Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland by Kristy Nabhan-Warren
Host: Rustin Zarkar
Whether valorized as the heartland or derided as flyover country, the Midwest became instantly notorious when COVID-19 infections skyrocketed among workers in meatpacking plants—and Americans feared for their meat supply. But the Midwest is not simply the place where animals are fed corn and then butchered.
Native Midwesterner Kristy Nabhan-Warren spent years interviewing Iowans who work in the meatpacking industry, both native-born residents and recent migrants from Latin America, Africa and Asia. In “Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland,” she digs deep below the stereotype and reveals the grit and grace of a heartland that is a major global hub of migration and food production—and also, it turns out, of religion.
Across the flatlands, Protestants, Catholics and Muslims share space every day as worshippers, employees and employers. Their stories expose how faith-based aspirations for mutual understanding blend uneasily with rampant economic exploitation and racial biases. Still, these new and old Midwesterners say that a mutual language of faith and morals brings them together more than any of them would have ever expected.
Kristy Nabhan-Warren is the V. O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair of Catholic Studies and a professor in the departments of religious studies and gender, women's and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa.
This virtual event will be hosted by Rustin Zarkar, Middle East and Islamic studies librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries.
This talk is part of Off the Shelf, a collaboration between the University Libraries and the UNC Press to present new works on racial and social justice in our history and our world.
The talk is co-presented by the Religious Studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill.