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Terrell Orr, Global South Fellow at Tulane University

Terrell Orr

Global South Fellowship 2021

Terrell Orr is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Georgia, where he studies the U.S. South from a hemispheric perspective. In particular, he is interested in how capitalist transformations of agriculture have divided and united the farmworkers and growers of the U.S., the Caribbean, and Latin America. He has published an article in the journal Southern Cultures on the United Farm Workers organization of Florida’s Minute Maid workers and has presented his research at meetings of the Agricultural History Society, the Labor and Working-Class History Association, and the Southern Labor Studies Association. His dissertation research is supported by fellowships from the American Society for Environmental History, the Social Science Research Council, and Fulbright-Hays.


“The Roots of Global Citrus in ‘Nuevo South’ Florida and Rural São Paulo” is a history of the orange juice industry between 1965 and 1995, when the growers of São Paulo State eclipsed the growers of Florida as the world’s largest producers of citrus and, in doing so, transformed the culture, agriculture, and labor organizations in the rural areas of both states. The project weds together insights from the fields of business, labor, and environmental history to understand how growers and farmworkers confronted citrus’s knotty history of freezes, diseases, strikes, inflation, consolidation, and immigration.

During this period, the citrus industry was transnational in two ways: at the level of capital, the largest citrus growers and processors established a presence in both Florida and São Paulo, buying land, processing lands, collaborating in research, and competing in sales; and at the level of labor, in Florida, the period saw a dramatic demographic shift, as African American workers left the groves and Mexican, Caribbean, and Central American workers took their place. This makes it the ideal vantage point to see how Gulf South and Global South have become increasingly intertwined, as ideas, people, capital, and, indeed, orange juice have tied the regions into complex new forms of contact, conflict, and cooperation.