UIC Institute for the Humanities

New Research in Food Studies

2013-2014 Chicago Area Food Studies Working Group
Fall 2013 programs

The UIC Institute for the Humanities is proud to host a special series, “New Research in Food Studies.”  Food Studies is rapidly becoming an important field of research in the humanities. Inherently interdisciplinary, food studies addresses a range of issues including the history, culture, politics, of food as well as questions of environment, agriculture, globalization and social justice.  

This fall the Institute for the Humanities will bring three young scholars to campus to highlight new and creative work being done in the field of food studies.

"Let Them Eat Politics: Food, Power, and Poverty in the Civil Rights Era"  Add To Calendar

Angela Jill Cooley, Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Date(s): Monday, 11/18 3:00 PM to Monday, 11/18 5:00 PM
  • Campus Address: Institute for the Humanities, Lower Level, Stevenson Hall
  • Address: 701 South Morgan Street
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: huminst@uic.edu
  • Website: http://huminst.las.uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-996-6354
"Let Them Eat Politics: Food, Power, and Poverty in the Civil Rights Era" by Angela Jill Cooley

This paper will consider problems of food access in the rural South from 1962 to 1974. It is a tragic historical irony that black southern farm families often suffered from food insecurity. During the civil rights era, issues of sustenance became political when the white power structure threatened black access to the land and federal food programs in an effort to combat voting rights campaigns in rural counties. Civil rights organizations helped sustain black communities by sponsoring donation drives and distributing staples. After passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many civil rights organizations turned their attention to economic issues, and for many activists this meant pursuing food sovereignty--the right of black communities to choose and control their food systems. This paper will address the various political uses of food during the civil rights era and consider the implications of these events for the contemporary food justice movement.


Angela Jill Cooley
Photo Credit: Amy C. Evans
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