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Food, Environment, Globalization, Race & Gender

Presentation; GWS 14, Summer '15

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Transcript of Food, Environment, Globalization, Race & Gender

Food, Environment, Globalization, Race & Gender
Presentation by W. K. Liang-X. M. & P. Donohue
Ashcroft et al.
Ecofeminism & Ecological Imperialism
Julie Sze
Gender, Asthma, and Urban Environmental Justice Activism
Sokari Ekine
Women's Responses to Enviromental Desrtruction and State Violence in the Niger Delta (2008)
Anna Kirkland
The Environmental Account of Obesity: A Case for Feminist Skepticism
Women and Food Chain: The Gendered Politics of Food
Patricia Allen & Carolyn Sachs
Reproductive Justice, Not Population Control
Breaking the Wrong Links & Making the Right Ones in the Movement for Climate Justice
Betsy Hartmann & Elizabeth Barajas-Roman
Discussion Questions
Ecofeminism - A movement within feminism which argues that the repression of women can also be understood in the analysis of the ways in which environments have been exploited for resources, and/or polluted. Also argues that patriarchal violence against women can also be understood in the colonial moment by the dominant ideologies that stress rational thought, which take root in the Age of Enlightenment, and are invested in dichotimizing notions of humanity that disconnect human beings from their environment. (Ex. culture vs. nature, civilization vs. savagery, human vs. animal, black vs. white, etc.)

Ecological Imperialism - An ideology which argues that the environments of colonized societies have undergone changes (often destructive) that can be attributed to their occupation by settlers. (Ex. Conquest of the Americas and their connection to the introduction of new diseases, the introduction of domestic husbandry in the Amazon, desertification of Central Asia, etc.)
The Material Domain: Women's Labor
Gendered agrarianism constructs and idealizes an image where men's labor is in the field and women's labor is in the homestead. This does not account for the industrial nature of food production today, nor does it account for the reality of agricultural practices in most societies before the industrial age.
The Sociocultural Domain: Nourishing Others
Cooking has become coded as a female activity, that is not credited for the meticulous process of serving to a family's tastes, shopping according to the season on a budget, planning in advance, the preparation and process of cooking, attention to everyone's nutritional health, and cleaning the cooking space for the upkeep of family hygiene.
Despite this coding, women are often excluded from the field of culinary professionals. (See clip from Ratatouille.)
Traditions of partnered cooking have become broken due to globalizing processes that posit men as providers and women as the caretakers.
The Corporeal Domain: The Diet Industry & Social Welfare
Despite the coded responsibility of nutritional maintenance as a woman's role, women are often the most undernourished members of their families.
Obfuscation of the role of the food industry in studies on eating disorders and obesity. Blame is usually attributed to mothers. (For critique, see Kirkland's essay.)

"There is a highly specific and evolved set of social rules governing the hierarchy of foods. A baguette is not junk food, but sliced white bread is; the sugar in honey and fruits is healthy while white granular sugar is junk... growing or obtaining local fresh produce is the best way to eat, while eating outside the home and on the move is the worst... Perhaps one reason that feminists have either embraced the environmental account or shied away from fat acceptance is that many of them belong to the cultural subgroup that is most highly invested in both the personal appearance norms (mostly being thin or at least not fat) and cultural practices (lots of veggies, yoga, farmer’s markets) that mark elite status and promise to keep age and disability away."
Combating obesity in disadvantaged neighborhoods responds to health inequalities along race, class, and gender lines.
Kirkland argues against the popularity of this among public policy elites and health researchers.
She posits that they are problematic, because they assume the correctness of their own intervention, when in reality they are moralist and patronizing to the communities they seek to aid.
Environmental explanations for obesity construct the elites as being able to manage their own bodies properly while the poor cannot, therefore upholding a sainthood complex.
Anti-Obesity Campaigns reinforce the stigma of being "fat" and equate fitness with being skinny, and even underweight; therefore feeding the diet industry further.
The popularity of this notion problematizes personal choice and agency over one's own body.
Childhood asthma in NYC (specifically South Bronx and West Harlem)
-CDC reports more than 48 million children under 18 have asthma (most common cronic health condition of childhood)
- outdoor air pollution as a factor in why communities face high asthma rates
-low-income children have 3.5 times higher rate than higher-income children
->1 in 4 children in Central Harlem has asthma
-according to American Lung Association african americans have 32% higher rate than whites
->black children are 4 times more likely to die from asthma than white children
3 times more likely to be hospitalized
Clean Air is a Right, Not Privilege
-for the past 39 years Nigeria has been a militarized state
-violence used to instrument governance
-no developement, no water, no communications, no health facilities, little and poor education
-region has generated an estimated over 30 billion in oil revenue
-ecological disaster zone (no compensation to natives)
-rape of native women
-"president Obasanjo's response was to declare the photographs fake, asserting that his soldiers would never do such a thing."
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