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Sports, Gender & Society…and Food?

On Friday, April 7, I was fortunate to catch the webcast of the Radcliffe Institute’s fabulous conference, Game Changers: Sports, Gender, and Society. Why was a food studies researcher jazzed to learn more about sports? Well, the more I’ve studied food and masculinity in media and consumer culture, the more salient sports and athletic themes have become in my work.

As conference presenters emphasized, sports in American culture do much to create and sustain the gender binary, to subordinate and marginalize women, to construct conventional masculinity, to maintain notions of male superiority, and to uphold existing hierarchies of power that privilege white, male, able bodies.

This is why sports are repeatedly invoked in the dude food, men’s cooking, and manly dieting that I research. It’s why Coke Zero ads incorporate and run during March Madness, and why Oikos Triple Zero yogurt features the NFL seal on every package and NFL quarterback Cam Newton as the face of the product. It’s the reason Guy Fieri had a cooking show solely dedicated to tailgate food. It’s why Charles Barkley, Dan Marino, and Terry Bradshaw have each served as spokesmen for men’s commercial weight loss programs. Despite Title IX, despite the successes of women in sports, despite general social trends toward (at least somewhat) increasing gender equity, sports remain strongly ingrained as masculine in the American imagination. As a result, food makers and marketers invoke sports to negotiate masculinity in and through their products.

This is but one way that the themes of this conference apply to food (and my work), and there are certainly others. For example, the struggles of female athletes for access, resources, media coverage, and (well deserved) glory also mirror the challenges faced by female chefs for recognition and advancement. And in her comments, sportswriter Kavitha Davidson directly called upon advertisers to recognize female sports fans, noting (rightly) that women often not only consume the products advertised during sports broadcasts, but are the ones who purchase them. In many cases, these are food and beverages—and in the campaigns I’m researching, advertisers very frequently employ distinctly misogynistic messages that not only alienate female consumers, but also uphold and reinforce gender hierarchies.

Leaving food studies out of it, the conference panels, discussions, and remarks were fascinating in their own right and provide space to think about identities and justice more broadly in American society. I tweeted throughout the event and have gathered them here:


Top image credit: Emily Contois, 2017

Addressing Labor Across the Food System at the Just Food? Forum

The Just Food? Forum on Labor Across the Food System, held on April 1 at Harvard University, delivered a complex, layered, and expansive view of the challenges facing workers throughout the U.S. food system—addressing farm fields, dairies, meat processing plants, and fisheries; undocumented farmworkers, beginning farmers, restaurant managers, labor organizers, and food law experts; wages, worker living conditions, and the right to unionize (or not); sexual harassment, discrimination, racism, and threats of deportation; immigration reform, public health, and food justice—as well as what we as academics, citizens, and eaters can do to help and advocate for change in these areas.

As more and more eaters focus on what they eat, where it comes from, and how it is produced, we must all be just as deeply concerned for the rights and livelihoods of those who grow, process, transport, prepare, cook, serve, and dispose of our food.

 

I tweeted throughout this thought provoking event and have gathered them here as a recap:

This event was a collaboration of the Harvard Law School Food Law Society and Harvard Food Literacy Project, cosponsored by the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School. For more information, see the program website.

Food Waste, Recovery & Insecurity: The Role of RI Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities are untapped resources for fighting food insecurity. So said Becky Spritz of Roger Williams University on Friday, March 31 at a panel on food waste, food recovery, and food insecurity in Rhode Island, a state where 12% of households are food insecure, many of whom are working, but still suffering from poverty. This panel addressed the unique challenges and opportunities for colleges and universities to intervene in these issues.

Sponsored by the Providence Public Library, the Roger Williams University Honors Program, and the RWU chapter of the Food Recovery Network, the panel was moderated by Sue Anderbois, RI Director of Food Strategy and a Council Member for the RI Food Policy Council, and featured comments from:

From their insightful comments and those from audience participants, two main themes stood out to me:

While nearly universally embraced as “the right thing to do,” food recovery and food donation to food-insecure eaters requires navigating a series of tensions. 

A significant tension lies in that food recovery efforts must abide by food safety standards, requirements, rules, and codes. In some cases, these safeguards are onerous and worth revising or streamlining. In many cases, however, food safety remains an important consideration and one that often requires infrastructure that does not yet exist in some states and areas— like apps that immediately track available recovered food and route it to areas of need, as well as a team of refrigerated trucks with food safety certified workers to transport the food.

In addition, even food businesses that morally want to donate excess goods to feed the hungry must balance this imperative with their own fiscal responsibility and efficiency. A supermarket or restaurant donating lots of food each day, week, or month runs the risk of being perceived as, or actually being, irresponsible in their inventory planning, prep, and management.

Lastly, food business efficiency, food waste, food donations, and the needs of food insecure populations can represent competing goals and needs. Although food businesses increasing efficiency and reducing food waste are positive actions, they also reduce food donations, while food bank needs remain the same or, given recent economic conditions, even increase. If our current federal food programs and charitable feeding efforts remain constant, where will the food needed to feed the hungry come from if/when institutions meet their food waste reduction goals? Donald Ferrish of RWU proposed that in the college environment, administrators could transparently engage students in efforts to reduce food waste, pledging to donate funds gained from increased efficiency to the food bank so to contribute to the ongoing needs of food insecure populations.

As institutions and populations, colleges and universities pose specific challenges and opportunities for fighting food waste and food insecurity and promoting food recovery. 

Andrew Schiff commented that colleges have excess resources perfect for fighting food waste and food insecurity with student energy, knowledge, and empathy. Indeed, interest, activism, and volunteering among a select group of students often fuel food recovery efforts in university settings. Even if supported by engaged students, however, food recovery must constantly cope with the inevitable turnover of the student population.

Panel members also acknowledged the challenge of engaging the broader student body in sustainability and food waste reduction efforts. Steven Mello, director of dining services at URI, further elucidated the cultural nature of these challenges, arguing that students today arrive at college more demanding consumers and eaters, having grown up surrounded by food media. From dining services, they no longer seek a substitute for “mom’s home cooking,” but rather a buffet of options that rival restaurant fare, which increases food waste.

