Rachel E. Black

Dr. Rachel E. Black Assistant Professor of GastronomyAssistant Professor and Coordinator of Gastronomy

PhD, Universita degli Studi di Torino, Italy
MA, BA, University of British Columbia, Canada

Dr. Black’s specialty is the anthropology of food, with focus on open-air markets, wine production, culture and alcohol, urban agriculture, and the politics of sustainable food systems. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche in Italy, and collaborated with the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and Universitat de Barcelona on a new food systems program in Spain. Black serves as series editor of Anthropology of Food & Nutrition for Berghahn Books, associate editor of Food and Foodways, and as vice president of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, among other accomplishments. Her book, Porta Palazzo: The Anthropology of an Italian Market, was published in 2012. She is editor of Alcohol in Popular Culture: An Encyclopedia and co-editor of Wine and Culture: Vineyard to Glass.

Black was featured in James O’Brien’s online article “Market Research,” which appeared in Research at Boston University 2012.

Research Interests

Anthropology of Food: Open-air markets; urban agriculture; politics of sustainable food systems; organic food; migration and identity; food and gender; environmental ecology and food production; global food crisis; International food policy; food security.

European and Mediterranean Ethnography: Current issues in European ethnography: migration, citizenship, the transformation of agricultural societies, urban anthropology, national identities, transnationalism and the impact of the European Union on individual communities in the Euro-Med area.

Urban Anthropology: Research methods, network studies, applied and community-based research, health and environment. I am currently conducting research on urban agriculture and community gardens and the politics of public spaces in Canada and Italy.

Economic Anthropology: Trade and economic structures in simple and complex societies; gifts and exchange; non-monetary economies; consumer behaviour; moral economy.

Water and the environment: The history of bottled water in Italy and France; medicinal uses of water; privatization of water supply in Europe and North America; political controversies surrounding the management of water as a public resource in Canada and Italy; current issues concerning the bottled water industry and water supply safety; water, the body and hygiene; managing agricultural water resources; water and morality; public  perceptions of drinking water.

Scholarly Works

Awards:

Pedagogy Award  of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (for the course MET ML 714: Urban Agriculture)

Books:

Co-editor, with Robert C. Ulin, Wine and Culture: Vineyard to Glass (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).

Porta Palazzo: The Anthropology of an Italian Market (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)

Editor, Alcohol in Popular Culture: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, October 2010).

Refereed Articles:

“Finding a place at the table: Mineral water, health and the case of San Gemini.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 14, no. 2 (2009): 184-198.

“Feeding the city: Social welfare, food supply and urban markets in Lyon, France.” Journal of the Oxford University Historical Society, Michealmas 3 (ISSN-1742-4146X), 2005.

“The Porta Palazzo Farmers’ Market: Local food, regulations and changing traditions.” Anthropology of Food (ISSN-1609-9168) December 2004.

Articles & Contributions:

“Green Vancouver: Creating place and local food through urban agriculture.” Cuizine 4.1 (2013).

“Buona Forchetta: Overeating in Italy.” Chapter in Adventures in Eating: Anthropological Tales of Dining Around the World, edited by Helen R. Haines and Clare A. Sammells. University of Colorado Press, 2010.

“Market gardening in Florence: Transgressing urban and rural borders in the struggle for local food.” In Food, Imaginaries and Cultural Frontiers, edited by Ricardo Avila. Guadalajara, Mexico: Estudios del Hombre, 2009.

“Eating garbage: Socially marginal provisioning practices” in Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice, edited by J. Mac Clancy, J. Henry, and H. Macbeth. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007: 141-150.

Black, Rachel, and Mike Morris. “El món està alerta: construcció de la identitat urbana a les ciutats olímpiques.” In Revista d’Etnologia de Catalunya, 31 (dossier: Espais urbans, F. X. Medina & R. Sánchez, coord.). Barcelona, Nov. 2007: 8-17.

“Porta Palazzo: The Market as a Tourist Attraction.” In Patrimonio gastrónomico y turismo cultural en el Mediterráneo, edited by J. Tresserras and F.X. Medina. Barcelcona: Ibertur, Universitat de Barcelona I Institut Europeu de la Mediterrània, 2007 : 327-344.

“Acquirenti di autenticità.” In Slowfood 22 (November 2006): 133-136.

Contributions to The Louisiana Purchase: A Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia, edited by Junius P. Rodriguez. Oxford: ABC Clio, 2002.

Review Articles:

Review of The Farmers’ Market Book: Growing Food, Cultivating Community, by Robinson & Hartenfeld (Quarry Books, 2007). The Society of the Anthropology of Food web site.

Review of Food: The History of Taste, edited by Paul Freedman (University of California Press, 2007). Food, Culture & Society (forthcoming).

