First Page


Last Page


Document Type



[First paragraph] The opening scene of the acclaimed documentary King Corn (2007) shows Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis, main protagonists, learning that corn constitutes one of the main carbon molecules of their hair. Segue to introduce the crop’s omnipresence in North American processed foods, principally used as sweetener, starch and animal feeds, the almost banal scientific fact presented in this scene is mesmerizing, providing a somewhat embodied support to the popular environmentalist saying “you are what you eat,” or to Donna Haraway’s poetic understanding of bodies and species as “full of their own others, full of messmates, of companions” (Haraway 2008, 165). Corn has indeed subtly made its way into our body, bite after bite, making it hard not to share Ian and Curtis’ awe while watching the film’s opening scene as it suggests that we, eaters of North American food, unknowingly became corn. Well established as the darling crop of nutritional technoscience, the introduction of genetically engineered corn in the late nineties juxtaposed to its wide presence in processed foods has spawned important political resistance, especially within Indigenous communities in Mexico. From street protest, field-testing to heirloom seeds international distribution, what is it exactly these activists were so desperately trying to protect?