A final challenge lies in that while institutions of higher ed are poised to aid the food insecure in the surrounding community, colleges and universities are increasingly identifying, acknowledging, and addressing issues of student food insecurity. Much like how the United States balances food aid efforts internationally and domestically, universities must play a role in addressing these issues within their immediate campus population and their surrounding city and state community.

– – – – – – – – –

In the end, panelists emphasized that fighting food waste, ending food insecurity, and promoting food recovery require collaboration, coalition building, and culture change, which is slow and at times challenging, but urgent and worthwhile work.

“Lose Like a Man:” Gender & the Constraints of Self-Making in Weight Watchers Online

I’m pleased to share my newest article, “‘Lose Like a Man:’ Gender and the Constraints of Self-Making in Weight Watchers Online,” which was published in the spring 2017 issue of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, edited by Melissa Caldwell.

As a scholar of food studies and American studies, I find that analyzing the public faces of commercial diet programs gives me a way to examine and interpret American identity through what you could call an inverted foodways approach—not through what we eat, but through what we aspire so vehemently to limit and avoid. A nexus of discourses on food, bodies, health, and cultural ideals, dieting encapsulates the paradoxes and conflicts at the core of American identity: abundance and restriction, freedom and containment, aspirations and expectations.

Founded in 1963, Weight Watchers has been one of the most popular, long-standing, and financially successful commercial weight loss programs in the world. As an institution and a cultural force, Weight Watchers not only sells diet products, but also communicates, represents, and manipulates gender—more than ever with the launch of Weight Watchers Online for Men in 2007, a program “customized just for guys,” marketed with the tagline “Lose Like a Man.”

In this article, I demonstrate how Weight Watchers constructs masculinity and femininity—and what “Lose Like a Man” really means—by conducting a side-by-side comparison of the 90-second “How Does It Work?” videos for Weight Watchers Online and Weight Watchers Online for Men, which depict program “success stories” Bonnie and Dan. I first argue that Weight Watchers engages aspects of hegemonic masculinity as they endeavor to construct “masculine” dieting as wholly unique from “feminine” dieting through contrasting depictions of food, the body, and technology use—and binaries like masculine/feminine, rational/irrational, unhealthy/healthy, satisfaction/restraint, and public/private.

For example, the videos depict the meaning of weight loss differently for men and women, which variably represent the body. At the beginning and end of her video, Bonnie is depicted alongside her “before photo,” and her motivations to lose weight are framed around personal aspirations and concerns for her health. Dan, on the other hand, never appears in the same frame as his fat body, and his weight loss motivations are presented as central to his career success, and as a military sergeant, to the health of the nation state as well.

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Bonnie and Dan depicted with and without their “before photos” at the beginning of their “How Does It Work? videos. Images from weightwatchers.com (2013) and weightwatchers.com/men (2016).

These videos also reinforce food gender stereotypes as normalized aspects of men and women’s eating behavior and weight loss efforts. While Bonnie uses program cheat sheets to dine out at a restaurant and make “healthy choices,” Dan eats out at a stereotypically masculine location—a sports bar, filled with round, high-top tables, backless stools, and flat screen TVs—and orders tacos and pizza. The videos also depict Bonnie shopping for and preparing “healthy” foods in traditionally domestic spaces like the supermarket and kitchen, while Dan is shown “on the go” at a convenience store (buying chips) and grilling his favorite food (steak) outdoors.

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Bonnie and Dan using cheat sheets in different ways to dine out and “stay on plan.” Images from weightwatchers.com (2013) and weightwatchers.com/men (2016).

Bonnie and Dan also discuss Weight Watchers’ online tools in entirely different terms. Bonnie engages these tools intensely. She literally sits at a desk before a computer as if at work, while Dan says, “The tools are kind of like a video game.” For men, weight loss tools are part of a game, creating distance between the work, effort, and self-discipline of weight loss.

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Weight Watchers depicts the work of weight loss differently for women and men. Images from weightwatchers.com (2013) and weightwatchers.com/men (2016).

Analyzing the difference in the weight loss experiences that Weight Watchers Online promises reveals that Weight Watchers not only reinforces a strict gender binary, but also makes limited types of self available to women and men. While acknowledging the constant dietary and physical surveillance Weight Watchers requires of women, I argue that Weight Watchers also portrays female dieters on a difficult but actualizing and empowering journey toward a new and better self. Conversely, Weight Watchers depicts male clients losing weight easily, even effortlessly, but retaining a stable and immutable masculine selfhood throughout the process. While a complicated and ambivalent distinction, this constraint upon self-making exposes how patriarchy subordinates even the men assumed to profit the most from its power, as the male weight loss promise withholds transformative potentials.

If you have access to Gastronomica, I hope you’ll read the entire article and, as always, I’d love to hear what you think. I also hope you’ll check out the other fascinating pieces in this issue:

TOC

My Food Studies Students Designed Dietary Guidelines, Here’s What Happened

For the past two weeks, my students in Food in American Society and Culture at Brown University have been diving into critical nutrition studies, an emerging field that approaches nutrition science as a cultural construct, a product of history, and inextricably linked to notions of morality. I wondered how students might view food advice differently after learning the basics of this field of thought. Beyond that, how might they reimagine dietary guidelines?

Critical Nutrition Studies

Critical nutrition studies questions the assumptions that form the empirical truth and presumed objective authority of science, as well as the connections between science and food, the body, and human health. To varying degrees, critical nutrition scholars examine, critique, and reject the primary role of nutrition science in how eaters (and stages throughout food systems) relate to food and eating. They endorse moves to decenter nutrition and destabilize its hierarchical position within food knowledge production. This creates space for aspects like food production quality, degree of processing, and truth in marketing, as well as heritage, tradition, culture, identities, gastronomy, taste, and pleasure—to name but a few. [For a far more complete definition of critical nutrition studies, read Charlotte Biltekoff’s “Critical Nutrition Studies” in the The Oxford Handbook of Food History, published by Oxford University Press in 2012.]

