Laura T. Raynolds is a Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University and the Director of the Center for Fair & Alternative Trade. Her research focuses on globalization, international development, food & agriculture, gendered labor forces, and fair & alternative trade. Laura Raynolds has done extensive field-based research in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Costa Rica. She has received numerous grants, including support from the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, US Agency for International Development, and the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Laura Raynolds has publishing over 50 articles and chapters as well as two co-edited books.  Reflecting her many contributions, Laura Raynolds has received the John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award for outstanding achievement in research, teaching, & service from CSU’s College of Liberal Arts and the Excellence in Research Award for outstanding contributions to rural-oriented research and theory from the Rural Sociological Society.

Selected Publications

Raynolds, Laura T. 2000. Re-embedding Global Agriculture: the International Organic and Fair Trade Movements. Agriculture and Human Values 17: 297-309. - As the journal's most highly cited and downloaded article, this pathbreaking piece has been cited over 900 times.

Raynolds, Laura T. 2002. Consumer/Producer Links in Fair Trade Coffee Networks. Sociologia Ruralis 42 (4): 404-424. – Reflecting its high impact, this article has been cited over 750 times.

Raynolds, Laura T. 2004. The Globalization of Organic Agro-Food Networks. World Development 32 (5): 725-743. - This highly influential article has been cited over 750 times.

Raynolds, Laura T., Douglas Murray, & John Wilkinson (eds.) 2007. Fair Trade: The Challenges of Transforming Globalization. London: Routledge Press. - This book had the second largest 1st year sales in its category and has been cited over 500 times.

Raynolds, Laura T., Douglas Murray & Andrew Heller 2007. Regulating Sustainability in the Coffee Sector: A Comparative Analysis of Third-Party Environmental and Social Certification Initiatives. Agriculture and Human Values 24 (2):147-163. - With nearly 500 citations, this article is one of the journal’s most cited articles.

Raynolds, Laura T. 2009. Mainstreaming Fair Trade Coffee: From Partnership to Traceability. World Development. 37 (6): 1083-1093. – Ranked in the top 1% of the highest impact articles in the Social Sciences, this piece has been cited almost 500 times.

Raynolds, Laura T. 2012. Fair Trade: Social Regulation in Global Food Markets. Journal of Rural Studies. 28 (3): 276-287. – Identified as one of the journal's most read and cited articles 2011-2015 nearing 200 citations.

Raynolds, Laura T. & Elizabeth Bennett (eds.) 2015. Handbook of Research on Fair Trade. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. - The first of its kind, this volume provides a guide to cutting edge research, theory, and debates with 30 chapters by the world’s foremost scholars.

Raynolds, Laura T. 2018. Fairtrade Certification, Labor Standards, and Labor Rights: Comparative Innovations and Persistent Challenges. Sociology of Development 4 (2): 191-216. - Among journal’s Most Read articles.


  • Sociology 364: Agriculture, Food, & Global Society

    This course explores major theoretical and empirical issues in the field of agriculture and food in local, national, and global contexts. Considering agriculture and food from a sociological perspective highlights the interconnected nature of the agro-food system. This course focuses on the social organization of agricultural production and food consumption, identifying key policy debates and choices regarding how we produce, distribute, and consume food.

  • Sociology 333: Gender & Society

    This course explores major theoretical and empirical issues related to gender and society. We examine how gender affects expectations regarding our social behavior, contrasting the social construction of women and femininity with that of men and masculinity. We analyze how gender influences our personal relations and families, our work relations and employment, and our political power and opportunities for bringing about social change. The course emphasizes throughout how gender, class, and ethnic/racial inequalities intersect.

  • Sociology 330: Social Inequality

    This course explores major theoretical and empirical issues in social inequality. We review classical theories and debates regarding social stratification and consider their applicability in understanding inequalities in the contemporary era. The course analyzes the interconnections between social class, gender, and race/ethnicity and examines the ways in which these divisions structure our life chances and experiences. We focus largely on issues of stratification in the U.S. context but conclude with a discussion of global stratification.

  • Sociology 660: Theories of Development & Social Change

    This course analyzes major theoretical issues in the sociology of development and social change. We examine central formal development theories, including modernization, dependency, and world systems theories. We will (1) identify their major arguments regarding local, national, and international development; (2) examine their intellectual roots in classical social theory; (3) investigate their links to changing world realities; and (4) evaluate their major areas of agreement and disagreement. We then investigate more contemporary debates, critiques, and theoretical reformulations in development sociology.

  • Sociology 666: Globalization & Socio-Economic Restructuring

    This course analyzes ongoing processes of globalization and their implications for socio-economic restructuring. We set globalization in historical context, identifying what is new about current processes of social transformation. We focus on key theoretical and methodological issues in understanding globalization’s causes and consequences, focusing on concrete processes of socio-economic restructuring in the agro-food and other key sectors. We ask: How has globalization affected patterns of production and the role of transnational corporations? What are the implications of globalization for restructuring work, labor forces, and livelihoods? To what degree has globalization caused a political restructuring of the state? How has globalization transformed culture and patterns of consumption? Has globalization closed off some political spaces and opened up others?