Miller Center

Shelley Hurt

Political Science, The New School for Social Research

Institutionalizing Food Power: U.S. Foreign Policy, Intellectual Property Rights, and the Agricultural Biotechnology Industry, 1972–1994

Hurt photo

Shelley L. Hurt is Assistant Professor of Political Science Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Hurt teaches courses on Biological and Chemical Arms Control and Development, Security Studies in Global Perspective, Science, Technology, Power and Politics, War, Trade, and American Political development. Her research interests include U.S. foreign policy, science and technology policy, security studies, international law and organizations, globalization, and American political development.

Hurt's dissertation investigated U.S. policymakers' use of the market and law, domestically and internationally, to foster a favorable climate for the agricultural biotechnology industry. She hypothesized that this state strategy evolved in response to declining U.S. hegemony in the early 1970s when the pressure of international competition became a paramount concern for U.S. officials. Subsequently, food came to be seen as a fundamental national resource with the potential to propel the U.S. back into an undisputed hegemonic position. She argued that in response to this geopolitical pressure, U.S. policymakers and courts enacted a complex set of legal rules and regulations to create the conditions for this industry to flourish. The culmination of these domestic policies led to U.S. insistence on incorporating the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Fellowship year: 2004

Mentor: Ronnie Lipschutz, University of California, Santa Cruz

Selected Recent Publications

Hybrid Rule and State Formation: Public-Private Power in the 21st Century. with Ronnie D. Lipschutz, eds. (Routledge Press, 2015)

"Military's Hidden Hand: Understanding the Origins of Biotechnology in the American Context, 1969-1972." in State of Innovation: The U.S. Government's Role in Technology Development, Fred Block and Matthew Keller, eds (Colorado: Paradigm Publishers, 2011).

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