Author Archives: reblack

Sidney Mintz Celebration


On Friday, Nov. 18, there will be a celebration of Sidney Mintz at the AAA meeting in Minneapolis. For more information and to RSVP, please go here…

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Mentoring event with Karen Kelsky at the AAAs


The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) and Culture&Agriculture (C&A) are excited to announce that we will jointly sponsor two workshops led by Dr. Karen Kelsky from “The Professor Is In”. These workshops will provide fora to consider career development strategies along with peers who share interests in matters food/agriculture/ natural resource-related. They will take place on Friday, November 17th at the AAA Annual Meetings in Minneapolis, MN. We thank the AAA for a Mentoring Award in support of these events. We will also hold a Mentoring event between the workshops (at noon) for registered participants and interested members of C&A and SAFN.

ACADEMIC AND POST-ACADEMIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR PRE-DOCS: KAREN KELSKY TAKES ON PROFESSIONALIZATION In this workshop I walk you through the conditions of the current American job market, the most common mistakes made by job-seekers, and the ways you can maximize your chances of success while looking for a tenure-track job. We’ll cover: The big-picture conditions of the U.S. tenure track job market, How to think like a search committee, The four core qualities of a successful tenure track job candidate, The all-important 5-Year Plan, The ethos of job market documents, The most common mistakes made by job seekers, The keys to academic interviewing. We’ll also touch on the non-academic option. You’ll leave with a broad understanding of the real (as opposed to fantasy) criteria of tenure track hiring, and how to tailor your record and application materials to maximize your chances of success. Friday, 11/17- 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

ACADEMIC AND POST-ACADEMIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR POST-DOCS: KAREN KELSKY TAKES ON PROFESSIONALIZATION This workshop shows you how to 1) track out a research and teaching trajectory across the 5 years of the tenure track probationary period in an anthropology or related social science position; 2) manage postdoctoral fellowship years while seeking an eventual tenure track position. Focuses on creating an effective Five-Year-Plan, and managing your time to maximize productivity (i.e., working backward from your tenure year to plot out specific publishing goals, or making a postdoc writing schedule with an eye to the job hunt). Also looks at departmental politics, managing colleagues, handling the demands of teaching, and calculating appropriate levels of service. Addresses children and work-life balance. Based on Dr. Karen’s years as a department head mentoring a number of faculty through successful tenure cases. Friday, 11/17 2:00 -03:30 PM
The AAA workshops are all listed on the website, but the active link for workshop registration is only visible from a member’s personal profile (under “My Payments, Receipts, Transactions & Events”).

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Filed under AAA 2016 Minneapolis, jobs

Open Anthropology Features Food Anthropology


The June 2016 issue of Open Anthropology is dedicated to Food Anthropology. Many SAFN members are featured in this open-access selection of articles and reviews from American Anthropological Association journals. Check it out!

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SAFN at the ASFS Scarborough Fare


SAFN is a co-sponsor of the Association for the Study of Food and Society conference that will be held in Toronto next week from June 22-25. A number of SAFN members will be participating and we are organizing an informal gathering for SAFN members on Friday from 4-5pm.

Here is a partial of list of SAFN participants:

Abby Golub will present a poster at the pre-conference student day on June 21st. It is called: “How is Life After Fruit Picking? Precarity, Aspirations, and Social Mobility in the Life Trajectories of Hindi-Speaking Migrant Agriculture Workers in Belgium.”

David Beriss is participating in a roundtable on Sidney Mintz “A Sweet and Powerful Contribution: Sidney Mintz and Food Studies (A Multidisciplinary Roundtable)”. This is session C6 on Thursday, June 23 1:30-2:45. Beriss will also be giving a paper, “City in a Cup: The 2013 Public Drinking Crisis in New Orleans” in panel F2 “An Intersectional Approach to the Gentrification of Culinary Knowledge” on Friday, June 24, 10:15-11:30. Ashante Reese is the chair of this session and she will also be presenting on this panel. The title of her paper is “D.C. is Mambo Sauce: Race, Class, and Authentic Consumption

Rachel Black, Alyson Young, Mike Burton and Rick Wilk will give papers in session D1 “Food and Gender: Anthropological Perspectives” on Thursday, June 23 from 3:15-4:30.

Rachel Black will also be participating in the roundtable session L6 “Professional Development: What Do Journal Editors Want?”

Friday, June 24, Janet Chrzan is giving a paper in panel H1 “Pseudoscience and Nutrition: The Enduring Appeal of Magical Thinking, Dietary Fads and Nutritional Extremism”. The title of her paper is “Organics: Food, Fantasy or Fetish”

Amy Trubek will be participating in a number of panels:

  • Roundtable: Food and Agricultural research: What can French and American researchers learn from each other?
  • Panel G8 “What Does Income Have to Do With It? Making Meals and Socioeconomic Status in the United States”. Her paper is entitled “Time is Money: A Century of Changes in Cooks, Cooking Times and Eating Locales”
  • Roundtable 15: Changing Diets, Changing Minds: The Menus of Change University Research Collaborative
  • Roundtable: What can STS offer Food Studies?

