Thinking, and doing: Willa Zhen on Teaching Anthropology of Food at the Culinary Institute of America

Lauren Moore
University of Kentucky

This month, we hear from Willa Zhen, Associate Professor at The Culinary Institute of America. She discusses teaching anthropology at an applied institution, and many of the excellent hands-on activities she uses to engage her students.

If you would like to participate, or would like to nominate an excellent instructor for the interview series, please email

Lauren Renée Moore: Can you tell me a little bit about what it’s like to teach at the Culinary Institute of America?

Willa Zhen: The students here—especially those in the new Applied Food Studies major, which started in January 2015—love food. They love cooking, they love eating, and many want to do more with their careers than become traditional restaurant chefs. They’re thinking about food in complex ways, but also have a very hands-on, grounded approach. They understand food at a very practical and sensory level, and also at a cognitive level. That’s what our program is like, in a nutshell.

LRM: What is it like to teach students with such an applied focus?

WZ: When I taught at my doctoral institution, I taught very traditional undergraduate anthropology classes. We read classic texts—and I was in the UK, so we were reading things like Malinowski, very heavy and descriptive. It was very different teaching those types of students and a lot of the students there were very internationally focused, many of them were international themselves. Me included, I was an American living in the UK. Convincing them to read about far-flung places and cultures was pretty easy.

Here, students are working from a different set of experiences, and I try to ground class in what they already know and have experienced. Many students come from working backgrounds and have limited international and cross-cultural exposure. I’m not able to use the classic ethnographies to the same degree. In fact, I actually ground them in current issues and current debates, to really make it relevant. The goal is to get them to dive more critically and thoughtfully into their everyday experience. So it’s kind of a different way of thinking about things.

All photos provided by Willa Zhen.

All photos provided by Willa Zhen.

LRM: Can you tell me a little bit about the structure of your class?

WZ: My students don’t have intro to anthropology and we don’t have an anthro major. There are other classes which explore anthropology in some way, but this is the only anthro class. So I wrote it as an intro to anthropology. I’m trying to get them thinking about classic anthropological concepts and methods of inquiry, but through the lens of food. I actually have two books that I have them read. One of them is an anthropology textbook, and it introduces concepts like kinship, community, etc., and then I have them read Counihan and Van Esterik’s Food and Culture Reader. Then, we do a lot of activities.

For instance, when we talk about kinship, family, commensality, and family structure, I have them do kinship charts. I have Grinding grains - 5them draw their own kinship chart, and then ask them to think about feeding, commensality, and kinship. They use colors to do this. They take one color—I have crayons or colored pencils—and have them shade in everybody who’s fed them. And then they use another color to shade in all the people they feed. I ask: are there overlaps? For most people, elders feed them, and then when they hit a certain age, they’re feeding younger family members. But sometimes, students’ charts don’t fit that characterization. Maybe they didn’t have anyone who fed them, because their parents were working or maybe their parents were unable to feed them due to physical disability. And it creates ways of thinking about feeding and structure and commensality. With that exercise, we read Psyche Williams-Forson’s work “More than Just the ‘Big Piece of Chicken’: The Power of Race, Class, and Food in American Consciousness” on African American family relationships and chicken. It becomes a very tactile way to think about these anthropological concepts.

LRM:  Can you give me an example how you bring current debates into the course?

WZ: One of the ways I teach them about agriculture, technology, and the domestication of plants, is by sneaking it in through a hands-on activity. What you often hear is that food way back when—like your grandmother’s food, which is what Michael Pollan likes to say—was great and romantic and pastoral. It was wonderful! Or, with the Paleo diet folks, we hear that our ancestors ate so much better, right? They foraged, there was no domestication, and everyone was healthier, leaner, and sexier back then. We talked about these different ideas, and then I have them grind grain by hand. We went to the kitchen, I put them in different teams, I had them set a timer and everybody got different tools to work with. Some teams got mortars and pestles of different compositions, others got stone, other a cutting board. I had them see how long it took to grind the grain down to usable flour. They also measure the start weight, and when they got to a point where they had a usable grind, they weighed it again.Grinding grains - 3

