for transnational investments by Chinese companies and US pension funds in Brazil.

3. The co-production of racial and environmental discourses about East Asian diasporas in Latin America, and its implications for contemporary migration and economic cooperation. 




My dissertation focused on Chinese investments in Brazilian agribusiness and related infrastructure, but my interests extend to the political ecology of agroindustrialization, the geopolitics of the BRICS, hegemony, and class formation. I have also researched the transnational soybean sector, and the political ecology of land governance and biofuels in Brazil and beyond. I am a secretariat member of the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies, and guest editor with Susanna Hecht of a special issue on “Soy Production in South America” in the Journal of Peasant Studies, republished as the edited volume Soy, Globalization, and Environmental Politics in South America (Routledge 2018).


Selected Publications:

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. Forthcoming. The Battle of the Beans: How direct Brazil-China soybean trade was stillborn in 2004Journal of Latin American Geography.

Oliveira, Gustavo de L. T. In Press. Boosters, Brokers, Bureaucrats, and Businessmen: Assembling Chinese Capital with Brazilian AgribusinessTerritory, Politics, Governance.

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

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. 2018. Chinese Land Grabs in Brazil? Sinophobia and Foreign Investments in Brazilian Soybean Agribusiness. 

Globalizations 15(1): 114-133.

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, Gustavo de L. T. 2015. Chinese and Other Foreign Investments in the Brazilian Soybean Complex. Working Paper n. 9, BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies. 

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.


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Courses taught at Swarthmore:

ENVS 32 / SOAN 60 C: China, Brazil, and the Global Food Environment (Visiting Assistant Professor, Fall 2017)

ENVS 091: Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar: Political Ecology (Visitng Assistant Professor, Spring 2018)


Courses taught at UC Berkeley:

Geography 138: Global Political Ecology (Lead Instructor, Summer 2016)

Geography 130: Food and the Environment (GSI Spring 2013 & Spring 2016)

Geography 10: Worldings: Peoples, Regions, and States (GSI Fall 2013)

Development Studies 100: History of Development and Underdevelopment (GSI Spring 2017)


Course taught at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (China):

Advanced Social Science Seminar: Food, Development, and the Environment

(Visiting Scholar, College of Humanities and Social Development, Fall 2016)