Critical Food Studies
I am interested in bringing culturally attentive theories of valuation to the exploration of what might be called an ‘everyday politics of food and drink.’ In recent years, I have extensively researched the American brewing industry, examining the relationships between the economic valuation of beer and a range of cultural phenomena, including: industrial histories as they pertain to race, class, and gender relations; discourses evoking ‘sustainability’ and ‘the local’; subcultural politics; entrepreneurship; the logics of new mediation; and affect and sensation.
My current work investigates the cultural economies of ‘good food’ movements in U.S. cities, exploring what conditions of possibility have produced the profound disjuncture between the shape and efficacy of food justice activism centered in urban geographies and that centered in rural/suburban geographies.
Media and Culture
I am fascinated by the residue of American culture, the traces left in the wake of our daily lives that, when taken collectively, produce intricate and compelling maps of the conditions of our living. I choose the subjects of my research in attempts to answer the following,
- How are relations of power manifest in the material conditions of everyday life?
- How might more complex understandings of everyday life lead to more nuanced awareness of the power implicit in racist, sexist, homophobic, classist and other intolerant acts?
- How does one methodologically cultivate, as bell hooks writes in Postmodern Blackness, “habits of being that reinforce awareness that knowledge can be disseminated and shared on a number of fronts”?
Efforts to answer these questions—which unite and animate a series of projects that have engaged artifacts as varied as The Simpsons, the Roland TR‐808 Rhythm Composer, a disposable camera snapshot taken of visual artist Nikki Lee, and beer advertising and packaging—have pushed my research beyond the disciplinary boundaries of communication studies.
As a result, I have found inspiration and success as a practitioner of critical, interdisciplinary, cultural studies scholarship interrogating artifacts, cultural practices, and discourses at the intersection of media studies, popular material culture, and cultural economy. Topically, my research has explored the implications of the material and discursive elements of popular culture in the formation and expression of gender, racial, and sexual identities. Drawing heavily on my undergraduate and master’s degree program training in literary criticism and creative writing, this body of work was largely executed using literary and visual close readings, rhetorical criticism, and performative auto-ethnographic methods.