Kara Young is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University and an affiliated faculty member with the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformations. She studies and writes about food choice, health and inequality, social stratification, and racial disparities.
Kara's work examines how racial, class, and gender inequalities get reproduced through cultural beliefs, micro-interactions and embodied practices. Using in-depth interviews and ethnography, she has explored this question through the topics of cultural production, social capital activation, and food consumption.
Her current project, Eating Aspirations, Eating Abjections, interrogates how inequalities of race, class, and food access shape people's daily food consumption practices and food related health aspirations in the context of two neighborhoods located in Oakland, California – a neighborhood with a variety of grocery stores close by and a neighborhood with none. Through in-depth interviews and extended observations, she examines the meanings that people attach to the food options available around them, how they organize their practices within the set of choices available to them, and how they feel about themselves as they succeed and fail at approximating their health and eating aspirations from day-to-day. She uses the results of this study to build theory around larger questions of how racial and class inequality get produced and reproduced through our everyday mundane practices and how neighborhoods matter in shaping stratified health outcomes.
During her time at UC Berkeley, she served as an organizer and fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute, a fellow at the Center for Research on Social Change, and a graduate student in residence at the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine.
Photo courtesy of Bethanie Hines Photography
Watch Kara moderate the panel "Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley"
hosted by the Berkeley Food Institute.