This activity was a little bit evil, because some students were very frustrated. That’s the point. To make them think. Smashing things with stone is not as effective as a mortar and pestle, which is not as effective as an industrial mill. It gives them an appreciation for the amount of labor and time it takes to get usable food. They also gain an appreciation for agriculture and storage technology. This got them thinking about the notion of romanticizing the past and the idea that things were better. They quickly realize that it sucks to do things by hand. But, a lot of people on the planet still have to process food in very backbreaking, difficult ways. Grinding grain in class gave them an appreciation of how physical and backbreaking it is. And these students are people who have a lot of manual dexterity. They have all been trained as cooks, and they know how to use a kitchen and work with food. But none of them were prepared for how difficult it was. We were in the kitchen and they were upset because their hands were hurting and their ears were ringing—because it’s very, very loud to hit things with rocks for a long time. They can see why these different technologies may have developed.

Later, I took mercy on them, and had them mix some store-bought commercial flour with what they’d ground, in order to make it into something cookable. The point of this was to grind your flour and then eventually cook it into some kind of bread. They had an option of making any type of bread they wanted. It was open for them to decide because one of the points about agriculture and the development of technology is that our ancestors had to figure this out. They didn’t have a recipe book. So students started asking questions like, “Are there ways we can make this process happen faster?” I asked them to look at the kitchen. What technologies would they have had available to them in the past? Perhaps they had fire. The students started roasting grains, to see if that would make it easier to grind. Some of them boiled their grain down to a paste to see if that would make it easier. As they did this, I said, “This is what our ancestors did, too. They figured it out, because I’m sure they came to the same conclusion you did, which is: this sucks. I’m hungry, how do I make this faster?”

Grinding grains - 2

LRM:  Do you usually teach in a kitchen setting?

WZ: I’m usually in a traditional classroom, with the whiteboard and computers and desks and chairs. We do have kitchens available. The trick here on campus is that the kitchens are usually occupied. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to finagle my way into a kitchen and use that space, but I try and use activities that work in a classroom setting, as well. If I got stuck and couldn’t get a kitchen, I wouldn’t be able to do the part where they had to figure out other adaptive technologies like fire or boiling, but they could still do the grinding part where they get mortars and pestles and grind at a desk.

I try as much as I can to plan things that don’t necessarily require kitchens even though the kitchen is ideal for some of them. I try to think outside the box a lot, how to make this engaging and also pedagogically and academically valid. It takes a little bit of thinking out of the box, and the lot of willingness to trust your gut and experiment and to be willing to have it flop.Grinding grains - 4

LRM:  I wonder if you have other activities you could share that might work well in a traditional classroom setting?

WZ:  One of the things I have done with my anthro class to think about concepts like community and identity is have them look at community cookbooks. You can also do this with ethnic or international cookbooks. One of my favorites is the White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler. It’s a best-seller.  Students can think about how communities self-identify. Who are the self-identified people who buy a white trash cookbook? I have them pull out who the community is, what their values are. Are there certain types of foods that seem to be present? How do they describe themselves? Then, we talk about the narrative of the community, and how we present ourselves, and how much of this describes what the community actually is.

I also have them do mini participant observation either as part of class time or outside of class. It helps them understand sociocultural anthropology methodologies. I find that with students who have been trained as cooks, the challenge is not getting them to do the assignment, it’s actually getting them to reel back that chef’s hat. I have to say, “This is not a restaurant review, you’re not describing the food, you’re not describing the meal, or how you would have plated in it. But, what was actually going on around you?” I often get something that’s more of a restaurant review, and I have to say, “What was actually happening? What was the action, the drama in front of you? Or was there no drama?”

LRM: What do you want students to take away from your class?

