April 14, 2020

“Whether you agree with it or not, I think vegan entrepreneurs have really affected the popular culture and are shifting us towards a more plant-based diet. And I wanted to tell their story.”

April 14, 2020

Nina Gheihman virtually gathered more than 70 friends and family for a monumental life event on the first Friday of April. She wore white, and champagne and dancing were involved. Gheihman was defending her doctoral dissertation in sociology, “Veganized: How Cultural Entrepreneurs Mainstreamed a Movement.” The white outfit was a pantsuit chosen as a symbol of solidarity with trailblazing women in her field and beyond.

January 02, 2020

The environmental impact of animal food products is so great that even small steps can make a difference, especially if enacted on a wide scale. Nina Gheihman, a PhD candidate in Sociology at Harvard University whose research focuses on veganism and who works with the meal delivery service Fresh N’ Lean, tells Refinery29 that while policy changes such as a nationwide carbon tax are definitely a good thing, we shouldn’t discount the collective power of consumers’ food choices. This doesn’t have to mean the total elimination of animal products, she adds. 

July 10, 2019

“What this is, is the mainstreaming process,” said Nina Gheihman, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). She researches how veganism, a historically marginal practice, has become a popular lifestyle choice as the demand for healthier, more sustainable food has grown in recent years. “Especially in the past three to five years, veganism has really transformed from this fringe animal-rights movement into a lifestyle movement,” she said.

April 25, 2019

When you think “vegan” you probably think of activists railing against wearing leather and chowing down on raw tofu — not entrepreneurs offering up the latest foodie trends. Nina Gheihman, a PhD candidate in sociology, explores food trends from “franken-meat” to “plant-based diets” – and why climate change means that we’ll all be eating more plants very soon, whether we like it or not.

August 30, 2018

Nina Gheihman, a doctoral student at Harvard who studies veganism, agrees with Wrenn’s findings that flexitarianism, as an acceptable end goal within the vegan and vegetarian movements, is damaging. But Gheihman says that the movement should be welcoming to those at its boundaries who may not be ready to dive right into veganism. “I do believe that flexitarianism as an initial approach is worthwhile, as there are many people who are not willing to adopt the ideological stance of the animal-rights movement within a society that does not yet embrace it. As well, they may have alternate motivations for following a plant-based diet, including health and environmentalism, and I believe these motivations are as valid as that of animal rights.”

August 25, 2017

Harvard sociologist Nina Gheihman has researched how such a demanding regime has spread. At first, veganism was aligned with the ideology of the animal rights movement, she explains, but, over time, it’s become much more associated with general environmental concerns and healthy living.

July 03, 2017

Sociology graduate student Nina Gheihman is researching social aspects of veganism’s spread. Veganism was at first closely bound to the ideology of the animal-rights movement, she explains, which initially aimed at a range of targets, like wearing fur and testing products on animals. Once activists shifted focus to farm conditions and food, veganism took on the features of what scholars call a “lifestyle movement.” Over time, it’s become more closely associated with general environmental concerns and a “healthism” mentality, bound up with notions of perfecting the body. Trustworthy numbers on how many people identify as vegan are hard to come by, says Gheihman, but a growing number practice veganism in some way: incorporating meat and dairy substitutes in their meals, or restricting their diets at certain times of day or for a period of weeks.

February 27, 2017

Nina Gheihman, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), talked about the shift in societal views of veganism over the past several decades. Her presentation, “Innovation as Activism: The Case of Veganism in the United States, France, and Israel,” invited people to ask questions about their ties to the social norms of their food choices: “I think it’s important to be skeptical of anything, including veganism. It makes sense for myself in regard to animals and the planet, but the onus is on people to do the research for themselves,” she said. “I understand when people say if my actions can reduce suffering in some way, then that’s good. But like with any cultural practice, you can’t just assume it blindly."

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