UIC Institute for the Humanities


Food Justice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

A Conference sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for the
Humanities and the UIC Chancellor's Initiative in the Humanities
April 4-6, 2013

The Thursday, April 4 Keynote lecture by Eric Schlosser is free and open to the public.

This conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore issues of food justice in historical context as well as in terms of contemporary policy debates. Conference sessions will address themes of food and war, food aid and humanitarianism, moral and ethical issues in defining hunger and famine, the tensions between local and global food systems, and alternative urban food movements (specifically in Chicago). The conference is intended to foster in-depth discussion. To that end, conference papers will be pre-circulated among participants as well as a limited number of public guests.

Conference Schedule:

April 4, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Location: 750 South Halsted, UIC Student Center East
UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Welcome

KEYNOTE LECTURE:  Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
Lecture Title: "Food Justice and American Injustice"

April 5, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, UIC
9:00-10:15 a.m.
Plenary Session – Julie Guthman, Professor of Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Multi-campus Research Program on Food and the Body, University of California, Santa Cruz

"Grow your own food? Reflections on the Limits and Possibilities of Food Justice"

Julie Guthman

10:15-10:30 a.m. - Coffee

10:30-12:30 –
Session 1 - “Modern Hungers"
Achieving food justice depends, in the first place, on being able to define hunger itself. Scientists, doctors, NGOs and multinational organizations are all engaged in varied and often contradictory projects aimed at defining, reducing and, ultimately eliminating global hunger. Despite such intense scrutiny, however, it has proven difficult to establish a medical, social or economic consensus on what exactly hunger is. This panel will explore some of the different ways hunger can be understood and the variety of solutions that emerge.


Sharman Apt Russell, Department of Humanities, Western New Mexico University
“Into the Mouths of Babes:  The Business of Hunger”

Geoff Tansy, Writer/Consultant; Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Peace Studies, University Bradford, Trustee and member, Food Ethics Council, United Kingdom
“Hungry for What?  Reflections on Food, Hunger and Justice”

Comment: Alice Weinreb, Department of History, Utah State University

 12:30-1:30 p.m. - Lunch

 1:30-3:30 p.m.–
Session 2 - “Food Aid and Humanitarianism”
This panel will focus on food justice in the history and practice of international food aid. We will address the growth of an international system of food (and development) aid and the use of food aid in state/national strategic planning as well as ideas about the relationships among food/hunger and humanitarianism.


Nick Cullather,
Department of History, Indiana University
“When is a Famine not a Famine?  Gauging Indian Hunger in Imperial and Cold War Contexts”

Davide Rodogno,
International History, Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva
“Humanitarian Organizations, Food Aid Turf-Wars in Asia Minor and Greece (1919-1925)”

Jamey Essex,
Department of Political Science, University of Windsor
“From the Global Food Crisis to the Age of Austerity:  The Anxious Geopolitics of Global Food Security”

Comment: Susan Levine, Department of History and Institute for the Humanities, UIC

3:30-3:45 p.m. - Coffee

 3:45-5:45 p.m.
Session 3 - “Food and War”
This panel focuses on the theme of food and justice in the context of total war, which destroys normal patterns of food production and distribution. The provisioning of huge armies, the maintenance of civilian diets and claims of defeated soldiers and civilians raise complex issues about justice. The panel will explore how scarce supplies were allocated and how food became a weapon in policies of extermination in the Second World War in Europe and South-East Asia.


Gesine Gerhard, Department of History, University of the Pacific
“Food Justice Under Duress:  Feeding Soldiers, Civilians and Prisoners of War During the German War on the Soviet Union 1941-1945”

Aaron William Moore, Lecturer in East Asian History, University of Manchester
“An Insatiable Parasite: Eating and Drinking in WWII Armies of the Asia–Pacific Theatre, 1937–1945”

Kenneth Mouré, Department of History, University of Alberta
“ Food and Justice:  Equality of Sacrifice in France, 1940-1944”

Comment: Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Department of History, UIC

April 6, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, UIC

9:00-11:00 a.m.
Session 4 – “Local Agriculture, Global Food, and the Politics of Scale”
This panel looks at food justice in the context of local versus global food systems. In particular, the panel will look at current developments in agri-industrial organization and technology and the implications of these developments for laborers and their communities. Discussion will explore social movements that challenge corporate ownership of food and the appropriation of agricultural knowledge paying particular attention to alternatives that seek to promote more just systems of production, distribution, and consumption.


Elizabeth Fitting, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University
"Cultures of Corn and anti-GM activism in Mexico and Columbia"

Mark Moberg, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, University of South Alabama
"Certification and Neoliberal Governance:  Moral Economies of Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean"

Daniel Reichman, Department of Anthropology, University of Rochester
“Traceability as a Cultural System"

Comment: Molly Doane, Department of Anthropology, UIC

11:00-11:15 a.m.- Coffee

Session 5 – "Urban Agriculture and Alternative Food Systems"
This panel explores the emerging phenomenon of large scale urban agriculture in three key locations: Chicago, Havana and Detroit. Panelists explore how urban agriculture has emerged as social movement and development strategy in three quite distinct contexts, looking at its particular genesis within particular community contexts, its articulation with alternative movements and ideologies, and its relationship to neoliberal ideas and economies.


Daniel Block, Department of Geography, Chicago State University
"Farming the City in a Garden: Planning, Promotion, and Indifference toward Agriculture in Chicago from its Founding to Emmanuel"

Adriana Premat, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
" ‘Reason, Compassion, and Pocketbook’:  Urban Agriculture, and the Search for Balance in Post-Soviet Cuba”

Monica White, Department of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin Madison

Comment: Lisa Lee, Director, UIC School of Art & Art History and Visiting Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum


University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for the Humanities and the UIC Chancellor's Initiative in the Humanities

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Chicago, IL 60607-7040

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