The Humans

Stephanie Maroney, UC Davis (Cultural Studies), is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at UC Davis with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research. At the intersection of food studies and food science, her dissertation project explores how the science of the human microbiome shapes advice about what to eat and the discourse of good health. She examines the production of knowledge and subjectivities in dietary advice aimed at the microbiome by tracing a narrative thread in microbiome science, which suggests that modern life has produced an imbalanced “western gut.”

Andy Murray, UC Santa Cruz (Sociology), is a PhD candidate in sociology and a Science and Justice Research Center fellow. His dissertation work focuses on different uses of fermentation as a productive process. His broad interests include science and technology studies, multispecies ethnography, and agrifood studies.

Melina Packer, UC Berkeley (Environmental Science, Policy, and Management), is a PhD student who engages with food- and health-related social movements through an intersectional feminist lens. She is particularly interested in how (post-) industrial capitalist agriculture transforms both land—landscapes— and (human) bodies—“bodyscapes.” Her research approach and questions are deeply indebted to political ecology and feminist science and technology studies.

Tamar (Tami) Schneider, UC Davis (Philosophy), is a PhD student in philosophy interested in possible overlaps and intersections between the individual and its surrounding environment and the biological and cultural implications of this ecological view. Perceiving the individual as the outcome of nature or nurture is deeply rooted in biomedical research, influencing perceptions of healthiness and sickness, which leads to the question of borders, boundaries, and their meaning in societies. Tamar’s M.A. in philosophy from Tel-Aviv university was about the conceptualization of the gut symbiosis as a developmental process and the change in perspectives of the immune system from the body protector to mediator of interactions with bacteria.

Melissa Wills, UC Davis (English), is developing a dissertation that examines the recent history and cultural representations of American microbiome research. She holds a BS in microbiology and is invested in contemporary science issues, feminist science and technology studies, theories of aesthetics and bioart, and science fiction.

Alissa Aron, UC Davis (Cultural Studies), has a background in environmental chemistry,  viticulture and enology and the history of science. In her PhD, she is interested in bringing approaches of cultural studies and STS to analyze alternative forms of agricultural practices and food production. In particular, her research focuses on modes of agriculture that toy with the boundaries of what is or is not considered ‘scientific’ (i.e. biodynamic farming) and on uses of science and technology to produce consumable products that call into question our understandings of what counts as food (i.e. disruptive food technologies).

Nick Anderman, UC Berkeley (Geography) is interested in industrial maritime infrastructure, the ontological and ethical status of microbes, the geography of outer space, and sound studies. 

Mel Jenske, UC San Francisco (Sociology)



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