Is caring for children a private or public responsibility? What (or whom) should be cared for collectively? Which activities count as care? How much is care worth and who decides? Why, in this political and environmental moment, is a new economy of care necessary and how can it be achieved? This talk addresses these questions by bringing the voices of frontline cafeteria workers, past and present, into an academic literature saturated with nutritionists, policymakers, and managers who rarely (if ever) come face-to-face with the children whose dietary fates they decide.
Jennifer Gaddis is an assistant professor of Civil Society and Community Studies at UW-Madison. Before joining the faculty at UW-Madison in 2014, she received her PhD in Environmental Studies from Yale University. As a transdisciplinary scholar, her research lies at the intersection of critical food studies, feminist economics, US political and social history, and environmental sociology. She has received fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, and multiple private foundations to support this work. Currently she is finishing her book manuscript The Labor of Lunch: A New Economics of Care in American Public Schools (under contract with University of California Press) while in residence at the Institute for Research in the Humanities.