Research Projects

In addition to my dissertation research, I am currently involved in four research projects with faculty at the University of Toronto. These projects all have intersections with my broad research interests connecting food and domestic work with social inequalities.

Food and Femininity

  • I am currently working on two book chapters with Kate Cairns and Josée Johnston on the topic of food and femininity, one reviewing femininity within ethical consumption entitled “A Kind Diet: Cultivating consumer politics, status, and femininity through ethical eating” (currently in press in The Handbook of Food and Popular Culture), and the another exploring the work of feeding children, entitled “Calibrating Motherhood” (forthcoming in Feeding Children). These papers are based on interview and discursive data on motherhood and feeding. Paper one provides a review of ethical eating debates alongside a reading of Alicia Silverstone’s bestselling book series, The Kind Diet. The second paper shows how mothers work to distance themselves not only from the negative extreme of the uninformed or uncaring “bad mom”, but also the positive extreme of the overly-controlling or anxious “obsessed mom.” We demonstrate how mothers work to stake out territory between the “bad” and the “obsessed” through ongoing practices of calibration: the process of performing socially desirable food femininities by actively distancing oneself from polarized extremes (Cairns and Johnston 2015).
  • I also worked as an RA for Kate Cairns and Josée Johnston in 2014 in support of their book Food and Femininity.

Foodie Culture

  • I conducted interviews in 2013 with foodies who also identify as people of colour, in order to explore the ethno-racial inequalities permeating foodie culture for a practicum research project. An analysis of these interviews showed that the normative framing of foods as “authentic” and “exotic” within foodie culture possesses the potential both to encourage cross-cultural understanding and to essentialize or exacerbate ethno-cultural difference. Participants’ experiences highlighted how cultural capital works alongside ethno-racial inequalities, and reveals the racial tensions within foodies’ attempts to reconcile the democratic and distinctive tendencies encompassed within contemporary foodie culture. This work has been published in Cultural Sociology. It  was also recently featured on the UofT Sociology’s research focus in a series dedicated to highlighting successful publications from the practicum program.
  • I also conducted RA work with Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann in support of publication of the second edition of Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape in 2014.

The Cultural Politics of Meat Consumption

  • I am currently working as an RA for Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann on one component of a larger SSHRC funded research project that seeks to understand the ideas, beliefs and practices around meat consumption in North America. With support from the Peel Social Lab, Josée and I worked with a group of  undergraduate students in a senior Sociology of Culture seminar as they interviewed their friends and family members about their meat consumption or abstention. The Peel Region is of particular interest to us because its residents come from a diverse range of ethnographic-cultural and religious backgrounds. When much of the existing research on meat-eating and vegetarianism focuses on white, middle-class populations, we are interested in exploring the diverse motivations and cultural frameworks for adopting a diet that either includes or avoids meat. This project has offered us important scholarly and pedagogical insights that we hope to turn into one or more research papers in the near future.
  • I acted as a research mentor for students on this project, offering them instruction and feedback on effective interviewing (i.e. constructing an interview schedule, sampling, memoing, transcription, and report writing). In doing so, I produced this Undergraduate Guide for Qualitative Interviewing in Sociology.

Domestic Division of Labour within Families

  • Food work exists as only one piece of a wider arrangement of domestic labour, and I am also involved in research investigating families’ household work more generally. I am currently working as an RA with Blair Wheaton (alongside Co-PI’s Marisa Young and Shirin Montazer) on a SSHRC funded longitudinal, quantitative study entitled, “The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Egalitarian Family Environments: A Follow up Study”. This research investigates how differences between the work and family roles of parents in the 1990s have played out in the lives of their children, now entering mid-adulthood. My specific area of interest in this study is how the food practices of families in the 1990s correspond with the health and social outcomes of their children today.
  • I am also currently working on a publication with Blair Wheaton using cross-national international social survey (ISSP) data on family and gender roles related to, “The Relevance of Women’s Resources on Household Gender Inequality Across Class and National Context”.

 

Past Research:

2011-2012: Community University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families Program; Families First Edmonton. Here I worked under Maria Mayan to support knowledge translation for a community-based research project.

2011-2012: Research Consultant with Resilient Solutions Consulting. In support for a supply chain analysis of: Local Food Supply Chains in Alberta: Case Studies from the Saskatoon, Potato and Lamb Sectors. Final report can be found here.

2010-2011: Community-Based Research Intern at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. This research encompassed developing a proposal to apply social return on investment (SROI) to  EMCN’s Bridges program.

 

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