Rebecca A Gresh Phd Candidate

Section 1


Teaching Assistant of Sociology

Contact Information

Office Hours

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4-5

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Sociology of Consumption, Environmental Sociology, Transnational Sociology, Social Theory

Research Description

  • My research lies at the intersection of environmental sociology and sociology of consumption. I study two sides of contemporary struggles over the issues of global climate change, consumerism, and access to food, investigating the strategies of global food retail corporations as they aim to organize food consumers and supply chains across distant spaces, and the organization of alternative food movements as potential sites for contentious politics around these larger issues.

    My dissertation project, Food Deserts, Alternative Food Practices, and Supermarkets, examines the practice of locating global supermarkets in underserved communities, known as “food deserts,” as a solution to systemic problems of poverty that are framed in terms of hunger and health. My research demonstrates that it is not a lack of supermarkets that create food deserts, but rather that social policies and the supermarket industry create spaces of abundance on the one hand, and spaces of deprivation on the other. Using archival data to situate the social and environmental forces at play in the making of food deserts, and interviews of the contemporary alternative food movement in San Diego, this dissertation demonstrates a necessity for politics at multiple scales in the transformation to a more sustainable global food system.

    In 2010, I published a “Global Review of Sustainable Consumption Policies” for our campus Center for Global Studies, and published several California case studies in the edited volume Building Clean-Energy Industries and Green Jobs: Policy Innovations at the State and Local Government Level, by David J. Hess. Building on my dissertation work, my current projects include investigating the role of finance in escalating global food prices, and strategies of global retail capital and social movements in altering landscapes and imaginations of food production and consumption. A current manuscript in progress is titled, “Supermarkets, Space, and Power.”


  • Ph.D Sociology Program, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Advanced to Candidacy, Spring 2010
  • B.A., Cultural Anthropology, Magna cum Laude, University of California, San Diego, 2002
  • Minor in History

Distinctions / Awards

  • Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Fellow


  • Introduction to Sociology, Gender in Transnational Perspective, Impacts of Globalization, Social Stratification, Social Research Methods