WZ:  When I’m teaching the Anthropology of Food, I don’t expect them to remember who Franz Boas or Margaret Mead was. What I want them to get out of it, and remember a couple of months from now, or ten years from now, or maybe when they are very old and in their rocking chairs is: I want them to think outside of themselves for just a moment, and ask, how do I know this? Where am I getting this information? That’s always my key goal. It’s part of the nature of anthropology, to think about where cultural values and norms come from. That’s the one thing I always want my students to think about. To take a step back, and think, where is that coming from?

LRM: Do you feel like you achieve this?

WZ:  I hope so. For one ethnographic project, I had a group study people who drink alone in bars. They went to a local watering hole and they get permission from the owner to hang out there. They started the project assuming different things about why people drink alone. They assumed that these people are losers who didn’t have anybody to drink with. They found in their interviews that why people drink alone is much more complex. Some people didn’t truly drink alone. They went to the bar alone, but they ended up socializing with everybody at the bar. That was their way of socializing. Or people go to the bar alone to socialize without committing to a specific time with specific people. Other people like drinking alone just for the solitude, or it was just a quick drink to get out of the house. The students’ assumptions were really challenged. They always thought that drinking alone was embarrassing, but it wasn’t, necessarily.

LRM:  I wonder if you could speak a little bit to graduate student readers about working in an applied environment like the Culinary Institute of America?

WZ:  For anybody who’s coming from a traditional academic background or institution, teaching at a non-traditional institution can be incredibly rewarding and fun. For me, I’ve always had one foot in applied work anyway, and I felt like that was missing from traditional institutions. Here, I can do a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to do, that I wish I could have done in classes. It’s so rewarding to be able to do these hands on activities. And I think that’s something, particularly with this tight job market, and the difficulties of getting anything in academia. If you want to work in higher education, don’t discount these institutions. The students I have are very focused and driven because they are career minded. They are determined to do well and succeed, and they understand that they have to work hard. Those concepts make sense to them because they have to work in the kitchen from day one here. My advice would be to not dismiss these institutions. It’s so gratifying to be able to do this mixture of academics and also be very grounded. We get to think, and get to do at the same time.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology of food, Food Studies, teaching

Necessary Knowledge: Where Denver Anthropologists Drink and Eat

John Brett
University of Colorado Denver

As a Denver native and passionate eater of foods, what follows is my personal, if a bit quirky, list of places I would send my friends and colleagues to eat and drink while visiting Denver.  There’s no easy way to organize something of this nature but I’ve added some headings to provide some idea of where things are.  I suppose as a Coloradoan, I should include something on our recently legalized intoxicant but I can’t for lack of experience, but I would refer you to the Cannabist, developed by the Denver Post which has a lot of news and reviews and the number of shops rivals Starbucks in their density (the basics: you have to be over 21 to purchase, can’t consume it in public spaces, and can’t take it with you…).

The Denver food scene is big, complex, a bit weird, but really fun so find some time to explore.  Most of the restaurants are walking or short taxi ride from the convention center but I’ve included some stellar neighborhood restaurants as well.

Where to begin? Beer. Asheville, NC claims to have more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else in the country and I have no reason to dispute that but Denver surely ranges near the top for sheer number of excellent breweries. Microbreweries seem to pop up on a weekly basis so I’ll only mention the ones that always seem to find me at a table.  Most of them have a food truck outside, or are in districts with easy access to food, so it’s easy to “do dinner” around some tasty beer. One of the oldest and still finest breweries in Denver is Great Divide.  The Denver Beer Company actively partners with other brewers and in addition to their solid regular lineup, they often produce some creative new styles.  A long standing Denver institution, My Brother’s Bar (home of the Ralphie buffalo burger), the REI flagship store and Wilderness Exchange are all within a few blocks which can make this an afternoon bored-with-the-meeting excursion.  A small brewer that has made a big name for itself is River North Brewery; their specialty is barrel conditioned ales which to the glass are excellent.  Do the tasting flight to get the full range of options.  In the same neighborhood Epic Brewing Company (actually based out of Salt Lake City) is big and noisy but has plenty of tasty beer.  For those who like their beers sour, the Crooked Stave is the place to go.  For those with a desire for German style lagers, Proust Brewing will take good care of you.  These are my usual haunts; for more suggestions and reviews go to the Denver Post Beer Blog which has been running for several years.