Penny Van Esterik will participate in the roundtable C1.“Feminist Food Studies, Part 3 of 3: Toward a Feminist Food Studies” and L5. “Conversations in Food Studies: Working the Boundaries”

Helen Valliantos is participating in the panel B11. “The Politics of Milk and Maternal Health”. Her paper is entitled “Mothers’ Food and Health Perceptions and Behaviours in Ghana”

On Thursday at 10:15, Greg de St. Maurice and Rick Wilk will be on Roundtable B6, “Washoku in Jeopardy? The cultural economy and future of Japanese cuisine.”

If your name is missing, please contact Rachel Black with your details.



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A Food Anthropologist at the John Dewey Kitchen Institute

Rachel Black
President, Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
Connecticut College

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the John Dewey Kitchen Institute at the University of Vermont. The goal of this three-day workshop was to “emphasize experiential education, of course in teaching about food but also as an important pedagogical approach for teaching any subject.” As a long-time believer and practitioner of hands-on learning, I was eager to hone skills and think more about how to create opportunities for experiential learning in my anthropology of food classes.

Getting our senses warmed up straight away, we passed around, smelled and identified plates of herbs and spices. The instructors then asked the 12 participants to think of a life experience we could relate to a specific herb or spice. These flavorful narratives were a great way to get to know each other. At this point, we also began to discuss John Dewey’s philosophy of education, which would provide the underpinnings for our activities and reflections over the next few days. Instructors Lisa Heldke and Cynthia Belliveau gave the class a list of 12 Deweyan tenets. These ranged from “Education is experience” to “Enquiry is value-laden”. The tenets were an attempt to answer the questions: “What does it mean to learn, and how should that understanding inform our teaching and learning in the food studies classroom?” and “What is the world like, how does inquiry work, and how should these inform our teaching/learning?”


Using all our senses to think about lunch at the Dewey Kitchen Institute.

After a brief kitchen orientation, we engaged in our first hands-on activity–knife skills. We were instructed how to chop onions and carrots and then given knives, cutting boards and ingredients. What became quickly apparent was the amount of focus the activity took, whether you were a professional chef or someone who eats out for most meals. This is when I began to understand that the goal here was not learning to cook but rather cooking to learn. It was the reflection on the embodiment of skill and the presence of the mind in the body that resonated with me in this first lab. This activity was focused on the fifth tenet “play”: “Far from being trivial, play is “interested absorption in activity for the sake of activity itself.”

A diagram of mise en place.

A diagram of mise en place.

The next day we discussed the concept of mise en place and how this type of kitchen organization task might be used to get students to think about planning and organization in new ways. As we drew out our mise en place, I began to think about the spatial relationships between sensory experiences. That was a new dimension for me. I never really gave much thought to where I put my ingredients and why. After some reflection, we  began to prepare lunch. This was an activity that not only fed us but taught us to think about divisions of labor and timing in the kitchen. This activity could be seen as an exercise in “education as a practice of democracy”. Having to organize ourselves and work together put this tenet in to action. I began to think about all the applications for such skills beyond the kitchen.

We did a number of tastings in the course, from the herbs on the first day to local craft beers on the last day. We were not provided with tasting sheets but we did discuss the different ways in which we might structure tastings in order to achieve specific learning outcomes. Here we explored the tenet “theory is practice” and how “when theory and practice operate together effectively, learners act reflectively and inquiringly, with a sense of purpose and for the sake of learning.”

On the last day, we were given a market basket and asked to cook lunch in teams. We were told that our dish had to embody one of the Dewey tenets. This was a challenging culinary and organizational task. My partner and I focused on “chance and change.” Although we ultimately produced some tasty poached eggs on toast with a romesco sauce, we felt that the experience was mediated by this tenet: we did not know what we would get for ingredients, what would happen in the cooking process, and we felt the need to adapt to the unexpected.

As an anthropologist, I kept thinking about the ways I could introduce cultural diversity in to these exercises. While Dewey’s philosophy is second nature to most of us who do fieldwork, this workshop was an opportunity to bring the worlds of food studies and anthropology together. As I prepare my courses for the fall semester, I will be thinking of ways to bring experiential learning scenarios in to my anthropology of food courses.


Cooking to learn.


Filed under anthropology, anthropology of food, food education, Food Studies, teaching

SAFN Membership Drive




We’re having a membership drive! SAFN members, please tell friends and colleagues about our section and ask them to join. A lot of people do research on food and nutrition but they are not part of SAFN. We can’t understand why they are missing out on being part of such a great community. The benefits of membership are many:

  • become part of a supportive and engaging community
  • receive the SAFN newsletter
  • access the SNAC 4 syllabi set
  • attend the SAFN reception at the AAA meeting (we always have the best food)
  • take advantage of reserved seats for SAFN-sponsored workshops and special events at the AAA meeting
  • be featured on the Food Anthropology blog

Students can take advantage of the newly reduced cost for student membership: it is now only $10 for students to join SAFN.

For each person an existing members signs up, their name will be entered into a draw. Prizes will include olive oil, a SAFN membership, SAFN swag and other fun food and anthro-related items. Send your name and the new member’s name to reblack (at) Prizes will be distributed at the SAFN reception during the AAA conference in November or by mail for those not attending the meeting.

Join today!

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Happy New Year!


The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

wishes you a happy new year.

May your 2016 be full of joy and delicious!

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