Allison Carruth is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the English Department, Institute for Society and Genetics and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She is a co-founder of the collaborative public art and community engagement project called Play the LA River. From 2011-2012, she served as the Associate Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Stanford University. Her research and teaching are primarily in the fields of American literature and culture (especially since 1945), food studies, new media art, science and technology studies and the environmental humanities.
The author of Global Appetites: American Power and the Literature of Food (Cambridge UP 2013), she is currently focused on two areas of research: first, the interplay of regional food cultures and transnational environmental movements since the 1980s (as seen, for example, in narratives, participatory art projects and grassroots activism related to seeds) and, second, the environmental rhetorics and material impacts of the Internet. Connecting these areas of inquiry is her current book project, Digital Utopias, Network Ecologies: Environmental Culture & Crisis in the Information Age along with a planned online publishing platform that will feature curated essays, interviews and primary materials related to the book’s core questions: How have often utopian visions of digital innovation and network computing taken shape since the Cold War? How do those visions compare to contemporaneous concerns with ecology, climate change and planetary precarity? In what ways has the digital age shaped environmental storytelling and art as well as ecological science? And, finally, how can humanities research help to make visible the ecological ramifications of the Internet itself? These projects aim to bridge the gap between two divergent visions of the twenty-first-century that circulate widely in contemporary American culture: one focused on technological innovation and the other on environmental crisis.
Professor Carruth is also currently co-authoring the book Literature and Food Studies with Amy L. Tigner and conducting longer term research on avant-garde aesthetics related to food in the context of the multifaceted history of culinary experimentation. She has published widely in forums such as KCET Artbound, Modern Drama, Modern Fiction Studies, Modernism/Modernity, Parallax, Public Culture, Public Books and Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities as well as in book collections from Oxford UP and Routledge. She has also organized several major conferences and symposia, including a 2011 international conference entitled Food Justice with the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.