Feminism discussed by Forestville native during campus visit

Carol Adams

An activist legend, author and Chautauqua County native recently visited SUNY Fredonia to address her theories on feminism and veganism.

Carol J. Adams, pioneering author of The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, spoke to the SUNY students using a metaphor of fermentation and dedicated her lecture to her mother. The lecture “Ferment of Freedom: On Ecofeminism, Cultivating Compassion and Social Justice Legacies,” revealed the interconnectedness between feminism and veganism. Her talk fell on the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage.

A Forestville native, Adams grew up in the area and devoted the early years of her career to social activism in the region. She served as director of Chautauqua County Rural Ministry for almost a decade in the 1980s, and started the Friendly Kitchen and Garment Gallery in Dunkirk.

She began her presentation with the idea that fermentation is a culture that brings about change. Through a demonstration of environmental history, Adams led her audience into a revelatory discovery of the animalization of women. With exciting anecdotes of Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells, Adams held captive the many students in attendance.

Morgan Henderson, a SUNY senior, came prepared, having read Adams’ book. “After hearing her speak, the dots have really been connected; her ideas are inspiring and I admire how she devotes herself to people and animals.”

Through her personal stories of activism here in Dunkirk, she inspired and challenged the SUNY students to revel in the fermentation going on today and reminded them that “change takes time, but your work is empowering.”

Afterward, she told the OBSERVER, “Activism should always be influenced by kindness, not stereotypes; local politics should not degenerate into personal attacks. I’ve seen that sometimes scapegoats are created to represent fears that are much more complex.”

Organized by Dr. Emily VanDette, this lecture is one in a series of convocations of events with the theme “Transformations.” About the lecture, Van Dette said she “appreciated the ties to history of interconnecting oppression to the contemporary social justice crises and (Adams’) advice to activists today.”