Colorado has also become one of the hotspots for artisanal distilling (yes, some of us are sober some of the time) but I’ll mention only one.  Leopold Brothers produces an interesting line of whisky, gin, vodka and various cordials.  If you’ve got three hours and your Uber app, they do a great three hour tour and tasting.

Onto the food; for lack of a better strategy, I’ll organize restaurants by neighborhood:

Lower Downtown (LoDo): walking, biking, short hop from Convention Center

Any of the James Beard awarded restaurants by Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch will make you happy.  Their two flagship concepts, both in Larimer Square (two blocks from the convention center) are the Spanish inspired Rioja and the classic French joint, Bistro Vendome, across the street from one another.  Around the corner is their upscale pub, Euclid Hall with a great mix of local and imported beer and not-your-average pub fare.  A little further afield, but still within walking distance is their take on fish, Stoic and Genuine in Union Station.  If you’re in that neighborhood, or love books, be sure to drop into the Tattered Cover, a highly successful and widely known independent bookstore that evokes passionate loyalty among its many supporters (great coffee too).  Also in this area is the newly revitalized Union Station which is a beautiful example of urban renewal and in-fill.

Larimer Square has a host of eateries but I’ll just quickly mention a couple: The Market Deli is a locally owned institution and a great place for a quick breakfast or lunch (check out the salads) and fine coffee; everything is baked in house and their pastries are huge.  Osteria Marco is Italian inspired with good salads, charcuterie and pizza; Tamayo is upscale, modern Mexican with a huge tequila list.

Tucked into a former warehouse district (most of which have been knocked down) you’ll find Domo which serves Japanese country fare and is consistently good.  Their specialty is the wide range of noodle dishes from the Japanese tradition, with seasonal features.


Little manA former working class, ethnic neighborhood that has felt the full brunt of gentrification over the last 20 years or so but in consequence has some excellent restaurants.  An early entrant and current mainstay in the neighborhood is Z Cuisine and the next door absinthe bar A Coté.  This is a classic French bistro space, intimate (read, tiny) with a beautiful menu.  A key point: this is not the place to go if you’re in a hurry; they don’t take reservations for parties of fewer than 6 so the routine is to wait (or eat) in the bar until a table opens up.  Two sister restaurants, Root Down, and Linger both feature locally sourced ingredients and innovative menus.  For those interested in “nose to tail” farmhouse cuisine, Old Major is worth a visit—they do all their processing in-house and occasionally feature a pig to pork workshop.  If ice cream helps you get up in the morning, you’ll want to make a stop at Little Man Ice Cream; you can’t miss it; just look for the 28 foot tall cream can…


This mixed warehouse, light manufacturing district is a rapidly urbanizing mix of upscale condo housing, apartments and conversions with the funkiness of a transitional neighborhood, and, of course, a lot of interesting food.  Two restaurants back to back to one Cart Driveranother and always packed are Cart Driver Pizza and Work and Class.  Again, both tend to be noisy and crowded so don’t go if you have serious business to conduct or you’re in a hurry; if neither of those apply, it won’t be time wasted.  If you find yourself at the Crooked Stave for a beer, two restaurants in the same building are worth the effort: Acorn is a small/shared plate place featuring highly creative (but expensive) dishes.  The other option in this space is Comida serves reasonably priced, updated “Mexican street food.”

Not neighborhood specific but fine eating places within 5-10 minutes of the convention center and well worth considering include Satchels on Sixth, Beast and Bottle (nice wine list), and Charcoal; all offer interesting creative menus.  WaterCourse Foods is Denver’s flagship vegan restaurant; you won’t find anything here that pretends to be meat; flavors are unique and you won’t leave hungry; great juice bar.

