Dr. Alex Ketchum is an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF). She is the Director of the Just Feminist Tech and Scholarship Lab. From 2018-2023 she was the Faculty Lecturer at the IGSF. Her work integrates food, environmental, technological, queer, and gender history.
Ketchum’s first peer-reviewed book, Engage in Public Scholarship!: A Guidebook on Feminist and Accessible Communication (Concordia University Press, June 2022), examines the power dynamics that impact who gets to create certain kinds of academic work and for whom these outputs are accessible. The environmental, social, and economic conditions in which scholars are presently working, marked by digital technologies and climate change, matter. Two initial questions guide this book: what is “feminist” and “accessible” scholarship? This text does not focus on all feminist scholarship, but rather is interested in a feminist perspective on public-facing scholarship that aims to be accessible. These questions are further complicated by the challenge of sustainability. The book is available in paperback and open access.
Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the trailblazing restaurant Mother Courage of New York City, Ketchum’s second book, Ingredients for Revolution: A History of American Feminist Restaurants, Cafes, and Coffeehouses (November 2022), is the first history of the more than 230 feminist and lesbian-feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses that existed in the United States from 1972 to the present. As key sites of cultural and political significance, this volume shows the essential role these institutions served for multiple social justice movements including women’s liberation, LGBTQ equality, and food justice, as well as for training women workers and entrepreneurs. The book is available in paperback and open access.
Ketchum is in the midst of writing her third book, tentatively titled, “Digital Queers, TechnoDykes, Hi-Tech Gays, and Lavender Bytes: A History of American, Canadian, and British LGBTQ+ Cyber Activism 1992-2002.” Furthermore, Ketchum’s interest in past imaginings of utopia through business creation and the implementation of communications technologies has guided her new research and fourth book project on historically contextualizing the relationship between feminist ethics and AI. This fourth book, which is currently in the archival research stage, is tentatively titled Recoding Feminisms: Algorithmic Resistance, Resilience, and Liberation (1956-2021), is supported by a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant: Disrupting Disruptions: The Challenge of Feminist and Accessible Publishing and Communications Technologies 1965-present.
Research Interests: Studying the role of technology, queer history, food, feminism, and environmentalism in 20th century social movements in the United States and Canada. Examining lesbian and feminist restaurants and cafes. Interested in past imaginings of utopia through business creation and the implementation of communications technologies.
Since 2019, Ketchum has organized the SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada) funded, Disrupting Disruptions; The Feminist and Accessible Publishing and Communications Technologies Speaker and Workshop Series (disruptingdisruptions.com) She is the founder of The Feminist Restaurant Project (www.thefeministrestaurantproject.com). Ketchum is co-founder and editor of The Historical Cooking Project (historicalcookingproject.com), a website dedicated to food history scholarship and the former co-founder of Food, Feminism, and Fermentation (foodfeminismfermentation.com). She developed the LGBTQIA2S+ Archives Directory (https://www.lgbtqarchives.com). She publishes in journals such as Feminist Studies, Feminist Media Studies, and Digital Humanities Quarterly. For a full list of her publications, go to alexketchum.ca.
Ketchum was named one of the 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics for 2021.
She is actively involved in feminist, food, and environmental politics. She was a co-manager of an organic farm from 2008-2012 and has worked on organic farms in Ireland and France. In 2009, she founded Farm House in Middletown, Connecticut, a living community dedicated to food politics work that continues today.
Educational history: Ketchum’s doctorate from McGill’s Department of History was supported by the FRQSC (Fonds de Recherche du Quebec). Her dissertation focused on feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses in the United States and Canada from the 1972-1989. She has a MA in History and Women and Gender Studies also from McGill University and a Honors BA in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Wesleyan University.