Rediscovering Hunger: The Human Right to Food and US Politics in the 1970s
David Evans (History, UConn)
with a response by Kathryn Angelica (History, UConn)
Wednesday, October 4, 2023, 12:15pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)
The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.
“Rediscovering Hunger” examines the political struggle surrounding the effort to embed the human right to food into US foreign and domestic policy in the mid-1970s. Following a disastrous world food crisis that lasted from 1973-1974, US citizens and political leaders re-awoke to the ethical problem that hunger presented. The promise of the modernization projects of the 1960s gave way to a reality in which wealthy countries remained well-fed, the global poor starved and suffered. Therefore in 1976, various US Congressional leaders, supported by a broad coalition of religious and secular activists, sought to establish the human right to food in US policy. The effort represented one of the earliest efforts in a wider human rights project that came to dominate US politics by the end of the decade. The episode also illustrated the constraints of effectively achieving human rights, as food producers and market fundamentalists contested the meaning and viability of the human right to food despite its moral universality.
David Evans is a doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut where he studies the history of human rights, US foreign relations, and agricultural diplomacy. His dissertation “Hunger for Rights: Establishing the Human Right to Food, 1933–1988” explores how politicians, internationalists, and activists envisioned the human right to food, first within the discourse of international economic development, and then as a point of contention between advocates for social justice and supporters of deregulatory market policies. David is a husband and father to two children. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before pursuing his academic career, David served eight years in the United States Marine Corps.
Kathryn Angelica is Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. Her research interests include gender & sexuality, women’s activism, and African American history in the nineteenth-century United States. While at UCHI, Kathryn will complete her dissertation “An Uneasy Alliance: Cooperation and Conflict in Nineteenth-Century Black and White Women’s Activism.”
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