Karen Metheny

Senior Lecturer, Gastronomy; Lecturer, Archaeology

PhD, Boston University
MA, BA, College of William and Mary

 Dr. Karen Metheny is a historical archaeologist and anthropologist specializing in food studies scholarship. A lecturer in MET’s Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy program since 2003, her work with the material, documentary, and archaeological evidence of food and foodways serves as the basis for her research. Her interests include the intersection of food and food practices with social institutions and cultural beliefs in past and contemporary cultures, the role of foodways in identity formation, and the application of interdisciplinary approaches to food studies, including the use of food mapping to understand the importance of foodways in the social and cultural life of historical communities. She earned her PhD in Archaeological Studies at BU, and was a research fellow and visiting researcher for the BU Department of Archaeology before her appointment as lecturer in archaeology in 2017.

Dr. Metheny is co-editor, with Dr. Mary Beaudry (College of Arts & Sciences and MET Gastronomy program), of the two-volume Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia (Rowman & Littlefield 2015), the first reference work devoted to the study of food and foodways through archaeology. She is a series co-editor for Archaeology of Food for University of Alabama Press. Metheny has presented her research to both professional and public audiences, including the Jacques Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies and Gastronomy, Plimoth Plantation, the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, the Theoretical Archaeology Group, the Society for Historical Archaeology, and the Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology. Metheny received Metropolitan College’s 2015–16 Chadwick Fellowship for her study of the cultural significance of maize in colonial New England.