Rachel Black has conducted ethnographic research in Italy, France, the United States and Canada, focusing on the production, distribution and consumption of food. Since joining the Connecticut College Anthropology Department, Black has done research in New London with community partners such as Brigaid, the New London County Food Policy Council, and FRESH New London. Black is particularly interested in what food can tell us about social organization, inequality, and cultural change in Europe and North America.
Black wrote an ethnography of the Porta Palazzo market in Turin, Italy and has done fieldwork on urban agriculture in Vancouver, Canada. Her current research focuses on female culinary professionals in Lyon, France. As part of this project, she attended culinary school at Ducasse Education and spent 10 months in Lyon as a fellow at the Collegium de Lyon. Black is currently writing up this research for her forthcoming book On the Line: Women, Cuisine and Work in France.
She recently served as President of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition and is a current member of the board for the Association for the Study of Food and Society.
Rachel Black teaches the following courses at Connecticut College: Power and Inequality in a Globalized World, Sustainable Food Systems, Food and the Senses, Tattoos2Tutus: The Cultured Body, and History and Theory of Anthropology.
Books written and edited by Rachel Black:
- On the Line: Women, Cuisine and Work in France. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, forthcoming.
- Co-Editor with Robert Ulin, Wine and Culture: From the Vineyard to the Glass, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, winner of a Gourmand Book Award.
- Porta Palazzo: The Anthropology of an Italian Market, Philadelphia, PA. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
- Editor, Alcohol in Popular Culture: An Encyclopaedia, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press, 2010.
Other recent publications:
2018 “Gastronomie, Inégalité, Fraternité: For French chefs, inequality begins in
culinary school” Anthropology News. May 10, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.858
“Cultivating a taste landscape: Cooperative winegrowing in Carema, Italy” in
Counihan & Hojlund Pedersen. Eds., Making Taste Public: Ethnographies of
Food and the Senses. London: Bloomsbury: 69-82
2017 “Sensory Anthropology of Food” in Chrzan and Brett, eds. Anthropology of Food
Handbook, Oxford: Berghahn.
2015 “Amaro: Drinking bitterness for health and pleasure”, Charismatic Substances
Series, REMEDIA. https://remedianetwork.net/2015/08/09/amaro/
Recent conferences attended and presentations given:
2019 “Lessons from the field: Doing community-engaged research in the New London Food System”, Eastern Region Campus Compact Bi-Annual Conference, Providence, RI, March 26.
2018 “#BalanceTonPorc: Gender inequality in the French kitchen”, American
Anthropological Association Meeting, San Jose, CA, Nov. 16.
2018 “#BalanceTonPorc: gender inequality in the French kitchen”, Association for the Study of Food and Society Meeting, Madison, WI, June 14.
2017 “The Brigaid Project: Chefs transforming school food in New London, CT”, American Anthropological Association Meeting, Washington, DC, Nov. 29
2016 “Women of character: food work narratives from Lyon’s restaurant kitchens”,
American Anthropological Association Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, Nov. 16-20
2016 “Women on the line: women, work and inequality in the professional kitchen”,
Association for the Study of Food and Society Meeting, Toronto, June 22-25.
2015 “Women on the line: an ethnographic investigation of changing gender dynamics in professional kitchens in France”, American Anthropological Association Meeting, Denver, CO, Nov. 20.
2014 “Where are all the female chefs? Reproducing and challenging gender stereotypes in Lyon’s professional kitchens,” American Anthropological Association Meeting, Washington, DC, Dec. 5.
2014 “Teaching Italian Culture through Food: An Anthropological Approach”, American Association for Italian Studies Conference, Zurich, Switzerland, May 25.
2014 “Wild ferment: constructing nature, obscuring labor in the natural wine movement”, unpublished paper presented at the American Ethnological Society Meeting, Boston, April 11.
- “The legend of les mères lyonnaises: narrative, meaning and gender in the
kitchen”, Culinaria Symposium, University of Toronto, March 12, 2018
- “‘You just know when it’s done’: Experiential Learning in the Kitchen”, Dooley
Lecture Series, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY, May 16, 2016
- “Regards croisés sur la recherche émergente d’un champ de recherche et
d’enseignement » Études du fait alimentaire en Amérique, Université de Québec à Montréal, March 11, 2016
- Cibo, culture, società. Una prospettiva di genere. Milan EXPO, June 9, 2015.
- “Amaro: From bitterness to health” Charismatic Substances Workshop,
University of Cologne, May 15, 2015
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