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International Seminar Series: “Cruelty-Free” and the Commodity Chain

Wednesday, September 20th 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Event Description

Title of Presentation: “Cruelty-Free” and the Commodity Chain: Applications of the Black Radical Tradition in Ethical Veganism.

Speaker: Amie “Breeze” Harper, Ph.D. Author, speaker and diversity strategist and analyst with Critical Diversity Solutions; founder of the Sistah Vegan Project.

Presentation Overview: Dr. Harper will discuss ethical marketing schemes of “Cruelty-free” and “sustainable” by analyzing particular vegan food items. Normally constructed as “cruelty-free” because no animals are harmed, these commodities are sold as “ethical” to thousands of vegan consumers in the USA. However, through decolonial and critical race framing of the food commodity chain, Dr. Harper will show how neoliberal capitalism, race, and ethics converge through the marketing and unethical sourcing of ingredients found in So Delicious ice-cream to the global production of cocoa on the Ivory Coast.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Harper has a PhD in Geography (2013 University of California, Davis) and a MA in Educational Technologies (emphasis in black feminist theory, social impact, and educational technologies) from Harvard University. She has 10+ years career experience as a diversity and inclusion consultant, ranging from curriculum development, to conference planning, to research and reporting, to publishing books and articles. Dr. Harper created and edited the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society.

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
Old Main
(309) 438-4636