Areas of Interest
Utopia, Food, Popular Culture
The American Diet Book Dreamland
My research combines literary analysis of diet books with a medical history of Western disease. Titled Diet and the Disease of Civilization, 1977-2008, my dissertation analyzes how instructional texts — diet books, nutrition policy, medical research — have measured civilization by the human costs of social progress.
Other academic publications include articles on competitive eating, Paleo diet mythologies, dude ranches, locavorism, and grocery store couponing. I also write for popular, non-academic audiences in BuzzFeed Food and Gastronomica.
- “For the Starving, Eat ‘Local’ Isn’t an Option.” The Wall Street Journal. 3 December 2013. A15.
- “Nation’s ‘Wellness’ Promotion Is Misguided.” San Francisco Chronicle. 7 August 2013. A7.
- ”Romancing the Dude Ranch, 1926–1947.” Western Historical Quarterly 43.4 (Winter 2012): 437-461.
- “The Magic Metabolisms of Competitive Eating.” Taking Food Public: Redefining Foodways in a Changing World. Eds. Carole Counihan and Psyche Williams-Forson. New York: Routledge, 2011.
- “The Paleo Diet and an American Weight Loss Utopia, 1977-2014.” Utopian Studies. Special Issue: Utopian Foodways. Vol. 25, No. 2, forthcoming Spring 2015.
Select Fellowships and Grants:
- 2012 Alex McIntosh Essay Prize, Association for the Study of Food and Society
- 2012 Marjorie Lozoff Essay Prize, Clayman Institute for Gender Research;
- 2014 Sue Samuelson Foodways Essay Prize, American Folklore Society