The Mercury Café is a Denver institution serving locally raised, organic food in a community setting.  There’s almost always somethin’ happenin’ at The Merc—poetry reading, live music, dance…

SAME (So All May Eat) Café is a pay what you can/will with a different menu daily, depending on what’s available—soul satisfying food prepared in a social justice practice.

Three neighborhood restaurants twenty minutes or so from downtown but absolutely worth the trek are Bistro Barbès which is a north African/French inspired place (very small and very popular so make reservations well in advance); The Plimoth is another neighborhood restaurant that is generally reserved full 2-3 weeks out, because it’s really good.

There are dozens of lunch joints, both local and chain, within blocks of the meetings: the 16th Street Mall, Larimer, Market, Blake and Curtis Streets are rich with options as is Writers Square and the Tabor Center.  Although November is not the best season, Denver hosts a lot of food trucks (; though they are not always obvious downtown.

1 Comment

Filed under AAA 2015 Denver, anthropology of food, restaurants

George Mason University Job Announcement

George Mason University
Department of Nutrition and Food Studies – Term Assistant Professor

The George Mason University, College of Health and Human Services, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies in Fairfax, Va., invites applications for a Term (Nontenure-Track) Assistant Professor position in Nutrition to begin Spring 2016. Responsibilities require teaching four courses per semester at either the undergraduate- or graduate-level.

An earned doctorate degree in nutrition or a related field is required. Successful candidates will contribute to the growth and success of Nutrition programs (including an M.S. in Nutrition, graduate certificates in Food Security and Nutrition, and the development of additional programs), teach Food Studies and Nutrition courses at both the undergraduate- and graduate-level, and advise our M.S. students.

The ability to contribute to other programs within the College of Health and Human Services, including Public Health, Community Health, Epidemiology, Global Health, Chronic Disease, Aging and Disability will be weighed in the selection process. Additional desired qualifications are experience with successful methods of teaching and learning, developing courses in higher education, online course development and offerings, and a solid record of teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Priorities given to those who can teach courses in food security, food systems, nutrition/food policy, food and culture, and nutrition program planning.

George Mason University is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse faculty and staff. Women and minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

For full consideration, applicants must apply for position number F7147z at by November 13, 2015. The position will remain open until filled. EO/AA/Vet/Disabled Employer.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

AAA Webinar Wednesday: Research Methods for Anthropological Studies of Food and Nutrition

SAFN is organizing a webinar with the American Anthropological Association. Former SAFN presidents Janet Chrzan and John Brett will lead a discussion of their forthcoming edited collection on research methods for the anthropological study of food and nutrition.

The volume is a truly comprehensive collection of methodological essays by many of the leading scholars in our field. Of course, many of them are SAFN members. You can read more about the book here. It will be published by Berghahn, in a series organized by SAFN, which you can read about here.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the book, discuss the stunning range of methods the book covers, talk with Dr. Chrzan and Dr. Brett, and make contact with others interested in methods issues.

The webinar will be on October 7, at 2 pm Eastern time. Participation is free, but you must register in advance. To do that, visit this web site soon. The password is “anthro” (without the quotes).

Leave a comment

Filed under AAA, publications, SAFN Member Research

Street, Neighborhood, City in the New New Orleans

David Beriss
University of New Orleans

Brocato sign

Old and new, Brocato’s and El Rinconcito.

When Angelo Brocato’s gelato and pastry shop reopened in September, 2006, it seemed like a beacon of hope in a neighborhood that was still very much on the mend. I don’t think there were very many other businesses open yet on that stretch of N. Carrolton Avenue. I do remember the large crowds that gathered to get some gelato or cannoli, the band that played as we waited on line, and the sense of happiness at having Brocato’s century old shop back in business. Located in a diverse Mid-City neighborhood, Brocato’s is the kind of place frequented by people who live here and its rebirth suggested that maybe the city would return to some semblance of what it had been.

