Through a Vegan Studies Lens: My Chapter on Nonviolence and Veganism

While I primarily post vegetarian recipes and restaurant reviews, I am an academic at heart who is committed to making philosophy understood by a wider audience. Vegetarianism is not just a healthy way of eating for me, but it is a means of active resistance against the unethical factory-farming industry. It is a way of life, a means of resisting so many oppressive structures in our society – though of course much more needs to happen than solely veganism.

In the past 10 years, vegan studies and food studies have become more recognized within the academic and public spheres given the reality of our ecological crisis.  More and more people are embracing plant-based diets and are becoming more conscious of what they put into their bodies.  What we eat is so profound, it is our connection to the Earth and impacts everyone and everything.

In the new book Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism, which is a collection of essays on veganism, I discuss how veganism can be a political act of resistance through my chapter, “Nonviolence through Veganism: An Antiracist Postcolonial Strategy for Healing, Agency, and Respect.”

I understand how the name Through a Vegan Studies Lens can be off-putting if one doesn’t identify with veganism given its connotations to white, bourgeoisie society. This connotation is a complete mischaracterization of plant-based eating.  Many pre-colonial and indigenous societies were plant-based and European colonizers forced Eurocentric norms of nutrition upon these populations.

Plant-based eating is not just a rich, white trend, it has been practiced for thousands of years and is in fact cheaper to eat beans and vegetables over meat and dairy.  Meat and dairy have always been associated with Western virility so reclaiming one’s diet can be a means of resistance.

In the passage below I explore how veganism is not just an individualistic act, but a collective act towards regaining agency and resisting the exploitative factory-farming industry that hurts animals, workers, and the ecosystem:

“Veganism can be a powerful tool for oppressed individuals, especially for women of color, whose bodies have been marked by the social and historical context of colonization, slavery, sexism, capitalism, and racism.  Veganism can be a radical act of self-love.  In fact, decolonizing the body, decolonizing desire, and decolonizing nutrition are a powerful means of gaining agency within one’s everyday life…”

I feel incredibly lucky to combine my passion for philosophy and veganism together.  I believe philosophy can be a means of activism when it is applied and this is what I aim to do in my writing and blog.

The rest of the book explores what “vegan studies” is through ecocriticism, feminism, globalism, anti-racism.  It can be found on amazon if you’d like to purchase it.

How do we continue to apply our theories to our “lived activism” to make the world a more equitable place?  I will continue to explore these kinds of questions in my work as a scholar and food blogger.

  • If you are interested in hearing more about my chapter and this book, I will be a guest on Reality Radio on 98.3FM this Tuesday, February 26th from 5-7pm CST.  It will be live streaming here with the video (and can be watched after the show).  You can also check out the WLWR radio website for live streaming.
  • Check out this book trailer from the University of Nevada Press!
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