Social Sciences Professor Julie Guthman wins Radcliffe Fellowship

Photo of Julie Guthman
Julie Guthman will spend a year at Harvard University, working on a book about the soil pathogen that has shaped the modern strawberry inudstry. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.)

Julie Guthman, professor of social sciences, has been awarded a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship that will support a year-long residential research project at Harvard University.

Guthman is one of more than 50 artists and scholars selected to participate in the program, which recognizes past achievement as well as exceptional promise.

It has been an extraordinary spring for Guthman, who received a Guggenheim Fellowship in early April.

Guthman is a geographer who has been widely recognized for her study of organic farming and sustainable agriculture in California, as well as for her critical analysis of the "obesity epidemic." She is an alumna of UC Santa Cruz (B.A., sociology, 1979) who joined the faculty in 2003.

The author of more than 40 articles and two books, Guthman has a third manuscript, co-edited with Alison Alkon, about food activism that is coming out later this year.

"Julie Guthman is an expert in California agriculture and alternative food systems, and these fellowships recognize her status at the forefront of this important scholarship," said Sheldon Kamieniecki, dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

As a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Guthman will spend the 2017-18 academic year in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with men and women at the forefront of the arts, journalism, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

Guthman will use the time to work on a book project tentatively titled "Wilted: Verticillium dahliae in the making and unmaking of California's strawberry industry." The book will examine how efforts to manage the soil pathogen gave rise to the modern strawberry industry.

As part of the fellowship, Guthman will deliver a public talk in October. Her topic, "Social Justice and the New Food Activism," examines how social justice concerns gave rise to approaches beyond organic and local. That talk will be part of HUBweek, a week of events in the Boston area designed to connect the public with area institutions and innovation; HUBweek coincides with Harvard's fall alumni reunion celebrations.