Conference Abstracts Workshop & Potluck

Interested in submitting a proposal for the 2018 ASFS conference? Not sure how to group papers into panel presentations? Curious about where you can submit your academic work? How does one write a proposal, anyway??

Join us for a potluck while we work on writing our conference abstracts on Wednesday, Dec. 13th from 6pm – 8pm in Fuller 109.

Please email Barbara at if you plan on attending.

Dr. Merry (Corky) White Wins 2013 ASFS Book Award

Congratulations to Boston University’s very own Dr. Merry (Corky) White on winning the 2013 ASFS Book Award for her new publication, Coffee Life in Japan. The award was announced and presented at the recent ASFS/AFHVS 2013 Annual Conference held in East Lansing, MI, where numerous BU Gastronomy students and professors presented their own food-related research.

image via UC Press

Read the reviews:

“White wanders from café to café, from brewing master to coffee merchant, with nonchalant pleasure. At times the book structure seems far from linear, returning to topics and concepts already touched on before, but White’s affection for the world she describes is infectious. The narrative often reads like a memoir, and the author is able to transport us to places and situations that are not only described with the eye of the anthropologist, but shared with the passion of a true coffee lover.” — Fabio Parasecoli, “Coffee Life in Japan: The Exotic and The Apparently Familiar,” Huffington Post

“And while White’s style is certainly more academic than storycraft, or even narrative nonfiction, her open, direct approach to the combined forces behind coffee’s sway over this part of the world (and, it should be added, her willingness to explore feminist questions many other writers wouldn’t have thought to ask) should be of of keen interest to anyone who likes coffee, urban spaces, or just Japan. You’ll find your eyes opened beyond the new and storied cafes you’ve heard of and into regional corners and paradoxical tastes, and into the social understanding of coffee as a break from spaces like work and life that, though challenging to all cultures, bear their own Japanese way of being—and have brought forth their own, distinctly Japanese, places of reverent escape.” — Liz Clayton, “Coffee Reads: Coffee Life in Japan,” Serious Eats

Read and listen to interviews about the book:

“What are the Japanese beans like? They favor a medium high roast, not a super dark roast. The Starbucks invasion hasn’t done very well. Yeah, they are everywhere, but they consider those beans charred and that the service isn’t good. They ask you three questions when you go to some coffee shops in Japan. What do you want for body, what do you want for density and what method of brewing would you like? And then they make your cup. And body, koku, is the most significant. It’s a little different from density. Body means a layered taste. Where you get, like with wine, a first hit and layers of taste that follow and what they call the nodogoshi, the taste that lingers down your throat. It’s a complicated set of profiles, it’s not one.” — an excerpt from a larger interview with Dr. White by Aaron Kagan at Boston Eater in 2012

Listen to a podcast discussing Dr. White’s new book and her interview with Marco Werman on PRI, The World.

Pick up a copy, grab a cup of coffee, and get to reading! Once again, congratulations Dr. White!

Reflections on the 2013 Annual ASFS/AFHVS Conference

A few weeks ago a handful of Gastronomy students traveled to exotic East Lansing, Michigan to participate and present in the annual food and agriculture conference co-hosted by ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) and AFHVS (Agriculture, Food & Human Values Society). The 4 day academic conference was held on the Michigan State University campus in the eco-friendly Kellogg Conference Center next to the babbling Red Cedar River and the heart of downtown (we lucked out with a two-night Jazz Fest and some mighty fine local eateries).The conference program was full of informative seminars, foodways focused panels, and several interactive round-tables; it was difficult for us to pick one over the other! After the day was over, graduate student attendees could mingle with other visiting students, catch up with other academics and professors, or tour the MSU campus and its many agriculture and food-related attractions, including an extensive botanical garden, several nature preserves, and an on-campus dairy store with homemade ice cream. While there, we also learned that MSU was the very first land-grant institution in the United States and was created to serve as a model for future agricultural-science based universities. Essentially, it was a perfect place to host a food conference.

Lettuce Seeds from the Conference Program/image via KC Hysmith
Lettuce Seeds from the Conference Program/image via KC Hysmith
Every Gastronomy student (and Professor) who attended the conference came back to Boston with new perspectives, promising connections, and nifty ideas for next year. Here’s a bit of what they had to say about their experiences:

“This was my first time presenting at a conference and I was very nervous, but everyone was incredibly supportive and encouraging. Meeting other students and professors from other programs was an awesome opportunity to share ideas, not just for academic enrichment, but for improving our social experience as well. This is definitely a great first conference for those who are new to the food studies world.” — Vicki Yu, presented a lightning talk on “Caught in the Middle: Taiwanese-American cultural identity formed in the comfort of food”

