Born in Australia, I grew up in the Big Sky Country of Montana. I spent a bit over a decade training in classical ballet before turning my attention to the study of food, health, and culture.

Photo credit: Katherine Hysmith

Photo credit: Katherine Hysmith

At the University of Oklahoma, I majored in Letters and minored in Medical Humanities, while completing the pre-requisites for nutrition science. Advised by Julia Ehrhardt, I wrote my honors thesis on the language of the dieting industry. I went on to study public health nutrition at UC Berkeley, where I also taught undergraduate nutrition courses, finding my true passion in teaching. After marrying my husband (who’s a rock star physical therapist and athlete), I tried my hand at employee wellness, helping to launch Healthy Workforce at Kaiser Permanente.

Seeking a return to my roots in the liberal arts, I next studied Gastronomy at Boston University in the program co-founded by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. I had the privilege to study under Rachel Black and Carole Counihan. In my masters thesis, advised by Warren Belasco, I analyzed the marketing of the three leading diet programs in the United States (Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and Jenny Craig) to men in the twenty-first century, exploring constructions of masculinity in an age of obesity.

I am currently a second year PhD student in American Studies at Brown University, where I explore the connections between food studies, nutrition, and public health in the everyday American experience and popular culture. My work has been published in CuiZine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures, Fat Studies, the Graduate Journal of Food Studies, Inside Higher Ed, and The Inquisitive Eater, among others.


As I continue my interdisciplinary studies of food, nutrition, and public health, this blog is a place for some of my finished work, as well as lots of projects that are in process or ideas that are just rumbling around in my mind. Please feel free to comment and engage! It’s okay to be critical, but please be kind.

9 thoughts on “About

  1. DebraB says:

    Your blog looks fascinating. I, too, am an academic (in English). I also have a non-professional interest in the relationship between food and identity. I look forward to reading your blog!


    • emilycontois says:

      Thanks so much, Debra! I look forward to living vicariously through your travels – and finding some great new books to read along the way.


  2. Kristen says:

    Hi Emily, I am happy to discover our overlapping interests in nutrition and food! I just discovered your blog while exploring options for related study. Thank you for sharing some of your inspirations in writing!


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