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About

My research explores the connections between food, the body, health, and identities in contemporary U.S. media and popular culture. I’m Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa, and my book Diners, Dudes and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture will be published in November 2020 with UNC Press. I am also co-editing Food and Instagram: Identity, Influence, and Resistance with my colleague, Zenia Kish.


About Me

I was born in Australia and grew up in the Big Sky Country of Montana. After spending a bit more than a decade training in classical ballet, I turned my attention to the study of food, health, and culture. That journey started during my undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma and continues to this day.

Trained as an interdisciplinary researcher and teacher, I work primarily at the intersection of media studies, food studies, gender studies, and American studies, but my work also engages the history of medicine, critical nutrition studies, and fat studies. I completed my PhD in American Studies at Brown University in 2018 and hold three master’s degrees: an MA in American Studies from Brown, an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and an MPH focused in Public Health Nutrition from UC Berkeley.

EmilyContoisHeadshot
Photo credit: KC Hysmith

In addition to my academic training, I worked for five years in worksite wellness, supporting program development, project management, and marketing and communications. I’ve written about my professional experience in public health nutrition here, and now work to incorporate translational and transdisciplinary approaches into my scholarship and teaching, such as my course “Critical Media Studies of Health and Medicine.”

I have published articles in Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, Feminist Media Studies, and American Studies, among several others. My work has been covered in a number of media outlets including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and Vox. I’ve appeared on CBS This Morning and on Ugly Delicious with David Chang on Netflix. Dedicated to public scholarship, I write for Nursing Clio, blog here, and am active on social media.

I currently live in Tulsa with my husband (who’s a rock star physical therapist, athlete, and inspiration for some of my writing) and our rescue pup, Raven.


About This Site

Since July 2012, this website has been a place for some of my finished work (like this essay on Montana food culture), as well as lots of projects that are in process or ideas that are just rumbling around in me, like why Budweiser’s summer 2016 America rebrand matters or what Star Wars has to do with Edward Hopper’s food paintings.

It’s also become a place to share academic learnings and advice, such as how to write a winning statement of purpose, get the most out of academic conferences, get started on Twitter, or publish in food studies journals.

It’s a space where I reflect upon teaching, including my Food Media course, and class projects like Unessays and Infographics.

I also use the blog to reflect upon and share more broadly my own learnings from the conferences and events that I attend, like these write ups from the 2019 Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference, the 2019 Southern Foodways Alliance field trip to Bentonville, and the 2017 Reading Historic Cookbooks seminar taught by Barbara Wheaton at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

No matter what you’re here to read, please feel free to comment and engage—and know you’re most welcome to contact me if you’d like to discuss anything further.

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