Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement announces fall “Rethinking the City” lecture series— Elizabeth L. Sweet and Allison Hayes-Conroy, November 11

November 1, 2013

The Bloustein School’s Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement has announced its fall 2013 lecture series, Rethinking the City, which seeks to promote how people and communities can shape the life and future of our cities in the face of today’s challenges and opportunities. The lunchtime lectures will begin at 12:45 p.m. and will be held in Room 113 of the Bloustein School’s Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, N.J.


The next event is the series will be on Monday, November 11. Food planning and policy tends to embrace the nutrition status of individual men, women, and children as the end-goal of food security efforts. While there has been much value in investigating and trying to ensure sufficient nutrition for struggling households, this overriding emphasis on nutrition status has effectively reduced our understandings of what constitutes adequacy in food procurement and provision. Specifically, our understandings of what count as adequate food have been condensed to measurement of nutrients and calories. While token attention has been paid to more qualitative ideas like “cultural appropriateness,” scholars and policy makers have been unable to break out of the reductionist framework set up by the nutrition-orientation of food policy. Drawing on empirical work from Medellin, Colombia, Drs. Sweet and Hayes-Conroy explore how visceral methods invite a broader understanding of food adequacy that includes but moves beyond nutrients and calories. Exploring the case of food insecure women, who have been forcibly displaced from their rural lives and livelihoods to new urban realities, they will demonstrate how our understandings of food adequacy must take into account the social and environmental imaginaries of marginalized groups, arguing that the body is the geographical space we need to explore in order to concretely document a broader meaning of food security.

Dr. Elizabeth Sweet is a visiting assistant professor at Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts. She is engaged in an interdisciplinary stream of scholarship examining the role of planning and policy in the production and reproduction of social, economic, and spatial inequalities. Using primarily qualitative methods, often in collaboration with anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, or historians, she analyzes community and economic development policy from a diverse economies perspective that recognizes alternative capitalist and non-market activities. She is particularly interested in the nature and extent of minority women’s economic activities.  An additional consideration is the role of violence—both gendered and race-based—as it relates to economic self-sufficiency and urban development. She explores how changing economic conditions in the public sphere affect changing economic conditions and domestic violence in the private sphere. Dr. Sweet also studies how communities are responding to anti-immigrant violence, defined broadly to include hate crimes, family separation, and economic hardship.

Dr. Allison Hayes-Conroy is an assistant professor at Temple’s Department of Geography and Urban Studies. Her research interests include food systems; sustainable nature-society relations (political ecology, environmental and food justice, ANT); social movements; globalization; urban/rural studies and land use policy; feminist geography and politics of the body; politics of affect, feelings and emotion; community development; and spiritual ecology.  She is the author of Reconnecting Lives to the Land: An agenda for critical dialogue (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press / Associated University Presses, 2008).

The final RWV lunchtime lecture this fall will be:

Monday, December 9: Inclusionary Zoning and Exclusionary Development: The Politics of Affordable Housing in Greenpoint-Williamsburg
by Filip Stabrowski, Hunter College


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