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Immigrant Labor, Food Politics: A Discussion with Four Authors

  • Sheraton New York Times Square 811 7th Ave. New York, NY 10019 (map)

Join us at the Latin American Studies Association's annual meeting (Chelsea Room), where four authors of recent books will discuss immigrant workers’ contested and changing roles in the U.S. food system. Bridging disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, and political science—and sites in the food industry ranging from poultry processing plants, slaughterhouses, and industrial agribusiness to organic farms—the authors address a consistent set of questions: Why are immigrants increasingly filling jobs in the food production industry, and how does the U.S. food industry profit from immigrants’ vulnerabilities? How do U.S. labor and immigration policies structure the labor process, and how does the way we harvest and process our food affect those who do the work? Moreover, what role can scholars play in creating a new ethic of responsible consumption that incorporates labor concerns? Books discussed include: Labor and the Locavore (Gray 2013); They Leave their Kidneys in the Fields (Horton 2016); On the Line (Ribas 2015); and Scratching Out a Living (Stuesse 2016); with moderator and discussant Steve Striffler. By contributing fresh perspectives on immigrants’ work in hard-to-access plants, slaughterhouses, and farms, the authors illuminate the hidden human costs of how we make our food.