Dr. Bobby J. Smith II is a sociologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research uses sociohistorical and community-based approaches to analyze historical and contemporary struggles for food justice and food sovereignty in Black communities in the United States. Dr. Smith is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled, Food Power Politics: Civil Rights and Black Food Security in the Mississippi Delta (under contract, University of North Carolina (UNC) Press).
Dr. Smith is on research leave 2021-2022 as a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).
Black Food Studies; Critical Food Studies; Food Justice; Food Security; African American Food Systems; African American Studies; Agri-Food Studies; Sociology of Food; Race, Class, and Gender; Social Inequality
Ph.D., Development Sociology, Cornell University (2018)
M.S., Agricultural Economics, Cornell University (2013)
B.S. (Summa Cum Laude), Agriculture (Concentration: Agricultural Economics), Prairie View A&M University (2011)
2020 Extension Collaboration Grant, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Project: "Developing and Delivering a Stress Management and Mental Health Program in Pembroke Township and Kankakee County."
2017-2019 Engaged Cornell Graduate Student Research Grant, Cornell University. Project: "From Civil Rights to Local Food: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Food Justice."
2017 Graduate Research Grant, American Studies Program, Cornell University. Project: "Food Justice and the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement."
2017 Engaged Cornell Engaged Opportunity Grant, Cornell University. Project: Farm to Plate Conference: Uniting to Create, Educate, and Celebrate a Sustainable Local Food.
2016 Cornell Engaged Curriculum Grant, Cornell University. Project: Seed to Supper: The Role of the Garden in Community Food Security and Food Justice.
Awards and Honors
2022-2023 Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
2021-2022 Fellowship, American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS)
2020 Summer Stipend Award, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
2019-2020 Short-Term Travel Fellowship, Special Collections and University Archives, Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago, Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago
2018 Study the South Research Fellowship, Department of Archives and Special Collections, J. D. Williams Library, University of Mississippi
2017 Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Fellowship, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
2016-2017 Mellon Diversity Seminar Fellow, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Cornell University
AFRO 495: Senior Thesis Seminar, Spring 2021
AFRO 224: Race and Food Security, Spring 2021
AFRO 490: Theory in African American Studies, Fall 2020
AFRO 495: Senior Thesis Seminar, Spring 2020
AFRO 224: Race and Food Security, Spring 2020
AFRO 298: Civil Rights Pilgrimage, Spring 2019
AFRO 224: Race and Food Security, Spring 2019
Smith II, B. J. and Ewoodzie, J. (2021). “Listening to Zenani’s Food Voice: Recovering Contemporary Black Foodways in Southern Food Studies,” Food, Culture, & Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2021.1884439
Smith II, B. J. (2020). “Food and the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement: Re-Reading the 1962-1963 Greenwood Food Blockade,” Food, Culture, & Society. 23(3), 382-398. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2020.1741066
Smith II, B. J. (2019). “Mississippi’s War Against the War on Poverty: Food Power, Hunger, and White Supremacy,” Study the South. https://southernstudies.olemiss.edu/study-the-south/ms-war-against-war-on-poverty/
Smith II, B. J. (2019). “Food Justice, Intersectional Agriculture, and the Triple Food Movement,” Agriculture and Human Values. 36(4), 825-835. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-09945-y
Pendergrastt, T. L., Smith II, B. J., Bezner Kerr, R., and Liebert, J. (2019).“Introduction to the Symposium: Rethinking Food System Transformation: Food Sovereignty, Agroecology, Food Justice, Community Action, and Scholarship,” Agriculture and Human Values. 36(4), 819-823. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-09952-z
Smith II, B. J. (2019).“Building Emancipatory Food Power: Freedom Farms, Rocky Acres, and the Struggle for Food Justice.”Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(4), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2019.084.009
Waller, T., Smith II, B. J.,& Lumumba-Kasongo, E. (2014). The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at Cornell University: Survey Results and the Push for Qualitative Research. Journal of College Orientation and Transition, 22,1. https://www.nodaweb.org/page/jcot_fall_2014
Smith II, B. J.,Kaiser, H. M., & Gómez, M. I. (2013). Identifying Factors Influencing a Hospital's Decision to Adopt a Farm-to-Hospital Program. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 42(3), 508-517. https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/159225
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters:
Smith II, B. J. (2021). “From the Projects to the Pasture”: Navigating Food Justice, Race, and Food Localism.” In A. S. Bartel & D. A. Castillo (Eds.), The Scholar as Human: Engaging the Humanities in Public, forthcoming. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press).
Smith II, B. J. (2019). Black Lives and Agricultural History. Centennial Roundtable: Why Does Agricultural History Matter? Agricultural History, 93(4), 725-726. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d3878547ea6120001bb0da8/t/5dd30a2fb87df6283ecf6f89/1574111792730/93.4_Roundtable_WhyDoesAHMatter.pdf
Smith II, B. J. (2017). The Greenwood Food Blockade: The White Citizens Council, SNCC and the Politics of Food Access. Winter 2017 Edition of Gravy, No. 66 (Publication of the Southern Foodways Alliance). https://www.southernfoodways.org/the-greenwood-food-blockade/
Bobby J. Smith II, Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C., by Ashanté M. Reese (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019), Journal of Southern History 86, 2 (May 2020): 498-499.
Bobby J. Smith II, Food Justice Now! Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle, by Joshua Sbicca (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), Mobilization: An International Quarterly 24, 1 (March 2019): 121-122.