King  Corn

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN


Dr. Daniel C. Knudsen

Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, Indiana University


Dr. Richard Wilk

Provost Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University


Angela Babb

PhD Student, Department of Geography, Indiana University

King Corn— Human Health, Food, and Modern Farming

A panel discussion of corn and the role it plays in American life and human health, the links between food and disease, and the societal impact of modern farming.

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN

Film Synopsis

King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation.

In this award-winning documentary, two recent college graduates travel to Iowa to investigate the role that corn plays in an increasingly complicated and dysfunctional American food industry. After planting their own small crop of corn and tracing its journey through the industry, they are alarmed to discover that corn figures in almost everything Americans eat. The consequences of this are examined through interviews with various experts and industry insiders, providing a balanced look at this American agricultural issue.

About the Speaker

Dr. Daniel Knudsen is a professor and chair of the Department of Geography at Indiana University. He studies cultural phenomena in Nordic Europe. He is particularly interested in tourism, food, and cultural landscapes of all sorts.

Dr. Richard Wilk is Distinguished Provost's Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University where he directs the Food Studies Program. With a PhD in anthropology from the University of Arizona, he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Santa Cruz, New Mexico State University, and University College London, and has held fellowships at Gothenburg University and the University of London. His research in Belize, Europe, the US, and West Africa has been supported by three Fulbright fellowships, grants from the National Science Foundation, and many other organizations. He has also worked as an applied anthropologist with UNICEF, USAID, USDA, Cultural Survival, and other development organizations. Most recently he has testified in several important Indian land tenure cases in the Belize Supreme Court. His initial research on the cultural ecology of farming and family organization was followed by work on consumer culture and sustainable consumption, energy consumption, globalization, television, beauty pageants, and food. Much of his recent work has turned toward the history of food, the linkages between tourism and sustainable development, and the origin of modern masculinity. His publications include more than 140 papers and book chapters, a textbook in Economic Anthropology, and several edited volumes. The most recent book is Rice and Beans: A Unique Dish in a Hundred Places, edited with Livia Barbosa.

 Babb is a PhD student in the Department of Geography, focusing on globalization, development, and justice. She has a BS in mathematics and an MA in geography from Indiana University. Her primary research interests include community food security, food justice, sustainability, urban food deserts, and social and political activism.