Within a few years of the 2005 floods, however, the debate began to shift away from recovery to the future. The city’s demographics were changing. Many people could not return to the city, public housing was being destroyed, and the cost of living in New Orleans started to rise. Many Latino workers, having arrived to help rebuild, decided to stay and make lives for themselves here. Young college educated people—often white—were moving to New Orleans and moving into neighborhoods that had previously been mostly black. Now the concern was whether or not the neighborhoods of New Orleans, the site of vibrant cultural life, would survive these changes. New Orleans leading thinkers have developed a cottage industry explaining this situation, either decrying the threats to local culture, celebrating the “resilience” of any surviving parts of it, or arguing that everyone has misunderstood the central issues.

Starting in the summer of 2010, I gathered a group of UNO students to study the restaurants clustered around the intersection of N. Carrolton Avenue and Canal Street, in New Orleans. This area is a kind of microcosm of the transformations that have marked the city since 2005. For a long time, most of the restaurants were local businesses, with very few national chains, although that has changed significantly in the past 2 years. Some of restaurants rebuilt after the floods, while others were replaced by new businesses. There are even a few upscale restaurants in the neighborhood. The changes seem to reflect deeper trends in New Orleans business and consumption patterns.

A number of commercial districts in the city have had remarkable rebirths since 2005. Historian Rien Fertel has written about rediscovering Broad Street, making an interesting case for why that road represents some of the city’s demographic and culinary trends. Freret Street, a commercial strip in uptown New Orleans, has an interesting pre-Katrina history and, in the years since, has become a kind of hipster mecca, but one that some think represents a good side of gentrification. Oak Street, home of the Po’Boy Festival, has also been the site of significant redevelopment in recent years. St. Claude Avenue, at the center of historically black communities, has become a center for controversy about gentrification and redevelopment, but is also home to a lively new array of eating and drinking opportunities. Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, in Central City, has become the site of a distinct combination of restaurants and cultural institutions, including the new home of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Williams Boulevard, in the relatively distant suburb of Kenner might be the best index of the city’s future, with an array of restaurants representing the diversity of the populations in New Orleans today.

empty block

Scars of disaster, 2010, the site is now home to a shiny set of national chains.

My students tried to trace out the commercial history of the Carrollton/Canal area, interviewing owners, workers, and customers. In 2010, the scars of the 2005 floods were still visible, with at least one former strip mall still standing in ruins. The BP oil spill was an ongoing problem and the local seafood purveyors expressed deep concerns for their future. What was particularly striking, however, was the dominance of local businesses. We found interesting stories—how Doson Noodle House, a Vietnamese restaurant, evolved from Oak Street’s wonderfully named Chinese’s Chinese, for instance, or the sad story of Chef Michel Foucqueteau, whose last New Orleans restaurant, Chateaubriand, did not survive the floods. We heard about the changes in the kinds of businesses in the area, as beauty salons, hardware stores, car dealers, and pool halls, gave way to more and more restaurants.


Doson Noodle House

I have been especially happy to see my students enthusiastically embrace this research. I regularly teach a course in applied anthropology that has a methodological focus. By picking one area, I can treat the class as an applied research team, giving them an opportunity to produce a series of reports that can resemble a real applied project. The students tend to take this project personally, because they live or work in or near the area, have family history there, or frequent the restaurants themselves. The project allows students to learn about a wide range of methods, starting from developing a sense of how to observe the organization of the street, to conducting interviews, oral history techniques, archival research, and more. They also learn about teamwork and about how to put together both written reports and visually interesting presentations.

This is an ongoing project. We will start updating the blog again this spring, when a fresh group of students will return to document changes in the area. There are some important questions we need to answer. The empty lots that marked the area in 2010 have been replaced by a shiny cluster of national chain restaurants. What impact will these new places have on the local businesses? The Lafitte Greenway, merely a dream for activists and planners in 2010, is now open, providing a bike path directly from the neighborhood to the French Quarter. How will this new amenity impact the community? Will the enormous new medical complex—not far from our area of study—change the neighborhood and the businesses in it?

