Kate Cairns is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University. Her work draws upon feminist, interdisciplinary perspectives to explore how children and youth are positioned as the promise of collective futures. She has investigated this question across multiple realms, including neoliberal education, 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.

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.


Recent News and Media Appearances:

Read a piece in SNJ Today on Kate’s research exploring how youth support mothers in the context of food insecurity. (January 26, 2018)

Read Kate’s coauthored piece with David I. Backer in Viewpoint Magazine, Movement Pedagogy: Beyond the Class/Identity Impasse. (December 2017)

Read Kate’s coauthored piece with Josée Johnston and Merin Oleschuk on the Gender & Society blog, “Calibrating Extremes: The Balancing Act of Maternal Foodwork.” (October 2017)

Read a French article featuring Kate’s research on gendered inequities in foodie culture, published in the Montreal magazine, Gazette des Femmes (Feb. 3, 2017).

Read a 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)

Read Kate’s piece in Huffington Post Canada on the inequities of holiday foodwork, coauthored with Merin Oleschuk and Josée Johnston. (Dec. 20, 2016)

Listen to Kate’s interview on Racist Sandwich, a podcast that explores how food intersects with race, gender, and class. (June 29, 2016)

In Fall 2015, Kate was featured in the Children and Youth Section Newsletter of the American Sociological Association.

Listen to Kate’s interview on WHYY’s NewsWorks Tonight, discussing her coauthored book, Food and Femininity. (Dec. 24, 2015)

Read about Kate’s research on the pressures mothers face when feeding children. (Rutgers Today Feature, Dec. 11, 2015)

Listen to Kate’s interview with Slate’s “Mom and Dad Are Fighting” about her research on the “organic child” (segment begins at 14:05).



December 2018: Read the Department of Childhood Studies Faculty Statement in Support of Graduate Students

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