Adele Hite joined the Ronin Institute as a Research Scholar in March, 2020. Her research statement began like this:
“My starting point as a critical food studies scholar begins with the foundational questions, “Where do ideas about ‘healthy’ food and ‘eating right’ come from?” and “What social and structural work do these concepts perform?” My work lies at the intersections of rhetoric and communication, critical cultural studies, and public health nutrition.”
Adele’s work represents both the power and challenge of interdisciplinary work, requiring a profound understanding of the biology of nutrition and the ways in which our understanding of concepts as seemingly basic as “healthy food” are socially constructed, which is amply demonstrated by her publications. This sort of integrative work is absolutely necessary for challenging our most basic assumptions about the way we live. And yet, these are topics and skills that are probably studied and taught at the opposite ends of most university campuses.
Or, as she put it in an email:
“I have a master’s in public health nutrition. I am fluent in both biochemistry and Foucauldian theory, and perhaps that is also part of the problem. There are few places in academia where I would get to use all of my skills and knowledge and explore all of my areas of interest.”
Adele was also an unconventional scholar in that she completed her PhD in 2019, late in life relative to the canonical academic career path, but not necessarily compared with many others who have found their way to the Ronin Institute.
Adele passed away at the age of 58 on April 22, 2022, and she is deeply missed and fondly remembered by those of us who were fortunate enough to have crossed paths with her.
You can learn more about Adele’s life and work on her website: https://www.adelehite.com/
I also recommend this lovely remembrance posted by her colleagues at the Diet Doctor: https://www.dietdoctor.com/remembering-adele-hite-phd-mph-rd
This post is a perspective of the author, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Ronin Institute.