There are also some deeper issues that our research can explore. Why have food (and drink) businesses become so central to reviving (or gentrifying) urban neighborhoods? What does the particular mix of restaurants and people in the Carrollton/Canal area tell us about the future of New Orleans distinctive culinary culture?

The neighborhood itself never stops changing. We have seen a few restaurants come and go, including an outpost of the local pizza chain Italian Pie (replaced by Milkfish, a Filipino restaurant), as well as Juicy Lucy’s, a stuffed hamburger joint that had itself replaced Fiesta Latina, a Central American restaurant (still open in Kenner!). The former Kjean’s Seafood, maker of po’boys, boiler of crawfish, and seafood retailer will soon be replaced with Bevi Seafood, a slightly more chef-driven version of the traditional New Orleans seafood joint (that makes po’boys, boils crawfish, and retails seafood). The announcement that “legendary barman” Chris McMillian will be opening a new restaurant in the Carrollton/Canal area could be a sign that hipster dining is arriving in the neighborhood. According to, the menu will include “pretzel brioche sticks, bulgogi wraps and chicken chimichurri kebabs” and, in the same article, McMillian states that “Mid-City is ready for craft cocktails.” Maybe. Julia Yocom, longtime neighborhood resident and one of the original members of our research team in 2010, told me that the area is more of a “High Life and a shot” sort of place. Whichever it is, our students will be there to document it.

1 Comment

Filed under anthropology, disaster, Food Studies, New Orleans, SAFN Member Research

Thomas Marchione Award 2015

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to announce the 2015 Thomas Marchione Award.

Honoring the seminal academic and humanitarian work of Thomas J. Marchione, this award is given to MA and Ph.D. students whose active engagement in food security and food sovereignty issues continues and expands Dr. Marchione’s efforts toward food justice, food access, and food as a human right.

The award can be in recognition of exemplary work completed or in progress, or for proposed work in the field of food as a human right and the social justice aspects of food systems.

To apply for the award, submit the following:

  • Statement of problem/research question, with clear statement of how the research addresses food security, food justice, or food as a human right (up to ½ page).
  • Literature review where you articulate how your work builds on and advances Dr. Marchione’s work (up to one page).
  • Clear articulation of your research strategy, design, methods, and analysis plan (up to one page).
  • Statement of your preparation for the proposed research, including language and research training and experience, program description, mentor name and contact information, and a brief budget (up to one page).
  • Statement of how the award and associated research will develop your career goals (up to ½ page).
  • Your Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Letter from your thesis/dissertation chair/advisor attesting to your preparation and status.

Open to MA and Ph.D. students who will have completed their coursework and research proposal by the time of the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Students must be members of the AAA to apply. Winners receive a $600 cash prize.


Submit your application to Amy Trubek via email at For additional information and full submission guidelines and eligibility criteria, visit

1 Comment

Filed under AAA, awards, Thomas Marchione

Christine Wilson Award 2015

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to announce the 2015 Christine Wilson Award.

The award recognizes outstanding student research examining topics in nutrition, food studies and anthropology. Papers that propose new conceptual framework or outline novel research designs are especially welcome.

Guidelines for Submission of Your Entry:

  • Paper must present original, empirical research (literature reviews not eligible) undertaken in whole or in part by the author.
  • Primary focus must be on anthropological approach to food and/or nutrition.
  • Author (or first author for co-authored papers) must be currently enrolled as a student (undergraduate or graduate), or enrolled during the past academic year.
  • Papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced, and follow American Anthropological Association style guidelines.

Winners of the graduate and undergraduate awards receive a cash prize + a year’s membership in SAFN


Submit your paper to Amy Trubek via email (

Submission is open to AAA and non-AAA members. For more information, visit

Leave a comment

Filed under AAA, anthropology, awards