Hayden Kantor is a Fellow in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University's Department of Anthropology in 2016.

As a sociocultural anthropologist, his research concerns changing food and farming practices in rural South Asia. His current book project focuses on how small-scale farming families in Bihar, India grapple with precarious agrarian livelihoods. In rural Bihar, economic liberalization and mounting environmental risks have fueled urban migration and reconfigured kinship and caste relations at the village level. His research considers what it means to care and be cared for under these conditions of chronic economic insecurity.

Before coming to Stanford, he was the Postdoctoral Associate for Global Engaged Learning in Cornell's Department of Anthropology. In this role, he led the development of the department's new engaged learning curriculum, "Global Gateways." The program includes a foundational service-learning course and pre- and post-departure courses for study abroad in order to prepares students for a range of experiential learning opportunities. The curriculum emphasizes ethnography as a distinctive lens, skillset, and writing genre for navigating intercultural exchanges in both local communities and abroad.

His PWR 1 course, "Food Values: The Rhetoric of What and How We Eat," prompts students to consider how the multiple ways that what we eat expresses what we value. Food practices are inextricably tied to social identity, including gender, race, and ethnicity. They also inform labor conditions, ecological impacts, and human-animal relationships. As such, growing, preparing, and consuming food entails unavoidable conundrums and compromises. Students have the opportunity to investigate these themes from both a historical and cross-cultural perspective, in addition to exploring how they impact their own lives.

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Stanford Introductory Studies - Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Professional Education

  • PhD, Cornell University, Anthropology (2016)
  • MA, University of Chicago, Social Sciences (2008)
  • BA, Duke University, Political Science (2005)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Food and agriculture; ethnographic writing; rhetorics of capitalism; ethics of care; culture and history of India and South Asia

All Publications