While he was studying away in India last year, Jacob “Jeb” Polstein ’17 researched the rise of urban agriculture in the city of Madurai.
Using ethnographic data he collected from three sites around the city, Polstein looked at how the capitalistic promotion of urban agricultural movements has complicated traditional agrarian ideas and practices. At Bowdoin, Polstein is majoring in philosophy and environmental studies.
For this work, Polstein received an annual Award for Academic Achievement Abroad from The Forum on Education Abroad. The prize recognizes excellence in academic work by students in study abroad programs. Polstein studied with SITA, or South India Term Abroad.
Forty-three student projects were judged by faculty associated with Forum member institutions. Polstein will present his work at the Forum’s 13th annual conference in Seattle on March 31, 2017.
Aaron Samuel, SITA’s resident director and Polstein’s mentor for his project, “Agrarian Freedom in Madurai’s Urban Agriculture,” said: “Jeb’s entire research process was highlighted by his creative, engaging means of gathering data and his high ethical standards. Through this research, Jeb has made the most of his experience abroad and serves as an example of the impact that experience abroad can have on brilliant young minds.”
When he learned he would be receiving this year’s award, Polstein told the Forum, “Conducting my research in South India was simultaneously eye-opening, exciting, and challenging. It forced me to grow as both a scholar and a human….More importantly, I am happy to shed light on Madurai’s urban agriculture. As development proceeds in Madurai and elsewhere, urban agriculture will continue to have crucial practical and ideological implications.”