In my work, I’ve taken a rather unexpected path toward critical nutrition studies. As an undergraduate, I studied the liberal arts, but also took the prerequisites to become a registered dietitian. I ended up studying Public Health Nutrition, and as I completed my graduate course work, I taught Introduction to Nutrition six times as a Graduate Student Instructor, believing myself—and quite literally indoctrinating hundreds and hundreds of students—in a perspective that I now readily question, unpack, and deconstruct. It was in my years working in worksite wellness that I began to seriously question whether we in public health should be telling people what to eat at all. Finally, pursuing an MLA in Gastronomy, hearing a roundtable discussion on critical nutrition studies at the 2012 ASFS conference, and attending the Critical Nutrition Symposium at UC Santa Cruz in 2013 each drew me into a critical nutrition studies perspective.

Furthermore, my current research not only engages food studies and critical nutrition studies, but also how they both intersect, inform, and contradict another emerging field—the history of nutrition science, a fascinating subfield of the history of medicine, that grapples with the histories of this “young” science. [If you’re interested in these histories too, join our new H-Nutrition network.]

Learning with My Students

As is often the case, working through these difficult concepts and questions with my students has been wholly satisfying. Over the course of two weeks, we read selections from several influential critical nutrition studies texts:

We were very lucky to have Charlotte Biltekoff in class with us to answer questions about her work. Using her comments and these texts, we also critically read primary sources offering dietary advice:

Students also contributed their own primary sources that answered the prompt:

Many sources within our foodscape tell us what we should eat—and as we’ve discussed through the aphorism “You are what you eat,” in effect tell us who we ought to be as well. Find an example of a source offering dietary advice and analyze it in 100-250 words, using Charlotte Biltekoff’s Eating Right in America as a point of reference. Consider: What dietary advice does your source offer? What and/or how does it say we should eat? How does the dietary advice and its author establish authority and expertise?

A few possible sources to get you thinking: family food advice, food advertisements, nutrition facts, food packaging, government dietary guidelines, magazine/newspaper articles, blogs, etc.

Students unpacked how sources as diverse as government dietary guidelines and food guides, BuzzFeed articles, Coca-Cola campaigns, Spoon University, fitness bloggers, diet books, and advocacy organizations each communicate dietary advice and expertise in ways that illuminate the complicated cultural politics of food and health.

Students’ Dietary Guidelines

Next, students accepted the challenge of designing dietary guidelines, informed by critical nutrition studies and aiming to make their dietary advice as inclusive, factual, and balanced as possible. Admittedly, this required accepting a set of assumptions, including the idea that we should tell people what to eat and that guidelines are a worthwhile tool, even if they can be moralizing and paternalistic. It was an experiment. We might fail, but we were going to try it out.

In groups of three or four, students titled their guides, set dietary goals, and drafted a set of recommendations, using a PowerPoint template I designed, so all design flaws and shortsightedness are mine.

Here’s what they came up with, shared with their permission:

As a class, we noted common themes that each set of guidelines endorsed and areas where they diverged, as well as the challenges inherent to designing guidelines in the first place:

Populations and Personalization

Students cared deeply about the challenge of making population level dietary guidelines that still made space for individuals: personal identities; ways of eating; bodies of various shapes, sizes, and abilities; levels of access and capital; and senses of self. They thought it was important for individuals to consider dietary information, but to make it meaningful to their own selves and circumstances, emphasizing themes of education, adjustment, and customization. Students cared about listening to one’s own body and learning what felt good on an individual level without judgement. At the same time, students struggled to create recommendations that were specific enough to be clear and meaningful without being exclusionary in at least some way. Furthermore, students acknowledged that writing pithy and concise goals and recommendations is a difficult task. In the end, many students felt like their recommendations ended up too vague to create an impact, developing a newfound respect for nutrition communication.

Joy, Pleasure, and Social Connection

Most groups endorsed the idea that food was a source of enjoyment, pleasure, and social connection, aspects worth emphasizing just as much as variety and portion control. At the same time, they struggled with identifying language that wasn’t moralizing. For example, even the recommendation, “Allow indulgences,” grew complicated. Students intended for it to endorse moderation in a positive way, but the very word indulgence incited debate, as it invoked a framework of good/bad and even redemption/sin that we didn’t want to support, but, at the same time, struggled to leave behind entirely.

Transparency and Inclusiveness

Students cared about what is in food, as well as where food comes from and about easily accessible and understandable information about food production and provenance. Charlotte Biltekoff’s message of “dietary literacy” resonated with them deeply—as did her clear claim that dietary advice embodies social ideals and by its very nature marginalizes and creates “unhealthy others.” More than anything else, students wanted their dietary guidelines to limit not certain foods or nutrients, but to limit paternalistic judgement and the moralization of foods, eaters, and bodies.

In the end, we might have ended up exactly where Charlotte Biltekoff in Eating Right in America said we would: that in questioning dietary advice, we end up in “a place of disorientation about what dietary advice is”—a first step to redefining and reimagining it. Here’s what we accomplished in two weeks. I’d love to find out where we might end up if we spent an entire term on these topics…


Have you engaged critical nutrition studies with your students or in your work? I’d love to hear about and learn from your experiences!


More about my food studies teaching:

What Is Food Studies?

In my editor’s note in the fifth issue of the Graduate Journal of Food Studies, which launched online today, I considered how to define food studies, inspired by definitions put forth by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik in Food and Culture: A Reader and by Jeff Miller and Jonathan Deutsch in Food Studies: An Introduction to Research Methods. What follows is a selection from that piece. You can read the entire essay here, and we hope you’ll enjoy the complete issue, here.


When tasked this semester to define food studies for my students, I proposed the following:

Food studies is a burgeoning, interdisciplinary, inherently politicized field of scholarship, practice, and art that examines the relationship between food and all aspects of the human experience, including culture and biology, individuals and society, global pathways and local contexts.

I explained that our discipline is young, pointing to the emergence in the 1980s of texts now considered nearly canonical, such as Sidney Mintz’s Sweetness and Power and Warren Belasco’s Appetite for Change, as well as the pioneering work of Mary Douglas and Carole Counihan. I declared food studies an interdisciplinary pursuit, one that is thrilling and innovative, if sometimes nebulous. I further clarified food studies’ scope as an academic field of research, writing, and teaching, but just as importantly, a field dedicated to building bridges between scholarship, practice, and art. Food studies is a field built on the connections between researchers and communities, addressing resources, assets, dilemmas, and solutions. I attempted to summarize the vast inclusiveness of our object of study, pointing to dynamics between culture and biology, individuals and society, global and local processes.

