Wednesday, March 01, 2006


March Madness- two talks on meat, crisis, and mad cow disease in American culture

The Davis Humanities Institute's Critical Studies in Food and Culture (CSFC) research cluster presents...

March Madness- two talks on meat, crisis, and mad cow disease in American culture.

Friday, March 3rd at
12 Noon in 228 Voorhies.
University California, Davis

"'Business-As-Usual': Mad Cow Disease As Cultural Crisis"

Lynn Houston
Assistant Professor of English
California State University, Chico

This presentation takes up Heidegger’s questions about the nature and "event" of technology, theorizing the role of technology in our everyday lives, in the formation of our beings, and most importantly, theorizing how technology functions in the construction (or destruction) of our subjectivity through the production of our food. To this aim, the phenomenon of mad cow disease is read as a cultural crisis that reveals and makes unfamiliar to us values and norms that we have come to taken for granted, thus calling into question the body as site of discourse. This crisis critiques values regarding the subject/object distinction, as well as other categories/boundaries/borders, the material conditions of personhood, and the production and circulation of knowledge in global, industrial capitalism.

Lynn Houston is currently a tenure-track assistant professor of American literature in the English Department of California State University, Chico. Prior to that, she held a visiting assistant professorship in southeastern Louisiana. Lynn received her doctoral degree from Arizona State University; her dissertation was entitled "The Mad Cow Nexus: The Stakes/Steaks of Personhood in Global, Industrial Food Production." She first began her work in food studies during her masters work at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, while funded by a Fulbright grant for independent research in comparative literature.


"It's a mad mad mad mad world: Mad Cow and Meat Systems"

Laura Hudson
Cultural Studies Graduate Group, University of California, Davis

Ten years ago, the U.S. "mad cow" crisis reached a head with the appearance of former cattle rancher turned vegan activist Howard Lyman on the Oprah Winfrey show. Lyman’s account of common meat industry practices, including the use of cattle proteins in cattle feed, led Oprah to exclaim: “It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger!” The National Cattleman's Beef Association sued both Lyman and Winfrey for their statements. Fear that meat production practices might result in a public health crisis was secondary to fear over the economic effects that public distrust would have on the industry. While mad cow disease has largely faded from the public eye, superseded by the explosion of other crises, the industry continues to employ production methods that put public health at risk in the interests of industry profit. What an investigation of industry and government response to the threat of mad cow disease reveals is that it is not the cows that have gone mad, but the system itself.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Please join us for these two interesting presentations.
For more information: please contact CFSC coordinator, Stacy Jameson at

Critical Studies in Food and Culture (CSFC) is a research cluster sponsored by the Davis Humanities Institute and the American Studies Department at the University of California, Davis. It aims to support and share the work of Faculty and Graduate Student researchers investigating the intersections of food and cultural studies, as well as the critical analysis of eating practices and the broader cultures of consumption. Please visit our temporary web site at


Marion Nestle: Food, Free Speech, and Obesity in America

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Food, Free Speech, and Obesity in America

Marion Nestle (Visiting Professor, the Schools of Public Policy, Public Health, and Journalism, UC Berkeley)

At UC Berkeley in the Free Speech Movement Café
Open to Public

Contact Phone: 643-6429
Contact Email:

Obesity has become the leading nutrition problem in the United States and elsewhere, not least because of changes in society--food marketing among them--that promote overeating and sedentary lifestyles. Attempts to curb food marketing, especially the kind aimed at children, run up against arguments that such advertising is protected by the First Amendment. Should it be? Does Freedom of Speech apply to selling junk food to children? This presentation by Marion Nestle will address such issues.

Marion Nestle is Visiting Professor in the Schools of Public Policy, Public Health, and Journalism at UC Berkeley and award winning author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002) and Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism (2003).

Speech will be followed by a discussion. All are welcome to participate, admission and snacks and beverages are free!

Limited seating - please arrive early

This Event is part of the Food Politics Spring 2006 lecture series
Normally held Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m.
in Room 250, Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California, Berkeley
These events are free and the public is welcome.

Upcoming events....

March 1
Michele Simon Adjunct Prof., University of Calif., Hastings College of the Law, & Dir., Center for Informed Food Choices How Big Food Resists Government Regulation: Corporate Spin in the Obesity Debate

March 8
Paul Rozin Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Prof. of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania Why, What, and When Do We Eat: Implications for Food Policy

March 15
Alice Waters Restaurateur (Chez Panisse), Author, Advocate Changing the World, One Meal at a Time

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