Social Sciences Professor Julie Guthman wins 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship

Photo of Julie Guthman
The Guggenheim Fellowship will allow Julie Guthman to focus on writing a book about a soil pathogen that has shaped the evolution of commercial strawberry production in California. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.)
Cover of Julie Guthman's book Agrarian Dreams
The second edition of Guthman's breakthrough book, Agrarian Dreams, revisited the subject of organic farming in California in light of widespread consumer acceptance of organic food, and the political and market forces that shape the industry.

Julie Guthman, a professor of social sciences and a leading scholar on the history and geography of California agriculture, has been awarded a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Guthman is one of 173 scholars, artists, and scientists recognized by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, selected from among nearly 3,000 applications. Guggenheim Fellows are selected on the basis of past achievement and the promise of future accomplishment.

Guthman, a UCSC alumna (B.A., sociology, 1979) who joined the UC Santa Cruz faculty in 2003, is well known for her research on sustainable agriculture and alternative food movements. A proponent of organic agriculture, she nevertheless brings a keen and critical eye to the political-economy of sustainable food production.

Guthman's first book, Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California, published in 2004, was the first comprehensive study of organic agriculture in California. A second edition, published in 2014, revisited the subject in light of widespread consumer acceptance of organic food, and the political and market forces that shape the industry, including organic regulation and certification.

Guthman's second book, Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, challenged many widely held assumptions about the "obesity epidemic." Her forthcoming book, co-edited with Alison Alkon, is The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action; it is due out in late 2017. She is also the author of more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Each 2017 Guggenheim Fellow receives approximately $50,000 to support in-depth work on a project. Guthman will focus on a book project about a soil pathogen, Verticillium dahliae, that has bedeviled strawberry growers and shaped the evolution of commercial strawberry production.

Scholars at UC Santa Cruz have received more than 50 Guggenheim Fellowships since the campus opened in 1965. The Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $350 million in fellowships to 18,000 people since its establishment in 1925.

"These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best," said Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation. "It's an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do."