Lecture Notes: Kim Hall, “Toward a Queer Crip Feminist Politics of Food,” at UCSB

April 22, 2013
University of California, Santa Barbara

This is an unabridged version of my lecture notes from “Toward a Queer Crip Feminist Politics of Food.” Apologies for inaccuracies/omissions/misattribution – Hall’s talk was incredibly rich and I struggled to keep up with condensing everything to 140 characters at some points!
Getting ready to live tweet a lecture by Kim Hall, “Toward a Queer Crip Feminist Politics of Food,” at UCSB. Filter #QCFF if desired.
#QCFF held as part of the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s New Sexualities Research Focus Group. bit.ly/1277qC4
Sponsored by lots and lots of departments/orgs on campus. See flyer for details! bit.ly/1277Bxa #QCFF
Introductions by Mireille Miller-Young, prof of Feminist Studies, and Carly Thomsen, Ph.D. student in Feminist Studies. #QCFF
Kim Hall is Prof of Philosophy at Appalachian State University. bit.ly/1278XI5 #QCFF
“Every culture has its own food.” – Hahn on disability and food. Crip food = fast food bc of ease? #QCFF
Fast food also disables people, environments, cultures. #QCFF
Pollen food rules: don’t eat what yr grt-grandma wdn’t recog; eat foods u can picture; it’s not food if it arrives thru window of car #QCFF
KH goes on to complicate these rules: they are built on assumptions of race, women as keepers of cultures #QCFF
transparency of what food is “supposed” to look like touches on assump that things should seem what they are- what ab queer/trans ppl? #QCFF
Really enjoying KH’s breakdown of food assumptions; such an inspiring exercise of interdisciplinary critique #QCFF
KH: Disability studies and queer theory have largely ignored food studies, despite all of these productive points of contact. #QCFF
Queer Crip Feminist politics of food sees coalitional possibilities between disability and other movements #QCFF
KH wants to substitute Food Justice for Food Sustainability; sustainability = neoliberal concept #QCFF
McGruer: chunk of concrete as metaphor for coalitional framework; disability studies takes sledgehammer to what has been concretized #QCFF
Paradox of position of critiquing identity-based politics while refusing to dissolve identity #QCFF
Critique: Feminism played role in normalizing industrialized food production? KH says it is more complicated, not “fault” of feminism #QCFF
KH: Metaphysics of compost: understanding of food that conceives it as network of relationships #QCFF
Food as medicine approach mirrors eugenics approach to disability: bodies need to be “fixed,” regulated, protected from disability #QCFF
Alternative food movements mark class/race diff, inscribe hierarchies, mark certain cultural practices as unhealthy (unsanitary) #QCFF
Hygienic eating as way to produce healthy (clean) citizens, starts with good consumer choices. #QCFF
Hygienic eating as way to produce healthy (clean) citizens, starts with good consumer choices. #QCFF
self-improvement through eating “appropriate” food is a security practice aimed at protecting public from contamination #QCFF
On Sinclair/The Jungle: class-privileged whites concerned with protecting selves from unsanitary workers in food production #QCFF
On Behind the Kitchen Door: Notions of sustainability include workers’ rights, but underlying concern is for cleanliness of food/self #QCFF
To motivate ppl to care about workers, first mobilize fear of contamination, which has racist discourse of superiority #QCFF
Accessibility in restaurant industry: NOT about access per se, but how environments are exploitative #QCFF
#QCFF MT @AliceDreger: @NazcaTheMad So are you saying b/c I feel healthier off gluten and am migraine-free off milk I’m a eugnicist?
Food security – all ppl have access to food to lead healthy & active lives; what are the meanings of “access” from crip fem persp? #QCFF
Growing power mvmt = example of how revolutionary mvmts can be coopted in ways that negate radical potential #QCFF
Black communities & farming: historical desire to distance from agriculture, lack of access to land, poverty & location in urban env #QCFF
Addressing food insecurity via “growing power” = narrative of self-sufficiency, overlooks possibilities of valuing interdependence #QCFF
In crip, feminist perspectives, self-sufficiency is an illusion. Interdependence between dependent actors is closer to reality. #QCFF
Interdependence: openness to the not-yet; farming as being helpless to other factors #QCFF
(<3 ❤ ❤ emphasis on interdependence. We are not islands) #QCFF
#QCFF attends to interactive, interdependent nature of foods; there are no “pure” foods
Interdependence is considered disabling in an ableist society. Relying on others sucks. #QCFF
KH not trying to defend processed food, but what it means for food to be good is in part a realization of a community #QCFF
No pure food, no pure food choice – what do you do? #QCFF
Metaphysics of compost – simultaneously decay & life. Worms question division of sexes. Interdependence of food, rot, ickiness #QCFF
#QCFF has 3 features: 1. critique of discourses of normalization/purity in food, 2. resistance to conception of food as cure, medicine ( )
Q&A: Whole Foods as putting “healthy”/”responsible” food choices in service of capitalism for a privileged few #QCFF
In some places (particularly low-income, rural areas), Walmart… is the only place to go. What to do then? #QCFF
KH: Never easy to tease out necessities of life from political efficacy; but some language can foreclose possibility for coalition #QCFF
On new materialism: thinking about body as an openness to the world. Is dirt something “other” than us? Or are we enmeshed in it #QCFF
On animal studies: troubling distinction bt non/human. Dehumanization of the disabled is one place this is particularly relevant #QCFF
On troubling food mvmt: sometimes the “right” thing is not only about the properties of what we eat. #QCFF
There is a certain amount of living with harm (responsibly) that we must endure #QCFF
On the human as food: this is one of the distinctions that we make – humans are not food. But that’s silly bc we totes are. #QCFF
From dirt to crocodile attacks – humans are food. #QCFF
#QCFF RT @leighalexander: my cat stole a chicken wing and watching her attempt to eat it is so hilarious i’m not even mad
Individual acts like reduce/reuse/recycle/eating habits will only go so far. We need more policies. #QCFF
On food and fitness culture: connecting to eg Michelle Obama’s fitness imperatives; connecting fitness, healthy bodies to nationalism #QCFF
KH: Queer theory needs a concept of futurity, responsibility for the future. But it should NOT be reproductive. #QCFF
KH: Kind of irresponsible for queer theory not to conceptualize a future that we can, should intervene on. #QCFF
Thanks to the New Sexualities Research Focus Group, Carly Thomsen, and Lauren Clark for organizing such an awesome event.

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