Emily J. H. Contois and Zenia Kish, "Food Instagram: Identity, Influence, and Negotiation" (U Illinois Press, 2022)


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Image by image and hashtag by hashtag, Instagram has redefined the ways we relate to food. Emily J. H. Contois and Zenia Kish edit contributions that explore the massively popular social media platform as a space for self-identification, influence, transformation, and resistance. Artists and journalists join a wide range of scholars to look at food’s connection to Instagram from vantage points as diverse as Hong Kong’s camera-centric foodie culture, the platform’s long history with feminist eateries, and the photography of Australia’s livestock producers. What emerges is a portrait of an arena where people do more than build identities and influence. Users negotiate cultural, social, and economic practices in a place that, for all its democratic potential, reinforces entrenched dynamics of power.

Interdisciplinary in approach and transnational in scope, Food Instagram: Identity, Influence, and Negotiation (U Illinois Press, 2022) offers general readers and experts alike new perspectives on an important social media space and its impact on a fundamental area of our lives. The book has been dubbed by the experts in the field as “a veritable smorgasbord of perspectives on the all-pervasive and all-important nature of food on visual social media” (Tama Leaver, the co-author of Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures) that “shows how the digital app and the kind of food representations it supports contribute to the building identities and negotiating social and economic relationships” (Fabio Parasecoli, author of Bite Me: Food in Popular Culture). It is a path-blazing, inspirational work offering a vast array of theoretical perspectives, methodological tools, and conceptual innovations.

Emily Contois is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tulsa. She holds a PhD in American studies from Brown University along with master's degrees in Gastronomy from Boston University and Public Health Nutrition from University of California, Berkeley. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture (2020). She serves on the board of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, H-Nutrition, and Advertising and Society Quarterly. As a public scholar, she has written for NBC News, Jezebel, and Nursing Clio and has appeared on CBS This Morning, BBC Ideas, and Ugly Delicious on Netflix. Learn more about her work at emilycontois.com or connect on social media (@emilycontois).

Zenia Kish is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tulsa. She earned her PhD in American studies at New York University and was a post- doctoral fellow at Stanford University. Her work explores global digital media, sociotechnical imaginaries of food and agriculture, and philanthrocapitalism and has been published in journals including American Quarterly, Cultural Studies, Journal of Cultural Economy, and Environment and Planning A. She is a member of the Agri-Food Technology Research (AFTeR) Project and is associate editor for the Journal of Cultural Economy, as well as serving on the boards of the Journal of Environmental Media and Communication and Race. She is writing a book on philanthropic media cultures (@ZeniaKish).

Amir Sayadabdi is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

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