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International Seminar Series: The Morality of Food

Wednesday, November 8th 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Event Description

Title of Presentation: The Morality of Food

Speaker: Richard Wilk, Ph.D, Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University Bloomington

Presentation Overview: Every day Americans think about foods that are “good” and “bad,” and see some kinds of eating as virtuous while others make them feel guilty. Many of us grow up feeling like wasting food is evil, and feeding other people is generous. There is every reason for food to have a close connection with morality – every religion has something to say about what we should and should not eat, and sharing food is the most fundamental act that binds us together, starting with a mother’s breast.  But what if these moral precepts actually get in the way of healthy eating? What if your generosity in feeding others actually makes them hate you? And how could our dislike for wasting food actually lead us to waste more of it? I will bring studies of everyday life to bear on these paradoxes, and explain why we should be cautious about dividing food into good and bad.

Speaker Bio: Richard Wilk is Distinguished Professor and Provost Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Indiana University where co-manages the Indiana University Food Institute and helped found the PhD program in Food Anthropology.  He has lived and worked in Belize for more than 40 years, but has recently begun fieldwork in Singapore with a Fulbright teaching and research Fellowship. Trained as an economic and ecological anthropologist, his research has covered many different aspects of global consumer culture.

Series Overview: The International Seminar Series offers the Illinois State campus and Bloomington-Normal communities weekly opportunities to learn about a wide range of international topics. Guest speakers are usually experts in their fields across a range of disciplines who cover a wide array of cultural, historical, political and social topics.

Series events have become one of the most popular internationally focused events on campus and continue to draw ever-growing crowds of students, faculty and community members. Audience members are given time at each event to raise questions to enable a two-way participation and learning.

International Seminar Series events are free and open to the public, and occur every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bone Student Center. The fall 2017 series will focus on food justice and sustainability.

If you will need special accommodations, please contact the event organizer.


Office of International Studies and Programs
(309) 438-5276


Bone Student Center
200 N. University Street
Normal, IL
Prairie Room North & Center
(309) 438-4636