• Honorary Research Fellow, School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, 2007-2014
  • Visiting Scholar, Center for African Studies, University of California at Berkeley, 2006-2013
  • Ph.D., Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University, 2002
  • M.Sc. in Economics, Distinction in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries, London School of Economics, 1996
  • B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Balliol College, University of Oxford, 1995
Research Areas
  • Food Systems
  • World Ecology
  • International Political Economy
Teaching Areas
  • Social Policy
  • Development Policy
  • Policy Communications

Raj Patel is a research professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and a senior research associate at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University. He studies the global food system and alternatives to it. He is currently working on a ground-breaking documentary project about the global food system with award-winning director Steve James, and he is completing a book with Jason W. Moore titled “Seven Cheap Things: An Introduction to World Ecology,” to be published by the University of California Press in 2017. Before coming to Austin, Dr. Patel co-taught the 2014 Edible Education class at the University of California, Berkeley with Michael Pollan. He has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the U.S. House of Representative’s Financial Services Committee and was an adviser to Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. In addition to publications in journals about economics, philosophy, politics, international development and public health, he writes for a range of newspapers and co-hosts “The Secret Ingredient” podcast. His first book was “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,” and his latest, “The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy,” was a New York Times best-seller.

Media Expertise
  • Globalization and International Affairs


Media MentionJanuary 27, 2017
Table scraps for the poor won't end poverty

Curbing food waste is often positioned as a way to end hunger, but LBJ School Professor Raj Patel poses that this is a misguided perspective. "Treating hunger through society's waste compounds the indignity of hunger, and points us away from more permanent solutions," he and Nick Saul of Community Food Centres Canada write.

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Media MentionNovember 29, 2016
James Beard Foundation Announces Leadership Award Winners
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Media MentionOctober 18, 2016
Haven’t heard Raj Patel speak on food issues? Here’s your chance
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