Virtual Event: Priya Fielding-Singh


How the Other Half Eats:
The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America

in conversation with TOMÁS R. JIMÉNEZ


November 17, 2021
7:00 PM ET


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Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes PRIYA FIELDING-SINGH—Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah—for a discussion of her book How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America. She will be joined in conversation by TOMÁS R. JIMÉNEZ, professor of Sociology at Stanford University. 

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About How the Other Half Eats

Inequality in America manifests in many ways, but perhaps nowhere more than in how we eat. From her years of field research, sociologist and ethnographer Priya Fielding-Singh brings us into the kitchens of dozens of families from varied educational, economic, and ethnoracial backgrounds to explore how—and why—we eat the way we do. We get to know four families intimately: the Bakers, a Black family living below the federal poverty line; the Williamses, a working-class white family just above it; the Ortegas, a middle-class Latinx family; and the Cains, an affluent white family.

Whether it's worrying about how far pantry provisions can stretch or whether there's enough time to get dinner on the table before soccer practice, all families have unique experiences that reveal their particular dietary constraints and challenges. By diving into the nuances of these families’ lives, Fielding-Singh lays bare the limits of efforts narrowly focused on improving families’ food access. Instead, she reveals how being rich or poor in America impacts something even more fundamental than the food families can afford: these experiences impact the very meaning of food itself.

Packed with lyrical storytelling and groundbreaking research, as well as Fielding-Singh’s personal experiences with food as a biracial, South Asian American woman, How the Other Half Eats illuminates exactly how inequality starts on the dinner plate. Once you’ve taken a seat at tables across America, you’ll never think about class, food, and public health the same way again.

Praise for How the Other Half Eats

"Bold, eye-opening, and deeply moving, How the Other Half Eats is a must-read for anyone concerned about the well-being of American families. Fielding-Singh powerfully shows how sweeping, systemic inequities find their way onto our dinner plates and impact our health and wellness. This compassionate and captivating book resonated with me as a physician caring for my patients and as a mother striving to do right by my children." —Dr. Leana Wen, author of Lifelines

How the Other Half Eats overturns the conventional wisdom about childhood obesity, food deserts, and nutritional inequality, replacing it with a profound and compelling ground truth. Fielding-Singh shows us how inequalities in families' diets do not stem from the negligence of some parents and the devotion of others. Rather, the food that graces the plates of all children—rich and poor, Black and white—reflects mothers' deep-seated love and commitment to their kids' well-being. Honest, incisive, and illuminating, How the Other Half Eats is the book we need about food and inequality in America.” —Kathryn Edin, author of $2 a Day

“In this intimate and revealing chronicle, Fielding-Singh has done us a great service by revealing myth-busting truths about poverty, wealth, hunger, and abundance. More than that, she does it in a way that shows how knowledge might be shared compassionately, in the best tradition of engaged scholar-activism. This isn’t just undercover journalism, but an epistemology of the American dining table. After reading it, you’ll never be able to claim you didn’t know, or know how to know, how the other half eats.” —Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

Priya Fielding-Singh
Priya Fielding-Singh

Priya Fielding-Singh

Priya Fielding-Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah, where she researches, teaches, and writes about families, health, and inequality in America. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University and completed her postdoctoral training as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Stanford School of Medicine. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and daughter.

Photo Credit: Vero Kherian Photography

Tomás R. Jiménez
Tomás R. Jiménez

Tomás R. Jiménez

Tomás Jiménez is a Professor of Sociology and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and the Robert and Ruth Halperin University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is also Director of the Undergraduate Program on Urban Studies. His research and writing focus on immigration, assimilation, social mobility, and ethnic and racial identity. His books include States of Belonging: Immigration Policies, Attitudes, and Inclusion, The Other Side of Assimilation: How Immigrants are Changing American Life, and and Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity.


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