Event Co-Organizers

Erica Zurawski | Doctoral Student, Sociology at University of California Santa Cruz

Erica is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Her research brings together critical food studies, environmental studies, and urban sociology and geography. She is interested in understanding how situated instances of food injustices have been constructed through ongoing colonial projects, linking the Transcontinental Railroad, the Colorado Gold Rush, Denver’s Carnation Boom to present-day food justice activism in North Denver. Prior to moving to Santa Cruz, she obtained her Juris Doctor at the University of Wisconsin, with a certificate in International Environmental Law.

Halie Kampman | Doctoral Student, Environmental Studies at University of California Santa Cruz

Halie Kampman is PhD student in environmental studies with a designated emphasis in feminist studies. She is interested in the politics of international nutrition aid programs. She studies a diversity of nutrition-focused interventions, from hybrid crops bred for high nutrient content, to indigenous staples. She draws from critical development studies, science and technology studies, biopolitics and feminist epistemologies. Her work is located at international research centers in Washington DC, and among communities in West Africa.

Keynote Conversant: Ashanté M. Reese

Ashanté M. Reese | Assistant Professor of Sociology & Anthropology at Spelman College

Ashanté M. Reese joined the department of sociology and anthropology as an assistant professor in 2015. She completed her Doctorate in anthropology (with a specialization in race, gender, and social justice) at American University in 2015 where she also earned a Masters in Public Anthropology in 2013.  Her dissertation, “Groceries and Gardens: Race, Place, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.” is an ethnographic exploration of food access and community building in a D.C. neighborhood. Situating the neighborhood in historical and contemporary perspectives, she specifically examines the roles of race and class in the gradual decline in food access and in the ways residents actively navigated the decline. In addition to her food studies work, Dr. Reese has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Baltimore, MD, during which she interviewed aging Baltimore residents about their Diabetes care an management to ascertain similarities and differences across race, gender, and class.

Keynote Conversation Host

Savannah Shange | Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz

Panel Participants

Alison Hope Alkon | Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of the Pacific

My research seeks to understand and advocate for food justice by exploring the ways that racial and economic identities and inequalities affect efforts to create sustainable food systems.  My third book, an edited volume called The New Food Activism, is due out in late 2016. While much of the work toward making food systems more sustainable and socially just has taken the form of alternative products and forms of exchange, this book chronicles legislative campaigns to restrict the power of industrial producers and processors, and to amplify the power of workers. I am also beginning a project exploring how gentrification affects food activism in Oakland, California. This book will bring my previous work on race, class and food systems into contact with questions of how cities change and how that affects various communities.

Charlotte Biltekoff | Associate Professor of American Studies and Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis

Charlotte Biltekoff is Associate Professor of American Studies and Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis, where she builds bridges between scientific and cultural approaches to questions about food and health. She is author of Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health (Duke University Press, 2013), an exploration of the social and cultural dimensions of dietary advice and the changing meaning of “eating right” over the last century. Her current work looks at tensions around “processed” food, and how they are related to broader debates about scientific authority, trust, truth and expertise in contemporary food politics, and more broadly, contemporary America life. Biltekoff’s work has been the subject of a short film, she engages frequently with the media, and has published in a wide range of academic journals. At UC Davis she teaches classes on food and culture, as well as innovation in the food system.

Elizabeth Hoover | Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University

Elizabeth Hoover is Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University where she teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, Indigenous food movements, and community engaged research. Her book “The River is In Us;” Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community, (University of Minnesota Press, 2107) is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research.  Her second book project From “Garden Warriors” to “Good Seeds;” Indigenizing the Local Food Movement explores Native American farming and gardening projects around the country: the successes and challenges faced by these organizations; the ways in which participants define and enact concepts like food sovereignty and seed sovereignty; the role of Native chefs in the food movement; and the fight against the fossil fuel industry to protect heritage foods. Elizabeth has published articles about Native American food sovereignty; environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities; the cultural impact of fish advisories on Native communities; and tribal citizen science. In addition, Elizabeth serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA), and the newly formed Slow Food Turtle Island regional association. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Elizabeth is a resident fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.

Julie Guthman | Professor in the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz

Julie Guthman is a geographer and a professor of social sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she teaches multiple courses on the politics of food and agriculture. With a research emphasis on the conditions of possibility for food system transformation in the US, her publications include three multi-award winning books and over forty articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her latest book, Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry (University of California Press), will be released in summer 2019. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. In addition, she is a recipient of the Excellence in Research Award from the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society.

Madeleine Fairbairn | Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz

Madeleine Fairbairn is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and now primarily teaches and does research in the areas of critical agrarian studies and political ecology. Most recently, she has been studying the “financialization of farmland,” from political conflicts over foreign farmland investment in Brazil to land purchases motivated by groundwater access in drought-prone California. Her book on this subject, Fields of Gold: Farmland in the Age of Finance, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. Another current project examines development community efforts to promote “data-driven agriculture” in the Global South.

Melissa Caldwell | Professor of Anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz

Melissa L. Caldwell is Professor of Anthropology. Her research and teaching focus on the everyday lived experiences and politics of poverty, welfare, and charity, with particular emphasis on state socialist and postsocialist societies. As an ethnographer who has been conducting fieldwork in Russia since the mid-1990s, she has examined such issues as the social experience of food scarcity and poverty during times of economic transition, the role of informal and formal social welfare networks, the role of domestic and international food relief and poverty alleviation programs, the ethics and practices of voluntarism, faith-based charitable organizations, and human rights activism. Her current research focuses on the ethics and practices of compassion and benevolence.

Lissa’s first book, Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia (University of California Press 2004) was the first ethnographic monograph on the experience of poverty, food relief, and social support networks in the postsocialist world. She is currently working on her book Living Faithfully in an Unjust World: Toward a Secular Theology of Compassion in Russia, which examines the role of faith-based organizations and secular NGOs in Russia’s new compassion economy.

Rafi Grosglik | Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Davis

Rafi Grosglik is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, UC Davis. Previously, he held a research fellowship with the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University and taught at Tufts University and Boston University. His areas of interest include sociology of food, globalization, consumption, popular culture and environmental sociology. His articles on food and society were published in the Journal of Consumer Culture; Food, Culture and Society; Israeli Sociology among others. In addition, he is a co-editor of a special issue on food and power in the Middle East and the Mediterranean in Food, Culture & Society and a special issue on environment and society in Israel in Israeli Sociology. His recent publications include: Organic Food in Israel – Resistance, Assimilation and Global Culture (Resling Press, 2017 [in Hebrew]). He is completing a manuscript on “Globalizing Organic” (under contract with SUNY Press).

Panel Moderators

Allyson Makuch | Ph.D. Student in Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz

Chris Lang | Ph.D. Student in Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz

Emily Reisman | Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz