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Colloquium #4 – “Sitting on Old Mats to Plait New”: The gendered struggle over land and livelihood in Liberia

January 27 @ 11:15 am - 12:30 pm

The first colloquium of Spring 2021 will feature Professor Gregg Mitman, with his talk titled:  “Sitting on Old Mats to Plait New”: The gendered struggle over land and livelihood in Liberia. ” This talk will take place on January 27, 2021 at 11:15am. Please join us by registering for this event. 


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


In 1926, the Liberian government granted Firestone Tire & Rubber Company a 99-year lease for up to one million acres of land to grow rubber. It marked the first major land concession in Liberia, paving the way for a current wave of concessions that in 2018 claimed approximately 50 percent of land in Liberia. This paper throws light on past and present struggles over large-scale agriculture concessions in Liberia and their impact on the livelihoods and rights of Liberia’s indigenous people. In recent years, rural women have become a powerful force in the passage of legislation that grants legal recognition to customary land and equal rights of women to “own” land for the first time since the founding of Liberia as an independent, sovereign nation in 1847.

Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His latest book, Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia, will be published by The New Press in the fall of 2021.


January 27
11:15 am - 12:30 pm