UNT to hold Moral Cultures of Food Conference

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 16:43

What: The Moral Cultures of Food Conference -- An event at the University of  North Texas offering panel presentations and lectures on historical dimensions of food ethics. Authors Carol J. Adams and James E. McWilliams will be keynote speakers

When: April 2-4 (Thursday-Saturday)

Where: UNT's Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St.

Cost: Free

Contact: Danielle Longueville at 940-565-3197, 214-912-9480 or


DENTON (UNT), Texas -- From Father's Day advertising of grills and other barbecue equipment to meat-heavy frozen meals called "Hungry Man," meat eating is associated with masculinity, and a carnivorous diet upholds patriarchal cultures that oppress both women and animals, according to Dallas author Carol J. Adams.

Adams, whose 1990 book, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, was called both groundbreaking and controversial, will be the opening keynote speaker at the Moral Cultures of Food Conference April 2-4 (Thursday-Saturday) at the University of North Texas Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St.

Adams' presentation, "The Sexual Politics of Meat in 2015," begins at 4:30 p.m. April 2 (Thursday) in Room 80 of the building. Adams will cite passages from her book, which was published as a 20th anniversary edition with additional material in 2010.

James E. McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locovores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, published in 2009, will be the conference's other keynote speaker. A professor of history at Texas State University in San Marcos, McWilliams will speak at 4 p.m. April 3 (Friday) in Room 70 of the Business Leadership Building. His presentation is titled "From Vegan to Veganish: Eating, Ethics and Activism In the 21st Century."

The Moral Cultures of Food Conference will link historical food practices to current conversations about food ethics, with faculty members from colleges and universities across the U.S. and from overseas presenting scholarly research. The topics include pregnancy, lactation and food welfare during the 1970s; industrial coffee production in Vietnam; racialization of urban grocery stores and the cultural ethics of communal cooking.

Presentations will occur in 90-minute panels from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. April 3 (Friday) and from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. April 4 (Saturday). Both of the keynote speeches and the conference's presentations are free and open to the public.

Jennifer Wallach, associate professor in UNT's Department of History, and Michael Wise, an assistant professor in the department, are coordinating the conference as co-founders of UNT's Initiative on Food Culture and Environment.

"We see the conference as part of a larger effort to brand UNT as a university focusing on food studies -- how we think about the production and distribution of food and what practices tell us about culture, values and history," said Wallach, the author of How America Eats: A Social History of U.S. Food and Culture. Noting that UNT is home to Mean Greens, the nation's first all-vegan dining hall at a college or university, Wallach said vegetarianism is a key part of food culture and values.

"The reasons for Americans eating vegetarian diets during the 19th century were very different from the reasons that Americans vegetarian diets today," she said.

For more information on the Moral Cultures of Food Conference, contact Danielle Longueville in the Department of History at 940-565-3197, 214-913-9480 or at historyevents@unt.edu.

UNT News Service
(940) 565-2108