Eating/Anthropocene Speaker Bios

Alexis Shotwell is Associate Professor at Carleton University, on unceded Algonquin territory. She is the co-investigator for the AIDS Activist History Project (, and author of Knowing Otherwise: Race, Gender, and Implicit Understanding and Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times.

Ivy Ken is Associate Professor of Sociology at George Washington University, where she teaches courses on race, class, and gender inequality; social theory; and school food policy.  Professor Ken’s recent scholarship is focused on schools’ reliance on large food companies to provide meals for students.  She uses an actor-network theory approach to understand how school food is “translated,” and the effects of those translations on the decisions that are made about what students should eat and who should provide it.  Professor Ken’s work in this arena has been sponsored by a Fulbright Scholar award for study in rural Chile and a GW Global Women’s Institute Research Fellowship.  She, along with a multi-disciplinary group of faculty, recently convened a year-long University Seminar on Food at GW, which highlighted issues of food policy such as the DC Healthy Schools Act and the Farm Bill.

Marcia Chatelain is Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University.  The author of South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration from Duke University Press, she teaches about women’s and girls’ history, as well as the history of black capitalism.  She is currently working on the book From Sit-In to Drive Thru: Black America and Fast Food in an Age of Crisis, which is under contract with Liveright Publishing, a division of Norton and Company.  Chatelain’s book will examine the intricate relationship among African American politicians, civil rights organizations, communities, and the fast food industry.  Chatelain has published pieces in TheAtlantic.Com, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.  She has also contributed to the popular podcast, “Undisclosed,” serving as the resident historian on a narrative arc about the 2015 killing of Freddie Gray by members of the Baltimore Police Department.  In 2016, the Chronicle of Higher Education named her a Top Influencer in academia.  During the 2017-2018 academic year, she will be on leave from Georgetown with support from a National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship.

Yuki Kato is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on the relationship between the urban environment and social interactions, with a particular focus on social inequality. Her most recent research project focuses on the emergence of alternative food movement and urban agricultural activities in post-Katrina New Orleans, by critically examining how these new food movements in the city both reflected and contributed to the demographic, economic, and political shifts in the post-disaster city. Since arriving at Georgetown in 2015, she has taught Sociology of Food, Culture and Consumption, and Environmental and Food Justice Movements, all of which explores our foodways and their intersection with race, class, and gender inequalities.

Abby Wilkerson is a philosopher and professor of writing at George Washington University. Her work on food includes a book manuscript, The Thin Contract: Social Justice and the Political Rhetoric of Obesity; “Not Your Father’s Family Farm: Toward Transformative Rhetorics in Food and Agriculture” (in Food, Feminisms, and Rhetorics); “Bias and Body Size: The Social Contract and the Fat Liberation Movement” (in The Atkins Diet and Philosophy); and “Judging, Tasting, Knowing ‘Good’ Food,” opening a Food, Culture & Society special article cluster she edited. She is also the author of Diagnosis: Difference: The Moral Authority of Medicine (Cornell), and co-edited a GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies special issue, “Desiring Disability,” with Robert McRuer. Her work appears in other journals and anthologies including Hypatia; Radical Philosophy Review; Journal of Medical Humanities; Journal of Bioethical Inquiry; Disability and Mothering; Gay Shame; Sex and Disability; and The SPIT Manifesto Reader.