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Alison Alkon

Associate Professor of Sociology and Department Chair


Phone: 209.946.2930


WPC 206


PhD, University of California, Davis, 2008

MA, University of California, Davis, 2003

BA, Emory University, 1999

Curriculum Vitae 

Teaching Philosophy

I approach teaching with the assumption that students' situated knowledges are valuable material through which we can understand sociological ideas. In the tradition of C. Wright Mills' The Sociological Imagination, I encourage students to delve into the "public issues" that have shaped their "private troubles." My courses emphasize student-centered learning, and require active participation. To this end, I use a variety of strategies including small groups, activities, projects, current events and the deconstruction of popular media. Students may find this approach more demanding than a traditional lecture model, but are rewarded with strengthened reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Additionally, I hope students emerge from my classes with a thoughtful, engaged and articulate perspective on current affairs and social interaction.

Scholarly Interest

My research seeks to understand and advocate for food justice by exploring the ways that racial and economic identities and inequalities affect efforts to create sustainable food systems. 

My third book, an edited volume called The New Food Activism, is due out in late 2016. While much of the work toward making food systems more sustainable and socially just has taken the form of alternative products and forms of exchange, this book chronicles legislative campaigns to restrict the power of industrial producers and processors, and to amplify the power of workers. 

I am also beginning a project exploring how gentrification affects food activism in Oakland, California. This book will bring my previous work on race, class and food systems into contact with questions of how cities change and how that affects various communities.


SOCI 079 Social Psychology

SOCI 108 Food, Culture and Society

Fieldwork, Environmental Sociology