Kate Cairns is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University. Her work brings a feminist perspective to the politics of childhood, with particular focus on how young people are positioned as the promise or threat of collective futures. She has investigated this dynamic across multiple realms, including neoliberal education reform, maternal foodwork, and urban agriculture. Kate is the coauthor of Food and Femininity (Bloomsbury 2015) and Introducing Sociology Using the Stuff of Everyday Life (Routledge 2017). Her current research examines efforts to connect children and young people with their food, theories of social reproduction, and youth struggles for environmental justice.
Kate is a member of the Common Worlds Research Collective, serves on the Gender & Society editorial board, and is an elected council member for the Consumers and Consumption section of the American Sociological Association.
New article out in Antipode: “Youth, Temporality, and Territorial Stigma: Finding Good in Camden, New Jersey.” (July, 2018)
Pre-proofs of an article coauthored with Norah MacKendrick and forthcoming in Signs: “The Polluted Child and Maternal Responsibility in the US Environmental Health Movement.” (June 2018)
New article in Children & Society: “Relational Foodwork: Young People and Food Insecurity.” Part of a special issue on “Children’s and young people’s food practices in contexts of poverty and inequality,” edited by Wendy Wills and Rebecca O’Connell. (May 2018)
SNJ Today on Kate’s research exploring how youth support mothers in the context of food insecurity. (January 26, 2018)
Coauthored piece with David I. Backer in Viewpoint Magazine, Movement Pedagogy: Beyond the Class/Identity Impasse. (December 2017)
Coauthored piece with Josée Johnston and Merin Oleschuk on the Gender & Society blog, “Calibrating Extremes: The Balancing Act of Maternal Foodwork.” (October 2017)
French article featuring Kate’s research on gendered inequities in foodie culture, published in the Montreal magazine, Gazette des Femmes (Feb. 3, 2017).
Blog post about the new textbook Kate coauthored with Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann, Introducing Sociology Using the Stuff of Everyday Life. (Jan. 4, 2017)
Article in Huffington Post Canada on the inequities of holiday foodwork, coauthored with Merin Oleschuk and Josée Johnston. (Dec. 20, 2016)
Interview on Racist Sandwich, a podcast that explores how food intersects with race, gender, and class. (June 29, 2016)
Feature in the Children and Youth Section Newsletter of the American Sociological Association.
Interview on WHYY’s NewsWorks Tonight, discussing her coauthored book, Food and Femininity. (Dec. 24, 2015)
Rutgers Today Feature on the pressures mothers face when feeding children. (Dec. 11, 2015)
December 2018: Read the Department of Childhood Studies Faculty Statement in Support of Graduate Students