“I attended ASFS for the first time last summer in New York City when it was co-hosted by NYU and The New School. With one year’s experience under my belt, it was exciting to not only continue meeting the folks that make up our delightful world of food and whose work I follow, but also to see some faces that have grown familiar. At this year’s conference, I particularly enjoyed the lightning talk sessions. While the thought of condensing one’s research into a 5-minute talk made me relieved I was on a panel with a leisurely 20 minutes to share my MLA thesis on men and dieting, these sessions allowed me as a viewer to economically consume a veritable buffet of ideas, findings, and questions. Getting to attend the conference with so many BU Gastronomy classmates also made me so very proud of our program. From the craft food movement to food and ethnic identity, food in Jane Austen’s novels to the importance of food literacy, we presented on a wide range of topics with passion and aplomb.” — Emily Contois, participated in a panel with a presentation on “The Dudification of Dieting: Marketing Weight Loss Programs to Men in the Twenty-First Century”

“The conference was incredible. T’was a joy relaxing with fellow BU Gastro-peeps. It was great presenting our work on Culinary Craftsmanship and truly heartening to witness such a warm response. We also met a great many fellow food scholars who had suggestions for our continuing roadtrip documentary. As for East Lansing, it’s hard to argue with $2.50 pints of craft beer.” — Chris Maggiolo, participated in a panel with a presentation on “United We Brew: Culinary Craftsmanship and the American Craft Beer Renaissance”

MSU Dairy and ice cream offerings/image via KC Hysmith
MSU Dairy and ice cream offerings/image via KC Hysmith

“On a personal level, presenting at the conference pushed me to not only work on my presentation skills required for the five minute lightning presentation, but the process and experience provided validation of my chosen field and topic of study. But I would also add that it would have been a much more difficult challenge without the feedback and support of my fellow BU Gastronomy cohorts.” — Alicia Nelson, presented a lightning talk on “Grow Your Own: Defining and cultivating food literacy”

“Aside from losing my voice the day before my panel presentation, the entire conference experience was a great one! From networking with fellow food studies students to chatting with the well-known academics in our field (we didn’t ask for autographs or anything geeky like that), the conference was as much about socializing and fostering intellectual discussion as it was presenting new scholarly research. The variety of topics surprised me the most and made picking a favorite concurrent sessions quite difficult! Presenting my own undergraduate thesis in a new setting (with food scholars rather than English Studies or Lit majors) introduced me to some new perspectives for my research. It was great to talk with other people who geek out over food as much as we do! Biggest takeaway: everyone fumbles over words, skips a slide, says ‘um’, and gets a little nervous before a big presentation; even the academic pros.” — KC Hysmith, participated in a panel with a presentation on “Finding Food for a Rambling Fancy: Gastronomic Gentility and Symbolism in Jane Austen’s Texts”

“The papers that the Gastronomy students gave were excellent. These students demonstrated the academic rigor that is the hallmark of the Gastronomy Program. The conference gave me an excellent opportunity to hear about the latest food studies research and meet new people in the field. It’s always interesting to see what areas are popular and which are emerging. I noticed that urban agriculture was a hot topic once again this year. Organizing a roundtable about Food Studies/Systems/Policy Masters programs was a wonderful way to engage with colleagues in a philosophical dialogue about the future and directions of these programs. As more and more programs are developed, I think these discussions are critical. We need to think about what we are offering students and how we are going to give them useful training as they move forward with their careers.” — Rachel Black, participated in a round-table panel on “Masters Programs in Food Studies, Food Systems and Food Policy: A Roundtable Discussion”

Several other BU Gastronomy students and professors participated and presented in the conference, but were unfortunately unavailable for comment. See their presentation topics below:

Beth Forrest – La Pyramide or Top of the Food Chain: Chefs, Diners, and their Changing Spaces and Status

Brad Jones — We Nourish and Nurture the Community: An Ethnographic Investigation of Incubator Kitchens and Artisanal Food Production

Catherine Womack — “I don’t want no f***ing baby cup”: Diverse Eating Patterns and the Problem of Consensus in Making Food Policy.

Campus Foodtruck/image via KC Hysmith
Campus Foodtruck/image via KC Hysmith

We can’t wait for next year’s ASFS/AFHVS Conference in Vermont!

Faculty Member Netta Davis Wins 2011 ASFS Pedagogy Award

The BU Gastronomy Program was out in full force at the Association for the Study of Food and Society conference last week in Missoula, MT. Faculty members Ellen Messer, Catherine Womack, Rachel Black, Ken Albala, Warren Belasco and Netta Davis presented papers and participated in a number of activities. MLA Candidate Erin Ross also presented a paper. Students, alumni and faculty came out to present the Gastronomy Program alongside other graduate degrees in Food Studies.

One of the highlights of the conference was when Netta Davis was awarded the ASFS Award for Food Studies Pedagogy for her course, Experiencing Food through the Senses. This course was developed by Netta and it represents the innovation and cutting edge pedagogy that sets our program apart. Sensory experience and experiential learning are central to the Gastronomy curriculum and Experiencing Food through the Senses is one of the core courses in the MLA in Gastronomy.