And I felt called to emphasize that our field is inherently politicized. Food studies scholars often assert that food—food culture, food access, and food sovereignty—is a human right. Food studies examines how food constructs identities. And food studies analyzes how governments shape and control food through food systems regulation, food labor policies, food and feeding programs, and support (or lack thereof) for food-related research and artistic expression.

As a result, food studies matters, now more than ever. I hope that this issue of the Graduate Journal of Food Studies incites critical thought, inclusiveness, and hope as we define and enact food studies in our current political climate.

Healthy Food Blogs: Creating New Nutrition Knowledge at the Crossroads of Science, Foodie Lifestyle & Gender Identities

I’m delighted to share that my article, “Healthy Food Blogs: Creating New Nutrition Knowledge at the Crossroads of Science, Foodie Lifestyle, and Gender Identities,”* was recently published in the thirty-sixth edition of Yearbook of Women’s Historya special issue titled, “Gendered Food Practices from Seed to Waste,” edited by Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan, available for purchase here.

My article explores the intersection of nutritional and foodie discourses within a selection of popular “healthy food blogs” in the United States. This subgenre of food blogs combines health-conscious recipes, nutrition education, and the theme of “clean living” with the stylized preparation, plating, photography, personal narrative, and consumptive lifestyle that typically characterize food blogs.

Through content analysis and close reading, I analyzed twelve blogs that were featured in Shape Magazine’s online list, “Our Favorite Healthy Food Blogs,” published in summer 2014. Google searches for “healthy food blogs” confirmed these blogs’ relative popularity among readers, and several blog authors have published cookbooks based on their blogs, placing them among a select group of well-known and financially successful food bloggers. This list of blogs also makes a useful sample because the Shape feature included interviews with the bloggers, which provide additional pertinent data of a nearly ethnographic quality. For example, these interviews summarize how each blogger conceptualizes “healthy food” and “good nutrition,” as well as how they position their own food blogging in relation to nutrition science.

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Thumbnail images from the healthy food blogs Shape featured.

These blogs create new knowledge about food, eating, and health. Principally engaging Gyorgy Scrinis’ concept of “nutritionism,” I examine how nutrition knowledge on these blogs—positioned at the crossroads of competing paradigms—is constructed, disseminated, and consumed, as well as how it might be renegotiated. I demonstrate how these healthy food bloggers construct authority and expertise through variable combinations of professional credentialing (for example, as registered dietitians or certified health coaches) and life experience growing, cooking, and eating food, as well as experience following a particular diet, losing a significant amount of weight, or mothering. I also explore how blog content aligns, contradicts, and/or renegotiates conventional dietary advice, such as government dietary guidelines that until recently promoted lower fat diets. This comparative analysis reveals the ongoing contest for the authority to speak for our bodies and to define a “healthy” diet and identities.

In the case of healthy food blogs, this authority is intertwined with the construction of a hyper-feminine domesticity that is distinctly white, middle class, and heteronormative, which potentially limits the transgressive potential of these media forms. I build upon past analyses of “food porn” to apply the concept of food pornography to the representation of bloggers themselves.

I investigate the role food porn plays in producing and sustaining food inequalities and the social politics of inclusion and exclusion. I thus consider not only spectacular representations of food, but also the highly curated aesthetics of food bloggers’ appearances, bodies, and social relationships. Just as food blogs display food porn through photography and presentations of unrealistic and remarkable food lives, these blogs also depict fantasies of hyper-femininity through Hollywood-esque friendships and courtships, dream weddings, blissful marriages, slim and “healthy” bodies, and perfect motherhood. Just as food porn renders food and cooking seemingly out of reach for many consumers, these representations of healthy food bloggers similarly limit “successful” performances of femininity, containing it within hyper-feminine, heterosexual, white, and relatively affluent bounds.

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Thumbnail images from the healthy food blogs that Shape featured.

Although these healthy food bloggers resist, negotiate, and transform conventional nutrition education and dietary advice, these representations of hyper-feminine domesticity are inherently part of the food, nutrition, and health knowledge that they produce. It remains to be seen if the highly curated pages of food blogs may also be a space for postfeminist action. This sample of food blogs reveals significant tensions between progressive and regressive representations of femininities, which curtail the socially transformative potential of these new food knowledges, even as they effectively decenter nutrition science’s dietary hegemony.


Acknowledgements

For their most helpful feedback, comments, and support of this article, I thank the organizers and participants of the 2015 Southern Foodways Alliance graduate student conference and the Graduate Association for Food Studies‘ Future of Food Studies Conference, as well as Fabio Parasecoli, Suzanne Enzerink, Lukas Rieppel, the reviewers, and the editors, particularly Jessica Duncan.


About Gendered Food Practices from Seed to Waste

This fascinating issue dedicated to the topic of food and gender contains ten articles and one showcase interview with Johanna Maria Van Winter, author of Food and Nourishment in Medieval Europe and Spices and Comfits: Collected Papers on Medieval Food, among many others. As mentioned in the special issue’s title—from seed to waste—editors organized the articles within the structure of the everyday food cycle starting with food growing before processing, selling, and serving; buying and cooking; and eating; then concluding with cleaning and disposing.

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Cover image of Yearbook of Women’s History 36.

The editors write, “The collection of papers contained in this Yearbook showcase that food practices have important implications for gender identities, social norms, socio-economic positions, relations of power, and bodies” and form “a curious, complex, and compelling picture.” It is available for purchase here.


* Yes, I’ve learned my lesson about giving articles titles that are way too long. I’ll never do it again. Learn from my mistake.

Featured image: Shape.

7 Things Food Studies Can Learn from Food Design

Food studies can learn from a similarly burgeoning and interdisciplinary field: food design. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend and present at the 3rd International Conference on Food Design, organized and led at every step by Francesca Zampollo. The conference consisted of ten research and practice presentations and four keynote addresses, which were all shared online in a virtual environment. As my first virtual conference and my first food design event, I’m now reflecting on seven key things.

