Stephen Brush

Position Title
Professor Emeritus

  • Community and Regional Development

Interests: The cultural ecology of farming systems, relating farmer decisions to management of biological resources, conservation of genetic resources in crops

Stephen Brush was trained as an anthropologist and is Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California, Davis. At Davis, he serves as the Master Adviser for International Agricultural Development. He was Senior Scientist at the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute in Rome, 1994-1995, where he designed a global program for on-farm conservation of crop genetic resources. He was on the faculty of College of William and Mary, 1973-1984 and served as Staff Associate and then Director of the Anthropology Program at the National Science Foundation, 1980-1983. His research concerns agricultural ecology and the conservation of crop genetic resources. Brush has done field work on these topics in Peru (1970-1986), Turkey (1990-1994), and Mexico (1995-). He has been a consultant to the World Bank, the Office of Technology Assessment, the United Nations Development Programme, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN and UNESCO.

Graduate Students: In Ecology, Geography, International Agricultural Development

Honors and Awards

2004 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow

2004 UCMEXUS/CONACYT Sabbatical Fellow

Select Publications

1976. Brush, S. B. Man's Use of an Andean Ecosystem. Human Ecology 4: 147-166.

1985. Brush, S. B. and D. W. Guillet. Small-scale Agro-pastoral Production in the Central Andes. Mountain Research and Development 5, No. 1: 19-30.

1992. Brush, S. B., J. E. Taylor and M. Bellon C. Biological Diversity and Technology Adoption in Andean Potato Agriculture. Journal of Development Economics. 39:365-387.

1993. Brush, S. B. Indigenous knowledge of biological resources and intellectual property rights: The role of Anthropology. American Anthropologist 95: 653-686.

1994. M. Bellon and S. B. Brush. Keepers of maize in Chiapas, Mexico. Economic Botany 48: 196-209.

1995. Brush, S. B. In situ conservation of landraces in centers of crop diversity. Crop Science 35: 346-354.

1995. Brush, S. B., R. Kesseli, R. Ortega, P. Cisneros. K. Zimmerer, and C. Quiros. Potato diversity in the Andean center of crop domestication. Conservation Biology 9: 1189-1198.

1996. B. S. Orlove and S. B. Brush. Anthropology and the conservation of biodiversity. Annual Review of Anthropology. 25: 329-52

1996. Brush, S. B. Valuing crop genetic resources. Journal of Environment and Development 5 (4): 418-435.

1996. Brush, S. B. and D. Stabinsky. Valuing Local Knowledge: Indigenous People and Intellectual Property Rights. Washington, DC: Island Press

1998. Brush, S. B. Bio-cooperation and the benefits of crop genetic resources: the case of Mexican maize. World Development 26: 755-766

1998. Brush, S. B. and E. Meng. Farmers' valuation and conservation of crop genetic resources. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 45: 139-150.

1999. Brush, S. B. Bioprospecting the public domain. Cultural Anthropology 14: 535-555

2001. Brush, S. B. Genetically modified organisms in peasant farming: social impact and equity. Indiana Journal of Global and Legal Studies 9: 135-162

2002. Brush, S. B. The Lighthouse and the Potato. Working Paper 37. Political Economy Research Institute, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. [Published: Pages 187-205 In J. Boyce (ed.) Natural Assets: Democratizing Environmental Assets Washington, DC, Island Press].

2003. Perales H., S. B. Brush and C. Qualset. Maize landraces of central Mexico: An altitudinal transect. Economic Botany 57: 7-20.

2003. Perales H., S. B. Brush and C. Qualset. Dynamic management of maize landraces in central Mexico. Economic Botany 57: 21-34.

2003. Brush, S. B., E. Van Dusen and D. Tadesse. Crop diversity in peasant and industrialized agriculture: Mexico and California. Society and Natural Resources 16: 123-141.

2004. Brush, S. B. Farmers' Bounty: Locating Crop Diversity in the Contemporary World. Yale University Press, New Haven CT.

2005. Brush, S. B. Protecting Traditional Agricultural Knowledge. Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 17: 59-109.

2005. Brush, S. B. Cultural research on the origin and maintenance of agricultural diversity. Pages 379-385 in Nature Knowledge: Ethnoscience, Cognition, and Utility, G. Sanga and G. Ortalli, eds. Berghahn Books: New York.

2005. Perales, H., B. Benz, and S. B. Brush. Maize diversity and ethno-linguistic diversity in Chiapas, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102 (3): 949-954.

2007. Benz, B., H. Perales, and S. B. Brush. Tzeltal and Tzotzil Farmer Knowledge and Maize Diversity in Chiapas, Mexico. Current Anthropology 48 (2) 289-300.

2007. Chambers, K. J., S. B. Brush, M. N. Grote, and P. Gepts. Describing Maize (Zea mays L.) Landrace Persistence in the Bajío of Mexico: A Survey of 1940s and 1950s Collection Locations. Economic Botany 61 (1): 60-72.

2007. Brush, S. B. and H. Perales. A Maize Landscape: Ethnicity and Agro-Biodiversity in Chiapas, Mexico. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment 121: 211-221.


Ph.D., Anthropology. University of Wisconsin, Madison.