Jim Tranquada

Fast Food Nation author, investigative journalist and professional muckraker Eric Schlosser will give a talk on food justice, worker justice and immigrant justice on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in Occidental College's Thorne Hall.


The College will also present him with an honorary degree at the event, which is free and open to the public (RSVP here).

Schlosser's lecture will continue the discussion on poverty and the need for social justice in LA through the prism of how food, workplace, and immigrant issues intersect in the food system, including the fast-food industry, which he chronicled in his 2001 best-selling book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. The book, which explains the rise and global dominance of the American fast-food industry, has been compared to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, a novel about immigrant life and corruption in the meatpacking industry in early 20th century America.

"Eric Schlosser helped change the way we think about food - how it's produced, how our tastes have been manipulated, and who gets impacted," said Occidental professor Robert Gottlieb, who directs the school's Urban & Environmental Policy Institute.

"He has become an iconic figure among food activists and other social justice champions who appreciate his influence on a new generation of young people ready to challenge the dominance of fast food and other industrial food interests," Gottlieb said.

"Schlosser is a serious and diligent reporter, and Fast Food Nation isn't an airy deconstruction but an avalanche of facts and observations as he examines the fast-food process from meat to marketing," stated a 2001 New York Times review of the book.

An award-winning correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, Schlosser is also the author of the best-selling Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. The book was inspired by his magazine stories on the enforcement of U.S. marijuana laws and illegal immigration in California.

Most recently, Schlosser co-produced the Emmy Award-winning 2008 documentary, "Food, Inc.," which examines corporate farming in the United States and suggests that such large-scale food production is not only inhumane, but also economically and environmentally unsustainable. He is working on a book about the American prison system.

A free reception at 6 p.m. will precede the lecture and honorary-degree ceremony, sponsored by the College's Antoinette and Vincent Dugan Lecture Series and co-hosted by Occidental's Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, and the California Endowment.

Occidental College's Thorne Hall is located at 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, 90041. For maps and directions, go here. Handicapped parking is available.