1. The ongoing definition of a field is a good thing.

Just as food studies continually immerses itself in processes of interdisciplinary self-definition, so too does food design. In an editorial in the first issue of the International Journal of Food DesignFrancesca summarized multiple definitions for the field, excerpted here. And Francesca further clarified the field of food design, identifying key categories:

  • food product design
  • design for food
  • design with food
  • food space design
  • eating design
  • food service design
  • critical food design
  • food system design

In their conference presentation, Ludovico Pensato and Alessandra Ivul of Panem et Circenses conceded their discomfort with having their work categorized as food design, which in Italy refers nearly exclusively to industrial design, invoking commerce and architecture more so than art and performance. In the end, such wrestling with a field’s definition, boundaries, and meaning ensures innovation and invention, commitment and care.

2. Play possesses enduring value.

Food designers incorporate a sense of play, which illuminates their work and passion for food. Even when discussing food dilemmas—like the tension between health and indulgence—Deger Ozkaramanli, of the Delft Institute of Positive Design, asserted that food solutions can be inspired, creative, and playful, like chocolate to-do lists to maximize motivation, productivity, and pleasure, all at once. In their CHIL-DISH project, Kristos Mavrostomos and Anna van der Lei capitalized upon children’s sense of play and fun, as they created fully functional, kid-designed tableware with items like a house-shaped teapot and a bolt-shaped mug. And Léa Bougeault and Aude Laznowski of Miit Studios endorsed playfulness as a business strategy, arguing that positive childhood food memories make for natural points of connection, communication, and conviviality between people and companies. Somewhat similarly, Júlia Nasa argued that creativity is as important to consider as nutrition, sustainability, or safety, as a sense of curious creativity can enliven these other aspects of food and food systems.

3. Food and the senses remain central.

Food design foregrounds sensory experiences. Beatrice Lerma, Doriana Dal Palu’, and Eleonora Bugatti shared how the sounds made by food packaging—for example glass, clay, and plastic containers for yogurt—shaped how consumers perceived flavor, as well as characteristics like quality, craftsmanship, and genuineness. In her presentation, Slow Tofu, Weiwei Wang highlighted tofu not as a high-protein meat substitute with mutable flavor, as it is so often characterized in the West, but as a delicious and complex food unto itself, eaten in various ways and possible to prepare on one’s own with simple tools: a plate, a handmade basket, and a bowl. Ivana Carmen Mottle further explored how sensory tasting events can merge the experiences of eating and tasting, performance and art, entertainment and learning, conviviality and identity.

4. Food space can be transformative.

Food design often engages a strong sense of place and space. In her presentation on the rise of solo dining in urban areas, Emily Cheng posited ways for restauranteurs to spatially consider the needs of diners who eat alone in public, an activity that often carries social stigma. And Alexandra dos Santos presented the results of her work with a local market opening its doors after hours in an effort to engage customers and create a greater sense of community. Centered around the market’s space and building, the evening event incorporated not only locally produced goods and sellers, but also conversation, music, photography, drawing, and design.

5. Food experiences traverse the life course.

Projects shared at the conference engaged food at moments across the life course, from childhood to adulthood and into older age. In their CHIL-DISH project, Kristos Mavrostomos and Anna van der Lei engaged children as young as five in the processes of food design, cooking, and reflecting on food culture. Liza Murphy from The Big Picture research firm shared results from a study of one hundred Millennial and “Generation Z” consumers, revealing how young eaters are shaping the future of eating, snacking, and thinking about health. Additional projects at the conference navigated food in later stages of life. Annet Hoek shared the results of her study which incorporated the principles of molecular gastronomy to improve the culinary experience and nutritional status of elderly patients with swallowing difficulties. Jonas Pariente shared Grandma’s Project, a collaborative web series of recipes and stories, featuring grandmas from around the world.

6. Virtual conferences can be effective, fun, and meaningful.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how this virtual conference promoted the exchange of ideas and provided opportunities for social networking, collaboration, debate, and intellectual growth. All of the presentations were streamed with Google Hangouts, live on air, and then immediately available on YouTube for further viewing and sharing.  Presenters shared their interests and contact information with digital business cards:

Throughout the conference, presenters and attendees interacted  in the chat rooms, through direct messaging, and on Twitter. And even now that the conference is over, its entire structure still exists online with presentation abstracts, the conference proceedings, and recordings of all the presentations and Q&A ready and waiting, forever, to be further discovered and explored.

7. Aesthetics make an impact.

Lastly and perhaps unsurprisingly, designers produce beautiful things—including their presentation slides, videos, and materials. (Check out Emily Cheng’s lovely slides here.) Food studies academics could certainly learn a trick or two from the visually stunning ways that designers present, represent, and summarize their ideas!


As for my presentation at the conference, I shared “Designing Gender: Masculinity and Food Packaging.” You can read the abstract here and watch the presentation below, starting at approximately 4:00.

As Francesca would say, Happy Food Design!

Food-Themed Protest Posters as Resistance

Our current political moment has incited numerous protests and with them a new cohort of protest posters, including ones that engage food as resistance in ways literal and metaphorical, scathing and humorous. Megan Elias has begun a public history project to archive these political ephemera—Dishing it Out: Food-Themed Protest PostersMegan is a historian who writes about food in the US. Her new book, Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture (Penn Press) will be out in June 2017. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about Dishing It Out:


Emily: What inspired you to start gathering these images of food-themed protest posters?

Megan: I noticed the shawarma poster at a protest that I went to in NYC and then a friend in Boston posted a picture of a sign about coffee. The connection jumped out at me because I’m always thinking about food’s roles outside the kitchen. I thought that if this was a trend it would be one worth thinking about.

What do you think these images tell us about food history—and about food politics?

I’m hoping to get other people to work this out with me. I think there are lots of different things going on. One thing that is fascinating for me is that some signs foreground the tendency to embrace the foods of another culture while keeping the people associated with those foods at arms length. Another thing I see is that this contemporary collection of protest movements incorporates humor really openly and that food can help people make their jokes. The use of cheetos to identify the president is a great example of this. It’s not just because they’re orange and he wears tanner—no one calls him Mr. Carrot. Cheetos carry some other code that people find useful for mocking Trump.

Which poster resonates with you the most? 

The first poster I saw, “Who the Fuck Hates Shawarma,” still interests me most and is what made me want to start this collection. It’s so insouciant but also a great question: to what extent does our own self identification within the American political system shape what we will and won’t eat? You can take the sign literally: are there people who hate shawarma because it comes from the Middle East?

dishingitout

Travel Ban Protest, Battery Park NYC, January 29, 2017.


