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How Should We Eat? Conference

  • Georgetown University Washington, DC US (map)

How Should We Eat?

A one-day symposium on eating in the Anthropocene

Friday, February 9, 2017

10:00-5:00 pm | New North 204 | Georgetown University

Full Schedule below. Please see here for speaker bios.

9:30 – 10:00    |   Coffee and bagels

10:00 – 10:15     Opening remarks

10:15 – 12:00     Panel: Food and Beyond

“What is food?” Ivy Ken, Sociology, George Washington University

“Burgers in the Age of Black Capitalism: Looking Beyond Food in the Conversation about Obesity,” Marcia Chatelain, History, Georgetown University

12:00 – 1:15    |   Lunch

1:15 – 3:00         Panel: Eating Injustice

“Food Justice for All? Who Eats Well Today in the US,” Yuki Kato, Sociology, Georgetown University

“The Melting Glacier of Food’: Environmentalist Demonizing of Fatness,” Abby Wilkerson, Writing, George Washington University

3:00 – 3:15     |  Coffee break

3:15 – 5:00         Keynote: “Unclean Eating: Mutual Aid, Compost, and Fermentation,”   Alexis Shotwell, Sociology, Carleton University

Abstract: Conceptions of food purity have historically manifested in a range of religious and health practices. In our time of human-caused earthly devastation, “clean eating” has infused a health practice with a religious tone in a new mode. In many gyms and online fora eating clean means eating unprocessed foods with dense nutritional values and minimal sugar. Many clean eaters share an explicit goal of physical optimization. In this paper, I ask whether clean eating can be understood as a failing attempt to personally transcend our messy connection with our damaged planet. I suggest that too often injunctions to eat clean apply an extractive, narcissistic logic of purification that fits sadly well into capitalism’s praxis — and that simultaneously these practices will not actually save us. Instead of pursuing an individualizing health project of self-protection, I argue for practices of nourishing complexity. Unclean eating means perceiving our implication in this world and practicing consumption that can result in more possibilities for ongoingness. At scales from the microbiotic to the planetary, I look to mutual aid, compost, and fermentation for suggestions for flourishing.

5:00-6:00      |    Reception, wine and snacks

Earlier Event: February 7
Inclusive Teaching Workshop