Hilary King


Associate Director, Master's in Development Practice

Director of Graduate Studies, Master's in Development Practice

Associated Faculty, Departments of Anthropology and Environmental Sciences

Phone: 404-712-0101

Email: hbking@emory.edu


Dr. Hilary King is an applied anthropologist and sustainable food advocate. She completed her doctoral degree in Cultural Anthropology at Emory University, and also holds a Master's degree in the Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. Currently, King is the Assistant Director of the Emory Master's in Development Practice. She also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the program. 

Dr. King's research examines how social relationships and values shape economic interactions using food as a vector of analysis. Over the past few decades, efforts to construct networks that build closer relationships between producers and consumers have gained momentum in many parts of the world and around a variety of goods, including agricultural products. These initiatives create novel forms of market- and non-market mediated relationships. Dr. King uses ethnographic research methods to explore business practices, knowledge flows, definitions of sustainability, and emerging political and social networks emerging through and within such projects. Through research with producers, consumers and activists in both alternative (for example organic or "local" markets) and conventional market channels, she researches how “alternative business practices” alter production and consumption patterns, how people conceive of their connections to others and the natural world, and how power and knowledge are distributed through these networks.

Dr. King's research has helped to identify and build connections leading to innovative new food system initiatives. Examples include the development of weekly fresh produce markets at public transit stations in Atlanta and direct trade relationships between farmers in the Dominican Republic and consumers in the United States. She has worked with farmers across the United States, Latin America, and East Africa with support from Thomas J. Watson and Fulbright Fellowships. These methods help to reveal how people connect to one another in an increasingly globalized world, and how these connections affect our understanding of responsibility as members of a global community.

A native Oregonian, Dr. King settled in Atlanta in 2010. Before coming to Emory, she worked in the fair trade and direct trade coffee industries, running her own company and advising cooperatives. In addition to her work at Emory, Dr. King is an active member of Atlanta's local food networks. She works with Community Farmers Markets, Global Growers Network, and other organizations to develop and track changes in the local food system. She is a member of the LEAD Atlanta Class of 2018 and a 2019 New Leaders Council Fellow, both leadership development programs designed to equip promising young professionals with the skills necessary to be effective leaders committed to the common good. She also makes a darn good latte and handmade tortillas.