Queering Agriculture: Food Security in the Nation’s Capital and the Crises of Reproductive American Familism

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So why queer agriculture? This seems like an odd question but becomes more obvious with research and analysis. This talk highlights vital ways queering and trans-ing ideas and practices of agriculture are necessary for more sustainable, sovereign, and equitable food systems for the creatures and systems involved in systemic reproductions that feed humans and other creatures. Since agriculture is literally the backbone of economics, politics, and “civilized” life as we know it, and the manipulation of reproduction and sexuality are a foundation of agriculture, it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture. This talk highlights the normative ways that popular culture, food activism, and government regulations have framed sustainable food systems in the United States. By focusing on popular culture representations and government legislation since 9/11, it will become clearer how the growing popularity of sustainable food is laden with anthroheterocentric assumptions of the “good life” coupled with idealized images and ideas of the American farm, and gender, radicalized and normative standards of health, family, and nation.

Bailey Kier is Ph.D candidate in American Studies and an Administrative Coordinator at the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from a white working class community in the Cascade Mountains of Western Washington, Kier’s work is heavily influenced from the simultaneous beauty, devastation, poverty, and libertarianism of the logging and mining cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Kier’s dissertation “An American River: A Queer Geography of the Potomac River Basin and Environmentalism in the Nation’s Capitol” examines how mainstream environmentalism has not merely been the benevolent project it’s often represented as, but instead can more accurately be described as the management of populations, resources, and species. Kier’s work has been published in Women and Performance, The Transgender Studies Reader 2, and The New Inquiry. Kier’s research interests include queer ecologies, hydrology, natural history, transgender studies, and studies of science.

Part of the CSSC 2014-15 Speaker Series and co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for New Media