If you would like to add an image of a food-themed protest poster to this project, provide an update to any of the image captions, or contribute an interpretive piece based on the image collection, please use the contact form on the Dishing It Out website.

20 Food Studies Books for Black History Month

“For Black History Month, I’m sharing works of African American foodways scholars and cookbook authors that shape my own research.” So tweeted my friend Katherine Hysmith, who is a PhD student in American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, last week. I couldn’t help but jump on her great idea too with this post, dedicated to books on African American food and culture, which ought to be read and discussed all year round. I’ve ordered the list chronologically by year of publication. As the list indicates, this is a rich, important, and growing area of food studies research that is gaining momentum.

These books matter as they address many themes, including: the significant contributions of African and African American foodways to “American” food culture; the knowledge, expertise, and agency of slaves, expressed through agriculture, cooking and domestic labor, botanical medical traditions, and food commerce; the meaning and historical trajectory of soul food; and the intersections of food with the black body, health, medicine, and power.

If you have suggestions for books to add, please let me know in the comments! And find even more academic works, as well as historic and contemporary cookbooks from black chefs and restauranteurs, on Black Culinary History’s fantastic website.


  1. Maurice M. Manring, Slave in A Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima (University of Virginia Press, 1998).
  2. Doris Witt, Black Hunger: Food and the Politics of U.S. Identity (Oxford University Press, 1999)—reissued as Black Hunger: Soul Food and America (University of Minnesota Press, 2004).
  3. Judith A. Carney, Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (Harvard University Press, 2002).
  4. Andrew Warnes, Hunger Overcome?: Food and Resistance in Twentieth-Century African American Literature (University of Georgia Press, 2004).
  5. Psyche A. Williams-Forson, Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power (The University of North Carolina Press, 2006).
  6. Debra A. Reid, Reaping a Greater Harvest: African Americans, the Extension Service, and Rural Reform in Jim Crow Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 2007).
  7. Anne Bower (editor), African American Foodways: Explorations of History and Culture (University of Illinois Press, 2008).
  8. Frederick Douglass Opie, Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America (Columbia University Press, 2010).
  9. Rebecca Sharpless, Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865-1960 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
  10. Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff, In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (University of California Press, 2011).
  11. Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America (Bloomsbury USA, 2012).
  12. Adrian Miller, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time (The University of North Carolina Press, 2013).
  13. Angela Jill Cooley, To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South (University of Georgia Press, 2015).
  14. Toni Tipton-Martin, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks (University of Texas Press, 2015).
  15. Jennifer Jensen Wallach (editor), Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop: Rethinking African American Foodways from Slavery to Obama (University of Arkansas Press, 2015).
  16. Mark S. Warner, Eating in the Side Room: Food, Archaeology, and African American Identity (University Press of Florida, 2015).
  17. Anthony Ryan Hatch, Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (University of Minnesota Press, 2016).
  18. Adrian Miller, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas (The University of North Carolina Press, 2017).
  19. Michael W. Twitty, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South (Amistad, August 1, 2017).
  20. John Gennadi, Flavor and Soul: Italian America at Its African American Edge“Chapter 3: Everybody Eats” (University of Chicago Press, March 2017).

Top image credit: Emily Contois, 2017  

Gyorgy Scrinis on How the Food Industry Captured Nutritionism

Gyorgy Scrinis of University of Melbourne presented “Nutritionism, Big Food, and the Corporate Capture of Nutrition” at Harvard University on December 7. The talk provided a fascinatingly concise summary of Scrinis’ work on nutritionism to date and previews his new work, which directly engages how the corporate food industry has captured, appropriated, and co-opted the discourse of nutritionism in food product development and marketing.

The event was sponsored by Harvard-based working groups on the History of Medicine and Modern Science and organized by my friend and colleague, Lisa Haushofer, a PhD candidate in History of Science at Harvard.

I live tweeted during the event and have curated the talk’s main points below. Learn more about Gyorgy Scrinis and Nutritionism here.

Read More

Food Studies at Brown Welcomes John Lang to Speak on Genetically Modified Food

On Friday, December 2, Food Studies at Brown warmly welcomes John Lang, Associate Professor of Sociology at Occidental College, to speak at Brown University on his recently published book, What’s So Controversial About Genetically Modified Food? All interested parties in the Providence area are warmly invited to attend.

As a sociologist of food who explores the intersection of consumption, culture, and trust, Lang could not have found a more compelling case study. Lang places the debate around genetically modified (GM) food and our current “menu of choice” in social context. He demonstrates how controversies about GM food are but “a proxy debate” that articulates larger issues of social and political power, cultural values, corporate responsibility, intellectual property, democratic practices, science, and technology through concerns regrading risks and benefits, expertise and knowledge, fear and trust.

Lang novelly argues that genetic modification is not only a complex issue, but perhaps one that has misguided our attention and political activism. Going so far as to describe GM food controversies as “largely symbolic in content,” Lang points us to the heart of the issue as he writes:

Time, energy and money have been dedicated to debates about whether GM food has more potential for good or evil, yet these resources might be better spent seeking solutions to known problems in agricultural practices and systems, like contaminated and inadequate water supplies, degraded soil quality, stresses of climate change and persistent distribution problems. That we have become so focused on genetic modification controversies is the biggest problem of all. The scientific tool of genetic modification is not the ultimate problem, but rather a distraction from the persistent problems that plague our international food system.

After spending more than a decade researching this topic, Lang shares, “I hold a relatively neutral position on GM food.” He asserts that rather than narrowly focusing on genetically modified foods or issues like GM labeling, we will be better served by broadly advocating for increased social responsibility and local adaptability throughout the food system. Such a focus seeks to dismantle the links between profit, industry-wide consolidation, scientific hegemony, and intellectual property law—which form the current foundations of genetically modified technology.

In the end, Lang finds inspiration in Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel; that we can make good use of “the continuing tension between restless idealism and an impending sense of doom” to fuel our search and activism for more just and culturally appropriate solutions within our global food system.


