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Sean Gillon, Ph.D.

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Department of Food Systems & Society
Associate Faculty


Ph.D., Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
MA, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
BA, Global Studies, University of Iowa

Classes Taught
Food Systems and Inquiry
Food, Policy and Culture
Program Intensives


Raised in Iowa, Sean Gillon marveled at the contradictory impulses of the contemporary food system; his immigrating family depended on agricultural industry, while he observed first hand its social and ecological costs. This influenced his interests in food and agricultural systems and the practical problems we have encountered in their development.

He has managed small farming operations, conducted research for community food groups working toward social justice, founded and served as director for nonprofit organizations, and worked as a produce buyer. His approach to research and teaching is interdisciplinary, problem-focused and aims toward practical, postive food and agricultural policy change.

His research engagements have included analyses of the politics of organic food regulation, the social and ecological dimension of biofuel production, livestock production and meat industry labor, nutrient managment in dairy agriculture, and agroecological practice. 

As a teacher and instructor, Dr. Gillon believes his role is to move students from knowledge assimilation toward asking and answering their own questions. His aim is to encourage student to become lifelong, active learners and engaged citizens. His teaching emphasizes synthetic and critical reading, writing and thinking skills development, engaging discussion, and applying learned knowledge and skills to praxis. 

Selected Publications

Stuart, D. and S. Gillon. 2013. Scaling up to address new challenges for conservation on US farmland. Land Use Policy 31: 223-236.

Gillon, S. 2012. US biofuel production as climate tolicy: Tensions between greenhouse gas governance, agricultural economies, and agroecological practice. Norteamérica 7: 129- 164.

Gillon, S. 2012. Critical geographies of meat? Antipode Foundation.

Gillon, S. 2012. Security, scarcity and the political pipeline. Antipode Foundation.

Gillon, S. 2010. Fields of dreams: Negotiating an ethanol agenda in the Midwest United States. The Journal of Peasant Studies: Critical Perspectives on Rural Politics and Development. 37(4): 723-748.

Gillon, S. 2010. Appropriationism. In P. Robbins, D. Mulvaney and J.G. Golson (Eds.). Green Food Reference. London: Sage.

Gillon, S. 2010. Substitutionism. In P. Robbins, D. Mulvaney and J.G. Golson (Eds.). Green Food Reference. London: Sage.

DuPuis, E.M. and S. Gillon. 2009. Alternative modes of governance: Organic as civic engagement. Agriculture and Human Values 26(1-2): 43-56.

Gillion, S., L. Minkoff, and R. Thistlewaite. 2007. Grounding Ourselves: Innovative Land Tenure Models in California and Beyond. California Food and Justice Network Working Paper. Community Food Security Coaltion.

Related News

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Kristy Athens Talks on Food Choices

Kristy Athens, food systems & society student, will tour the state as part of the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project speaking on the impact of food choices in spring 2015.


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May 15, 2015

Food Systems & Society Thesis Presentation

Thesis presentations by degree candidates in the M.S. in Food Systems & Society program. Presentations will last an hour and fifteen minutes, sched...


May 16, 2015

Food Systems & Society Celebration of Achievement

We invite you to celebrate the accomplishments of our inaugural cohort in the M.S. in Food Systems & Society program. Learn about our students' eng...


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