Craig Upright

Craig Upright joined the Sociology Department in the Fall 2011. He regularly teaches sections of: 

  • SOC 150 (Introduction to Sociology)
  • SOC 216 (Social Problems)
  • SOC 334 (Sociology of Education)
  • SOC 423 (Sociology of Race and Ethnicity)
  • SOC 431 (Social Class and Power)

He has twice received the “Professor of the Year” award from the WSU Student Senate.

His first book, Grocery Activism: The Radical History of Food Cooperatives in Minnesota, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in the spring of 2020. It explores the role that cooperative grocery stores played in the development of the contemporary organic food industry. 

His current research examines how the social construction of food labels reflect the ideologies of contemporary social movements.

Dr. Upright’s interest in food production and consumption issues stem from his experiences in the restaurant industry. Following his graduation from St. Olaf College with a degree in mathematics and English literature, he spent several years as a chef and purchasing agent for several fine-dining restaurants in Minneapolis. He opened a small café in St. Paul named “Motor Oil Industrial Coffees” next to an alternative art gallery, where punk and alternative-rock bands played in the basement on weekends.

Dr. Upright chose sociology as the discipline in which he could most effectively teach undergraduates about the opportunities for learning about and engaging in their own cultures. Before coming to WSU, he taught at the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University in St. Paul and at Grinnell College in central Iowa. 

Beyond cooking (and eating), Dr. Upright enjoys reading, writing, a little arithmetic, bowling, and riding his motorcycle exploring country roads of southeastern Minnesota.

Learn more about Craig Upright’s academic career and professional life


  • PhD: Sociology | Princeton University (2012)
  • MA: Sociology | Princeton University (2000)
  • BA: Mathematics and English Literature | St. Olaf College (1988)

View Craig Upright’s CV (PDF)

Dr. Craig Upright

Minne 231


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