Food and Health in California


Food and Health in California

Event Date: Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Location: 126 Voorhies

Featuring Julie Guthman (Community Studies, UCSC), Ryan Galt (Community Development), and Charlotte Biltekoff (American Studies)

In recent years there has been increasing acknowledgement that understanding the relationship between food and health involves a complex set of variable that demand radically interdisciplinary engagements between scholars in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Such intersections inevitably raise critically important questions about how to reconcile vastly different perspectives on what health is and means, the relationship between science and culture, what counts as knowledge and data, and what the outcomes of our research ultimately ought to be.

In Julie Guthman’s prize-winning Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, she explores the biopolitics of “good food” and environmental toxins as they relate to obesity. How do personal investments in self-practices shape knowledge and action about food activism and policy? Who evaluates illness and on what terms and are there ways to think about harm that do not invoke normativity?

Ryan Galt and Charlotte Biltekoff, both UC Davis professors whose work on food brings them into contact with a range of disciplinary perspectives, will join in a conversation with Guthman to reflect on the methodological challenges and opportunities generated around questions of food and health. How can or do critical insights from a social constructivist perspective shape the scientific research on dietary health? What are the potentials and limits of constructivism and critical realism around health and food?

This event is the second in a series of public conversations in connection with the California Cultures Initiatives current research seminar, “CA Exceptionalism? Conversations on Environment, Health and Risk,” convened by Julie Sze (American Studies) and Tom Beamish (Sociology). This series explores California exceptionalism and its manifestation in attempts to manage climate change and assure democracy, issues of food and health, and bodies and justice in an interdisciplinary and comparative context. Each conversation will feature short 5-7 minute presentations by UCD social scientists and humanists, concerning current problems they are wrestling with, followed by open conversation under the Mellon Environment and Society/ Berkeley Environmental Politics format (discussants not speaking for the next 30 minutes).

A book signing and reception will follow.

Get the event flyer here.

This event is sponsored by the California Cultures Initiative at the UC Davis Humanities Institute.

For more information please contact: jloudermilk@ucdavis.edu.

Center for History, Society, and Culture Davis Humanities Institute

 All content © 2012 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

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227 Voorhies Hall
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Davis CA 95616
P: (530) 752-1254

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