Ian Werkheiser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and an Affiliated Faculty Member in the Environmental Studies Program. His research is currently focused on how communities of resistance address environmental harms and hazards, particularly around food, while also dealing with social and political oppression or marginalization. He is particularly interested in the ways that UTRGV can become an anchor institution in the Valley and benefit those communities of resistance. A recent graduate from Michigan State University, his dissertation focused on the areas of social epistemology, environmental justice, and food sovereignty. It argued that the presence of community epistemic capacities is a necessary requirement of meaningful political participation, particularly in issues around food and environmental justice.
At MSU, he coordinated the Food Justice and Sovereignty Work Group for MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems, and worked as a Graduate Assistant for the Sustainable Michigan Endowed Projects, a Kellogg-funded foundation devoted to promoting research into sustainability in Michigan. Ian has engaged in research into sustainability values and practices of small-scale, direct-marketing farmers in Michigan through the Kellogg Biological Station’s NSF-Supported Long-Term Ecological Research, and is currently working to build similar connections in his new home.
While a graduate student, he worked with two colleagues to co-create Food Justice and Peace, a transdisciplinary conference on food justice. At UTRGV he worked with his new colleagues to organize The Pan American Collaboration for Ethics in the Professions’ 7th Annual Bioethics Conference, “Beyond Reform: Reimagining American Healthcare.” He has also worked on organizing several major non-academic conferences, including Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy, a community-based conference on Michigan food issues; and the Michigan Environmental Justice Statewide Summit, which brought together stakeholders, policy makers, academics, and activists from around Michigan and beyond to work on developing collective capacity across society, research, and policy to address issues of food democracy and environmental justice.
On this website, you can find his academic CV as well as other projects that don’t fit in that format.