Review of Gli italiani negli Stati Uniti del XX secolo, by Matteo Pretelli and Anna Ferro (Centro Studio Emigrazione Roma, 2005). Journal of Modern Italian Studies 11, no. 2 (June, 2006).

Review of Una famiglia che mangia insieme: Cibo ed etnicità nella comunità italoamericana di New York, 1920-1940, by Simone Cinotto (Otto Editore, 2001). H-Net, September 2002.

Review of The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture, by Rebecca Spang (Harvard UP, 2000). Food and Foodways, Spring 2001.

Academic Papers & Posters:

“What is social sustainability and how do we build it?” Keynote presented at the Conference on the Politics of Food & Social Sustainability, Pollenzo, Italy, September 12-13, 2009.

“Slow Wine?: Between Perceptions of Nature, Quality, and Industry.” Unpublished paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Meeting, Santa Fe, N.M., March 19, 2009.

“Acqua di Sangemini: Women, mineral water and health in Italy.” Unpublished paper presented at the American Anthropological Association meeting, San Francisco, Calif., November 19-23, 2008.

“The University of Gastronomic Sciences: Towards an experiential model for food studies.” Unpublished paper presented at the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) annual meeting, New Orleans, La., June 4-8, 2008.

“Porta Palazzo: Crossing cultural boundaries at the market.” Unpublished paper presented at Canadian Association of Food Studies (CAFS) annual meeting, Vancouver, Canada, May 31-June 1, 2008.

“Claiming space and growing communities: Urban agriculture in Vancouver, Canada.” Unpublished paper presented at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) meeting, Washington, D.C., November 28, 2007.

“Time to think about dinner: A study of everyday food rituals in Italy.” Unpublished paper presented at the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food (ICAF) conference, Romania, October 4-7, 2007.

“Finding a place at the table: The rise of the Italian mineral water industry.” Unpublished paper presented at the Association for the Study of Food in Society (ASFS/AFHVS) Conference, Victoria, Canada, May 30- June 3, 2007.

“Going to market: Open-air markets, public space and sociability in Italy and France.” Poster presentation at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting (AAA), San Jose, Calif., November 16, 2006.

“Market gardening in Florence, Italy: The struggle for local food.” Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Food in Society (ASFS/AFHVS) Conference, Boston, Mass., June 7-11, 2006.

“Open-air market ethnographies: Methodological approaches and insights into fieldwork.” Guest speaker at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, February 7, 2006.

“The Croix-Rousse and Porta Palazzo markets: A comparative ethnographic study.” Unpublished paper presented at the Turin International Market Festival, Turin, Italy, October 14-15, 2005.

“Saturday morning market: Provisioning and sociability in Lyon, France.” Unpublished paper presented at the Association for the Study of Food in Society (ASFS/AFHVS) Conference, Portland, Ore., June 9-15, 2005.

“Eating Garbage: Socially marginal provisioning practices.” Paper presented at the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food (ICAF) conference, Oxford, England, June 2-3, 2005.

Presentations/Lectures

“Food Studies/Policy/Systems Master’s Programs: A Roundtable discussion.” Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference, East Lansing, Mich., June 20, 2013.

“Porta Palazzo: The Anthropology of an Italian Market.” De Bosis Colloquium, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., March 25, 2013.

Terroir is good to think: A humanist approach to the taste of place.” Reign of Terroir in the Humanities: The Ideological Roots of Wine, Brown University Cogut Center for the Humanities, April 5, 2012.

“Urban Agriculture and Civic Engagement.” Panelist, Boston Tree Party documentary film premiere, Boston University Gastronomy Program, Boston, Mass., March 27, 2012. Co-presented with Karuth, N.

“Agriculture urbaine: des perceptions de la nature et des espaces publics.” Université de Montréal, March 15, 2012.

“Taste Memory: Coherence, Tradition & the Politics of Memory in Wine.” American Anthropological Association Meeting, Montréal, Canada, November 16–20, 2011.

“Taste Memory: Coherence, Tradition & the Politics of Memory in Wine.” Boston University Department of Anthropology Working Papers Sessions, Boston, Mass., November 4, 2011.

“Vino Naturale: Tensions between Nature and Technology in the Glass.” Conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, Missoula, Mont., June 9–11, 2011.

“Vino Naturale: Tensions between Nature and Technology in the Glass.” Cuisine, Technology & Development: Conable Conference in International Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y., March 24–26, 2011.

“The Evanescent: Tasting.” Discussant, MIT Sensing the Unseen Seminar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., March 11, 2011.

“Drink or Food? Wine, Social Taboos, and Norms.” American Anthropological Association Meeting, New Orleans, La., November 17, 2010.

“Amaro: A Boozy, Bitter History of Digestivi from the Pharmacy to the Bar.” Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference, Bloomington, Ind., June 2010.