Upcoming Events

2017-2018 Speaker Series

All talks in the Speaker Series are free and warmly open to the public.

The Speaker Series is co-sponsored by: The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology Studies, American Studies & Anthropology. The Food Studies at Brown Speaker Series is also an Association for the Study of Food and Society Local Event Grant recipient.

Past Events

2017-2018 Speaker Series 

Ken Albala

Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 5:30-7:00 pm | Smith-Buonannon 201


About the speaker: Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific and founder of the Food Studies MA program in San Francisco. He has authored or edited 23 books on food including Eating Right in the RenaissanceFood in Early Modern EuropeCooking in Europe 1250-1650The Banquet, Beans (winner 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award), Pancake, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food and Nuts: A Global History. His most recent book, Noodle Soup: Recipes, Technique, Obsession (University of Illinois Press, January 2018), combines cookery advice with historical details. 

Event location: Smith-Buonanno Hall, room 201 is located on the second floor at 95 Cushing Street, Providence. [Campus Map]

Rachel Herz

Thursday, March 22, 2018 | 5:30-7:00 pm | Petteruti Lounge


About the speaker: Dr. Rachel Herz is a world-renowned expert on the psychology of smell and a published author of numerous research publications and books, including The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell and That's Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion. She is also a valued consultant to the world’s largest aromachemical companies, an entrepreneur, and teaches at Brown University and Boston College. Her talk will be followed by a book sale and signing of her newest book, Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food

For more information on Rachel Herz, please visit her website.

Event location: Petteruti Lounge is on the second floor of Faunce House, located at 75 Waterman Street, Providence. [Campus map]

Julie Guthman

Monday, February 26, 2018 | 5:30-7:00 pm | Petteruti Lounge


About the talk: Professor Guthman's talk will be followed by interdisciplinary responses from Elizabeth Hoover, Dawn King, and Alex Nading and an audience Q&A.

About the speaker: Dr. Julie Guthman is Professor of Social Sciences in the Program in Community Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For 2017-2018, she is both a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow. She is the author of many articles, as well as important books: The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action, edited with Alison Alkon, Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, and Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California.

Event location: Petteruti Lounge is on the second floor of Faunce House, located at 75 Waterman Street, Providence. [Campus map]

Sean Sherman 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | 5:30-7:30 pm | Smith-Buonanno, Room 106

Event location: Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106, located at 95 Cushing Street, Providence, RI.

For more information on Sean Sherman, please visit The Sioux Chef website

This talk is co-sponsored by: Native American and Indigenous Studies & Native American Heritage Series with the The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology Studies, American Studies & Anthropology.

2016-2017 Speaker Series

Cheung Talk Flyer


About the Speaker: Sidney Cheung is Professor of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Since 2002, with the publication of The Globalization of Chinese Food (2002), a volume co-edited with David Y. H. Wu, Sidney has been at the center of an evolving conversation about the intersections of cuisine, region, and and nation as global forces destabilize how we think about national identities and borders. Cheung’s ongoing work follows closely the food space in his native Hong Kong and across the border in China’s mainland. At the same time, Sidney’s curiosity is wide-ranging; he writes also about tourism, visual cultures, ethnicity, and cultural nationalism.


Reading Suggestions:

  • Appadurai, Arjun. “How to Make a National Cuisine: Cookbooks in Contemporary India.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 30, (1988): 3–24.
  • Cheung, Sidney C.H., ed. Rethinking Asian Food Heritage. Taipei: Foundation of Chinese Dietary Culture, 2014.
  • Duruz, Jean. “Love in a Hot Climate: Foodscapes of Trade, Travel, War and Intimacy.” Gastronomica 16, no. 3 (2016): 16-27.
  • Ferguson, Priscilla P. “A Cultural Field in the Making: Gastronomy in 19th-Century France.” American Journal of Sociology 103, no. 3 (1998): 597-641.

To View:


Charlotte Biltekoff Talk Flyer

About the talk: While scientific approaches tend to dominate efforts to address pressing problems related to food and health, there is increasing acknowledgement that these complex problems cannot be solved by any single form of expertise alone. Complex food system challenges demand new forms of multi-disciplinarity that traverse even – and especially – the divide between the sciences and the humanities and social sciences. This talk will present a humanities-informed perspective on the question of what makes food “good,” pressing up against and exploring the edges of scientific expertise. The aim is to inform and incite new forms of collaboration around Food Studies at Brown.

About the speaker: Charlotte Biltekoff proudly holds a PhD in American Civilization from Brown University and is both grateful and excited to have the opportunity to return to campus to participate in the emergence of Food Studies at Brown. Biltekoff is Associate Professor of American Studies and Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis, where she builds bridges between scientific and cultural approaches to questions about food and health. She is author of Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health (Duke University Press, 2013) and has published articles in a wide range of academic journals. Her work on the cultural politics of dietary advice is the subject of a short film, Imperfection Salad, and she engages regularly with the media. Her teaching includes “Food in American Culture,” a large enrollment introductory course, “New Product Ideas,” in which students develop concepts for new food products, and “Design Thinking for Food,” in which students work in multidisciplinary teams to address high impact food challenges.

Speaker Series John Lang

About the Talk: The “menu of choice” available to anyone who buys food remains predominantly assembled by experts, scientists, corporations, and governments. That means we must trust others with our food, and trusting others is not easy. Even though many contend that genetic modification is a wonderful boon to agriculture and is scientifically safe to produce, it does not necessarily reduce public uncertainties, but adds new ones. Although some of the tension may not be necessary and much of it may not be polite, it can be useful. We can create more effective innovation and advance the public good by using this restless idealism on one hand and this sense of impending doom on the other.

About the Speaker: John T. Lang is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. His major substantive interest is the sociological study of food, which is a lens for investigating questions at the intersection of consumption, culture, and trust. 

Speaker Series Co-Sponsors: American Studies, Science and Society, the Cogut Center for the Humanities, the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Anthropology, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World​, and BIOL 0190U: Plant Development, Structure and Function 


Food Heritage, Hybrity, and Locality Conference 
October 23-25, 2014 | Chancellor’s Dining Room, Sharpe Refectory