Jeanne Firth

PhD candidate in Human Geography & Urban Studies

Department of Geography and Environment

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Key Expertise
Food, agriculture, hunger, the environment, gender

About me

Before coming to LSE, I served on the founding team of the Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, Louisiana and worked as the organisation's first Assistant Director. I was previously the Co-Chair of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee and taught at the Payson School for International Development at Tulane University. I hold an MSc from LSE in Gender, Development and Globalisation (Best Degree Performance Award, Department of Gender Studies).

My doctoral dissertation, ‘Foodscape Philanthropy in Post-Katrina New Orleans’, explores the emergent philanthropic worlds of chefs: how their charitable institutions are created, practiced and contested, and how their efforts are shaped by an intersectional politics of race, class and gender.  Philanthropy, as part of private sector engagement more broadly, is playing an increasingly important role in development and thus must be considered an essential area of study in the geographies of humanitarian aid and assistance. My research utilises an intersectional feminist lens in an ethnographic study of both elite-led and community-based foodscape interventions in New Orleans more than a dozen years after Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levee system.  Based on grounded, multi-sited, qualitative research in New Orleans over a 15-month period, I reveal how elite foodscape philanthropy stems from entrenched inequalities within the restaurant industry and differs in various ways from interventions and practices found in community organisations. The ‘gift’ is continually re-constituted and contested in the spatial and social legacies of racial inequality in New Orleans and the United States more broadly: regardless of intention, foodscape interventions risk reproducing unjust power relations.

Jeanne was Highly Commended for Innovative Teaching at the LSESU Student-led Teaching Excellence Awards 2019.


GY315: Geographies of Race (2018)
Winner, Class Teacher of the Year, Department of Geography and the Environment, 2019
Highly Commended for Innovative Teaching, LSESU Student-Led Teaching Awards, 2019     

Academic supervisors

Sylvia Chant
Austin Zeiderman

View Jeanne's CV.

Expertise Details

critical food studies; celebrity humanitarianism; corporate philanthropy; social movements; Race whiteness and intersectionality; wealth and poverty; development; agriculture; the environment and sustainability; feminist methodologies