Upcoming BHSU Geek Speak to examine food scares through the concept of moral panic

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, January 23, 2017/Categories: 2017

Dr. Trenton Ellis, assistant professor of human services at BHSU, will explore food scares through the concept of moral panic in his Geek Speak lecture Thursday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110 at BHSU.

Dr. Trenton Ellis, assistant professor of human services and sociology, will examine food scares in the next Geek Speak lecture at Black Hills State University.

Ellis will present "Panic! At the Meat Department. Food Scares as Moral Panics," Thursday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall room 110 on the BHSU campus. Ellis will use the case of the 2012 "Pink Slime" or "lean finely-textured beef" food scare to explore how society responds to the social construction of food scares, especially how different actors assemble and work to control public perception of the food item during a scare.

"I hope people come away more conscious of the actors out there who compete for our perception of food, and some understanding of how this competition can change the food system. I also hope that people can see how our lack of knowledge about food and food production can make us susceptible to fear and anxiety about food," says Ellis.

This Geek Speak coincides with Ellis' personal mission to demonstrate our shared experiences through the study of sociology, or the study of social behavior or society.   

Ellis believes a sociological perspective of food recognizes that eating is a social interaction. Ellis says food is social in the sense that it is a product of complex relationships.

"Farmers, laborers, academics, marketers, scientists, ecosystems, and many other actors all form relationships to feed people around the world. I think it is important for consumers to critically interrogate these relationships because food has such an enormous impact on human rights, the health of consumers, and the health of our planet," adds Ellis.

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.

For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email Courtney.HuseWika@BHSU.edu.

In addition to the on-campus presentations, some Geek Speaks will also be presented at the Jacket Zone store in downtown Spearfish.

The following on-campus Geek Speak presentations, which are held Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110, are scheduled for this semester:
  • Jan. 27, Special Friday Geek Speak in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day, "Stunde Null: The Holocaust and Memory after 1945" by Dr. Adam Blackler, assistant professor of history
  • Feb. 2, "Prejudice, Privilege, & Perseverance Through the Lens of Disney's Zootopia" by Erica Whitiker, student engagement program coordinator
  • Feb. 9, "Mathematical Music: Bob Dylan's Extra-Lyrical Artistry," by Dr. Justin Tremel
  • Feb. 16, "Who is the Reluctant Celebrity? - Crazy Horse, Korczak Ziolkowski, Chief Henry Standing Bear, or a University and Medical Training Center" by Dr. Jeffrey Wehrung, assistant professor of management.
  • *Bonus Pre-Speak! "Who is the Reluctant Celebrity" will also be hosted at the Jacket Zone at 1:30 p.m. at 617 Main Street and again at 4:00 p.m. in Jonas 110 on the BHSU Spearfish campus.  Contact the Jacket Zone at 717-5801.
  • Feb. 23, "Truly Revolution? The Haitian Revolution and its Legacy" by Dr. Jason Daniels, assistant professor of history
  • March 2, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman" Seminal Voices in Feminist Theory" by Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, professor of sociology Dr. Trenton Ellis, assistant professor of human services and Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, assistant professor of English
  • March 16, "Advocating for the Protection of Native Women Through Theatrical, Spoken Word and Slam Poetry Performances" by Dr. Nikki Dragone, assistant professor of English
  • March 23, "Learn Abstract Mathematics By DOING Something" by Dr. Dan May, assistant professor of mathematics
  • March 30, "Bad Bureaucrats? The Future of Whistleblowing in a Post-Snowden World" by BHSU alum and Ph.D. student Cody Drolc
  • April 6, "From Blake to the Beatles and Beyond: The Legacy of Romanticism" by Dr. Martin Fashbaugh, assistant professor of English
  • April 20, "Metapatterns" by Dr. Liz Fayer, instructor/coordinator Project SECOND, and Dr. Joanna Jones, former BHSU professor
  • April 27, "Madness in Popular Culture: The 'Insanity' of Women, by Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, professor of sociology
For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email Courtney.HuseWika@BHSU.edu.
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