Please Join Food Studies at Brown for:

The Tension Between Idealism and Doom: Our Future with Genetically Modified Food

John Lang | Associate Professor of Sociology, Occidental College

December 2, 2016 | 3:30 pm | Smith-Buonanno 106, 95 Cushing Street (Map)

Warmly open to the public

Co-Sponsored by Brown University American Studies, Science and Society, the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Anthropology, and BIOL 0190U: Plant Development, Structure and Function


About Food Studies at Brown

Food Studies at Brown began in spring 2016 and currently involves dozens of faculty members across disciplines such as American Studies, Anthropology, Biology, English, Environmental Studies, Medicine, and Public Health. Courses offered by Food Studies at Brown affiliated faculty explore food, culture, and identity; food systems, agriculture, and sustainability; food policy and issues; nutrition, health, disease, and medicine; and food writing and media; among other topics as well.

Food Studies at Brown approaches food from a broad and interdisciplinary perspective. We examine the relationship between food and all aspects of the human experience, including culture and biology, individuals and society, global pathways and local contexts. Across our campus, faculty, students, and staff engage with food in myriad meaningful ways. Food Studies at Brown endeavors to bring food-related research, teaching, projects, activities, and events together in one place so that we can synthesize our efforts across campus and the community.

For more information regarding Food Studies at Brown, contact Emily Contois at emily_contois [AT] brown.edu.


Top image credit: Emily Contois, 2016  

Why My Dude Food Research Matters

I’m thrilled to share a recording of my talk, “Dude Food: Gender and Health in U.S. Popular Culture,” which is based on my dissertation and was presented on November 5 at the Brown University Graduate School event “Research Matters!” You can also watch the other nine fascinating talks here.

This event challenged me to distill my dissertation into a crisp 5-minute talk intended for an informed, but interdisciplinary audience. It also made me grapple with the question of why my research matters.

This can feel like a loaded question in food studies.

As a younger discipline within the academy and one focused on a seemingly quotidian aspect of the human experience, food studies has been in the past dismissed as frivolous and unserious. This dismissal pointedly invokes notions of gender. For example, in Food: The Key Concepts, Warren Belasco proposes that such judgement rests in the tradition of classical dualism between the glorious (masculine) mind and the “gross” (feminine) body. He also argues food studies’ reputation has “been hindered by another Victorian relic,” the “separate spheres” that delineate a set of inter-related binary constructions: masculine/feminine, public/private, production/consumption (p. 3). Belasco further contends that the food industry has “obscured and mystified” the links from farm to fork, rendering them too “vague” and “ephemeral” to seem worthy of study (p. 5). To this list, Jeff Miller and Jonathan Deutsch in Food Studies: An Introduction to Research Methods add that food studies research is fun. A field rooted in such levity may incite “a certain amount of corresponding resentment” among our colleagues in other disciplines (p. 7).

The question of why something as seemingly trivial as “dude food” matters invokes similar intellectual debates. As a scholar of contemporary popular culture, I accept the challenge to interpret, historicize, and theorize our current moment, as it transpires all around us. Like Kathleen Franz and Susan Smulyan argue in Major Problems in American Popular Culture, I maintain that popular culture affords rich evidence that is meaningful, multifaceted, and political, as it articulates identity negotiation, the growing pains of social and cultural change, and the tensions between resistance and containment. Or as Fabio Parasecoli puts it in Bite Me: Food in Popular Culture, “Pop culture constitutes a major repository of visual elements, ideas, practices, and discourses that influence our relationship with the body, with food consumption, and, of course, with the whole system ensuring that we get what we need on a daily basis, with all its social and political ramifications” (p. 3).

I study dude food to discover how our society defines and redefines what gender is, as a dynamic process rather than set of stagnant characteristics. For all the reasons that food studies has been historically denigrated as a field, food makes for meaningful evidence to understand gender performativity and how power operates in society. As Alice Julier and Laura Lindenfeld argued in “Mapping Men Onto the Menu: Masculinities and Food” in a 2005 special issue of Food and Foodways, “The control of food production and consumption is inextricably tied up with issues of power and position.” In this way,  I study dude food to understand the broader and deeper social anxieties of our times: ongoing contests for the authority to define our identities and our selves, our borders and our boundaries—and to maintain specific crystallizations of power.

So yes, food studies research matters, now more than ever.


He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich:’ Advertising Australia’s National Food in the United States, 1968-1988

I’m pleased to announce that my article, “‘He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich:’ Advertising Australia’s National Food in the United States, 1968-1988” was published last week in a special issue of the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing on Australian Marketing History, edited by Robert Crawford. Examining the local and the global, the issue’s eight articles are organized around three of the traditional four Ps of the marketing mix: products, places, and promotions.

My own article examined a particular product: Vegemite. Chocolate-like in appearance but with a flavor like nothing else on earth, Vegemite is a yeast extract spread that is essentially synonymous with Australia. I’ve written about Vegemite before here, here, and here.

In this most recent publication, I examine how Vegemite was not an instant success when first marketed to Australian consumers in the 1920s. It was culturally resonant advertising campaigns in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, designed by the US ad giant J. Walter Thompson, that played a key role in securing Vegemite’s place in a significant share of Australia’s kitchens. These efforts included the now iconic “Happy Little Vegemites” campaign, developed for radio in 1954 and television in 1956. In rotation ever since, it is a campaign that comprises what Douglas B. Holt calls a brand’s “masterful, breakthrough performance”—an advertisement so extraordinary that it is incorporated into the culture itself.

Given Vegemite’s sales success and burgeoning cultural icon status in Australia, Kraft attempted a transnational feat in the late 1960s—to create a US market for the salty spread. J. Walter Thompson developed at least three distinct campaigns, which ran in newspapers and magazines across the USA between 1968 and 1970. Introduced to a nation only peripherally aware of Australia itself, these campaigns failed. Despite this, Vegemite and its US advertising tell us an intriguing story.

vegusads

Sample advertisements from the U.S. Vegemite campaigns. J. Walter Thompson (1968-1970), “Kraft, 1968-1970, Vegemite”, Domestic Advertisements Collection, Box KR36, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham.

Combining the approaches of advertising history, food studies, and transnational studies of popular culture, this article presents Vegemite —as both a food and cultural product—as a case study through which three interrelated themes can be explored.

First, Vegemite in the USA demonstrates the progression of American perceptions of Australia during the latter half of the twentieth century. Despite failing to capture the American market in the late 1960s, Vegemite—and Australia—captured American interest in the 1980s when a pop culture wave of Australian films, music, and sport triggered several years of success stateside.

