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Coming in 2022: Food Instagram: Identity, Influence & Negotiation

With my friend, colleague, and co-editor Zenia Kish, I’m delighted to announce that our edited collection Food Instagram: Identity, Influence, and Negotiation will be published by the University of Illinois Press in early 2022. It will join a growing corpus of texts on digital food cultures as the first book dedicated to the study of Instagram and food.

This book presents the novel concept of “food Instagram,” a quasi-genre on the platform distinguished by recognizable aesthetic conventions, the presence of both everyday users and industry professionals, and a shared focus on representations of food, eating, and food-related phenomena. The volume considers how users engage food Instagram across diverse global sites to construct identity, to seek influence, and to negotiate aesthetic norms, institutional access, and cultural power, as well as social and economic control.

As such, food Instagram provides ripe opportunities for interdisciplinary conversations, particularly between the academic fields of media studies and food studies, as well as with new media studies, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and other approaches to analyzing digital food cultures.

The international authors in this volume draw from multiple disciplinary traditions and from experiences outside of the academy. Many are teachers. Two are practicing artists. One is a journalist. One is an influencer IRL. The result is a rich exploration of transnational visual and culinary practices unique to Instagram that are reshaping how and what we eat.

In our introductory chapter, we editors position the study of food Instagram within the history of visual representation and photography, the concept of “food porn,” and the platform’s specific affordances, architecture, and style. Then, to demonstrate the interdisciplinary possibilities at the juncture of media studies and food studies, we dive into Instagram’s visual ecosystem, systematically analyzing it from soil and seed to our digital feed, and beyond. We also preview and synthesize the work of the volume’s more than twenty contributors, whose seventeen chapters engage the book’s key themes: identity, influence, and negotiation.

Sincere thanks to our contributors for their wonderful chapters and to colleagues and interested readers for the enthusiasm they’ve already expressed about this volume. We can’t wait for you to read it.

Food Instagram: Table of Contents

Introduction. From Seed to Feed: How Food Instagram Changed What and Why We Eat by Dr. Zenia Kish and Dr. Emily J.H. Contois 

// I. Identity

1. @hotdudesandhummus and the Cultural Politics of Food by Dr. Michael Z. Newman 

2. Starving Beauties? Instabae, Diet Food, and Japanese Girl Culture by Dr. Tsugumi Okabe 

3. #Foodporn: An Anatomy of the Meal Gaze by Dr. Gaby David and Dr. Laurence Allard 

4. The South in Your Mouth? Gourmet Biscuit Restaurants, Authenticity, and the Construction of a New Southern Identity by Dr. Deborah Harris and Rachel Phillips 

5. Uncle Green Must Be Coming to Dinner: The Joyful Hospitality of Black Women on Instagram During the Covid-19 Pandemic by Robin Caldwell 

6. Creative Consumption: Art about Eating on Instagram by Dr. Dawn Woolley and Zara Worth 

// II. Influence

7. Picturing Digital Tastes: #unicornlatte, Social Photography, and Instagram Food Marketing by Dr. Emily Truman 

8. Camera Eats First: The Role of Influencers in Hong Kong’s Foodie Instagram Culture by Yue-Chiu Bonni Leung and Dr. Yi-Chieh Jessica Lin 

9. Repackaging Leftovers: Health, Food, and Diet Messages in Influencer Instagram Posts by Dr. Tara Schuwerk, Dr. Sarah Cramer, and Carina Coleman 

10. Meet Your Meat! How Australian Livestock Producers Use Instagram to Promote “Happy Meat” by Dr. Emily Buddle 

11. Freakshakes and Mama Noi: Cases of Transforming Food Industry Influence on Instagram by Dr. Katherine Kirkwood 

12. My Life and Labor as an Instagram Influencer Turned Instagram Scholar by KC Hysmith

// III. Negotiation

13. Transgressive Food Practices on Instagram: The Case of Guldkroen in Copenhagen by Dr. Jonatan Leer and Dr. Stinne Gunder Strøm Krogager 

14. Posing with “the People:” The Far-Right and Food Populism on Instagram by Dr. Sara Garcia Santamaria 

15. Farming, Unedited: Failure, Humor, and Fortitude in Instagram’s Agricultural Underground by Dr. Joceline Andersen 

16. The Surprisingly Long History of Feminist Eateries on Instagram by Dr. Alex Ketchum  

17. How to Think with Your Body: Teaching Critical Eating Literacy through Instagram by Dr. Sarah E. Tracy  

Afterword: Food Instagram’s Next Course by Dr. Emily J.H. Contois and Dr. Zenia Kish 

Top Image Credit: KC Hysmith, 2021

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