Gastronomy at Boston University

Areas of Expertise

Urban Japan; food studies; travel and tourism; family, elderly and social change in Japan; the cafe and social spaces in Japanese cities

View Professor White’s CV

About Professor White

Merry (“Corky”) White is Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, with specialties in Japanese studies, food, and travel. A caterer prior to entering graduate school, she has written two cookbooks, one of which—first published in the mid-1970s—was recently reissued by Princeton University Press. 

She currently has the following projects in the works:

Completing a study of Japanese food workers and conducting new research on the Japanese whisky industry, including distillery visits, interviews, and participant observation.

“Don’t Tell the Kinder,” a family history of art and rescue in the exhibition, “Try All What is Possible”: How Emil Singer’s Art Saved Lives, 1936-1942.

Professor White was also recently featured in a WNPR podcast about miniaturization called “Audacious Little Things: Elevation by Reduction”.

Selected Publications

  • Book Chapter, “Body, Tool and Technique: Elements of Work in the Japanese Kitchen” in Philosophies of Food, editors, Andrea Borghini and Patrik Engisch, 2021
  • Journal Article, “When Yoshu Whiskey becomes Washu Whisky” in Arena (in Japanese) Fall 2020.
  • Essay, “Always More to Learn: The Contemporary Coffee Scene in Japan” in Standart, Winter 2019-2020.
  • Journal Article, “Assumptions and Distortions: Dore on Equality in Japanese Schooling” in Pacific Affairs, Winter, 2019.
  • Review Essay, “Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan” in Social Science Japan Journal, Summer 2019


  • CAS AN 344/744 Modern Japanese Society
  • CAS AN 308/708 Food in Place: Identity, Location and the Cultures of Taste
  • CAS AN 345/745 Moving Experiences: Cultures of Tourism and Travel
  • CAS AN 505 Women and Social Change in Asia
  • CAS AN 309/709 Boston: An Ethnographic Exploration