Noliwe Rooks: Michelle Obama, Food Justice, and the Big Business of Poverty in the South Bronx

Noliwe Rooks
Noliwe Rooks during her lecture in Kaufmann Auditorium William Staffeld / AAP
Crowd protesting in South Bronx street
The South Bronx. photo / provided
Noliwe Rooks during her lecture in Kaufmann Auditorium William Staffeld / AAP The South Bronx. photo / provided

CRP 2015 Spring Colloquium Series

Noliwe Rooks is currently an associate professor in Africana Studies at Cornell where she is also the director of graduate studies. An interdisciplinary scholar, her work explores how race and gender both impact and are impacted by popular culture, social history, and political life in the U.S. She is the author of three books. The first, Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture and African American Women (London and New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997) won both the 1997 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Book, and the Public Library Associations 1997 award for Outstanding University Press Book. Her second, Ladies Pages: African American Women’s Magazines and the Culture that Made Them (London and New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2004), and her most recent, White Money/Black Power: African American Studies and the Crises of Race in Higher Education (Beacon Press, 2006). She is currently working on a book about how race, segregation, and gentrification have impacted public education in urban areas. She received her B.A. from Spelman College where she majored in English and graduated with honors, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American studies from the University of Iowa.

Abstract:

This talk looks at how First Lady Michelle Obama's focus on health and exercise for children has led to a number of largely unnoticed public policy battles between the White House and big agriculture around the economics of food justice for communities (e.g., the South Bronx) that are overwhelmingly of color and poor. It also discusses some of the ways the people who live in such spaces have responded.