Food Studies Program

Cheryl Laz PhD

Associate Professor of Sociology
Portrait of Cheryl Laz

Office Location

301B Payson Smith, Portland campus


(207) 780-4101

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Sociology, SUNY-Stony Brook
  • MA in Sociology, SUNY-Stony Brook
  • BA in English and Sociology, Hartwick College



Dr. Laz has been in the Sociology program at USM since 1991 and currently chairs the Sociology program. She serves on the Women and Gender Studies and Food Studies Councils and the Core Curriculum Committee. Professor Laz teaches courses in Sociology (Introduction to Sociology, Critical Thinking about Social Issues, Sociological Theory, Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Women’s Work) and a Food Studies course, Poverty and Hunger. She also teaches an interdisciplinary first-year course called The Chicken Course, with Professor Rob Sanford (Environmental Science and Policy).   Her current research focuses broadly on systems of food and agriculture and especially alternatives to the dominant, industrialized food system. One project involves interviewing folks who participate in and/or create alternative food systems to understand what they do and why, the networks and organizations they've created, the obstacles they face, and the implications of these alternatives for social movements and social change. A second project focuses on the gendered dimensions eating locally and sustainably. Both projects tap her academic and personal interests: Professor Laz grows food for her family, keeps chickens and bees, and loves spending time in the kitchen. If she's not at USM, in the garden or the kitchen, she's probably in the woods (she's a Master Naturalist) or in a kayak.


Food Studies Program Council Member and Interim Director