Most notable among these was Men at Work’s 1982 hit song, “Down Under.”

The song’s second verse ignited an American fascination with Vegemite and all things Australiana:

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich

(Hay and Strykert, 1981)

Second, Vegemite’s failures and successes in the USA articulate the complexity of the transnational flow, adoption, and rejection of ideas, people, and products. Appadurai (1990, 1996, 2010) has theorized extensively on the politics of ever shifting, but always connected transcultural flows and exchanges, as they challenge traditional notions of the nation-state. Indeed, scholars debate whether transnationalism represents cultural imperialism and homogenization or processes of localization and generative hybridity.

Globalization’s effects upon local food cultures and “national cuisines” are also central to these debates (Inglis and Gimlin, 2010). While scholars have explored the hegemonic potential of global food brands, such as McDonald’s (Ritzer, 2004; Watson, 1997), Coca-Cola (Foster, 2008), and Starbucks (Harrison et al., 2005; Plog, 2005), I ask what is to be made of Vegemite, as a failed cultural exchange between two nations, both former English colonies.

While efforts to tap an American taste for Vegemite ultimately failed, my analysis of US newspaper articles mentioning Vegemite between 1982 and 1988 finds that American perceptions of Vegemite fall into three main categories: excited exoticism, pleasantly bemused derision, and elitist disdain. No matter the reaction, Vegemite press coverage throughout the decade demonstrated the ambivalent and non-linear progression of American perceptions of Australia, as Americans’ at times derisive views of Australian culture comingled with enthusiastic mania for Australiana.

Third and finally, these transnational exchanges provide the opportunity to examine the cultural contexts in which advertising fails and triumphs, as well as the marketing process by which brands become icons, or not. Although J. Walter Thompson was able to transform Vegemite in Australia from an unpopular spread to a national symbol, the agency was unable to create even a modest market in the USA. Lacking significant points of cultural connection or relevance, advertising alone failed to make Vegemite meaningful to American consumers. Conversely, an influx of Australia-made popular culture in the 1980s successfully captured American appetites for the salty spread, notably without a national advertising campaign. Comparing these two moments and using Holt’s (2004) principles of cultural branding as a framework, this case study demonstrates the pivotal role of culture and environment in advertising’s functionality and effectiveness.

If you have access to the Journal, I hope you’ll read the entire piece, as well as the other fascinating articles working to chronicle the history of marketing in Australia.

Works Cited

Appadurai, A. (1990), “Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy”, Theory, Culture & Society Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 295-310, doi: 10.1177/026327690007002017.

Appadurai, A. (1996), Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Appadurai, A. (2010), “How histories make geographies”, Transcultural Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 4-13.

Foster, R.J. (2008), Coca-Globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.

Harrison, J.S., Chang, E.Y., Gauthier, C., Joerchel, T., Nevarez, J. and Wang, M. (2005), “Exporting a North American concept to Asia: starbucks in China”, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 275-283, doi: 10.1177/0010880404273893.

Holt, D.B. (2004), How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding, Harvard Business Review PressBoston, MA.

Inglis, D. and Gimlin, D. (2010), The Globalization of Food, Bloomsbury Academic, New York, NY.

Plog, S.C. (2005), “Starbucks more than a cup of coffee”, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 284-287, doi: 10.1177/0010880405275535.

Ritzer, G. (2004), The McDonaldization of Society, Revised New Century Edition, Pine Forge Press (Sage), Thousand Oaks.

Watson, J.L. (Ed.) (1997), Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

Graduate Journal of Food Studies Seeks Book Reviews Editor

UPDATE | November 3, 2016

I’m  thrilled to welcome Edwige Crucifix as our new book reviews editor at the Graduate Journal of Food Studies. Learn more about her and the rest of our editorial board here. If you’re interested to be involved with the Journal, we have other opportunities, like serving as a peer reviewer; contributing your own article, Food-Stuff piece, or book review; or serving as a GAFS liaison at your institution. If you are interested to learn more about any of these other roles, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


As Editor-in-Chief at the Graduate Journal of Food Studies, I’m pleased to share that we’re seeking a new associate editor of book reviews. If you’re a current graduate student at the masters or doctoral level working in food studies, this could be the editorial role for you. We’re looking for a polished and professional colleague who is passionate about and well-versed in food studies scholarship, an avid reader (and even better) experienced writer of book reviews, and someone who meets deadlines with extreme regularity and good humor.  The ideal candidate will be organized, self-motivated, responsive, and downright fun to work with.

The primary role of the book reviews editor is to provide guidance and feedback to book review contributors. Candidates should be familiar with major theories, authors, and areas of focus within the field of food studies. Candidates should also be familiar with the structure and objective of academic book reviews, and should be able to provide constructive feedback to authors about how to fit the form in terms of content, style, clarity, and grammar.

Other job responsibilities include contacting academic presses for books, maintaining a log of current and past reviews, maintaining a record of recent academic food studies books, responding to e-mails, and communicating with me, the Editor-in-Chief. The hours required per week varies. Expect 5-15 hours per week during the busiest months when we band together to publish our two fabulous issues per year, in the spring and fall.

If you’re interested to apply for this position, please email me, Emily Contois, at GJFSeditor [AT] gmail.com with a full CV and cover letter stating your interest and experience. Interviews will begin immediately.

About the Graduate Journal of Food Studies:

The Graduate Journal of Food Studies (GJFS) is an international student-run and refereed journal dedicated to encouraging and promoting interdisciplinary food scholarship at the graduate level. Published bi-yearly in digital form, the journal is a space for promising scholars to showcase their exceptional academic research. The GJFS is published open-access online and is the official journal of the Graduate Association for Food Studies.

The Journal hopes to foster dialogue and engender debate among students across the academic community. It features food-centric original research articles from diverse disciplines including, but not limited to: anthropology, history, sociology, cultural studies, gender studies, economics, art, politics, pedagogy, nutrition, philosophy, and religion. It also features engaging book reviews of groundbreaking scholarship in the field. In addition, the Food-Stuff section features shorter pieces of food studies writing not subject to peer review, such as field notes, archival reports, commentaries, interviews, and photo essays.