J. Warren Nystrom Award

I am honored to be selected as a finalist for the American Association of Geographer’s (AAG) 2022 Nystrom Award!

The award comes from a fund established by former AAG Executive Director J. Warren Nystrom (next time you see a printed map or globe, check out the name) and supports an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent dissertation in geography.

Based on my PhD dissertation, my paper, “Crisis Caring: Re-making New Orleans’ Foodscapes” was presented to the Nystrom Committee and other geographers at the AAG’s recent annual conference.

As part of my process of preparing for the presentation, I gave a practice talk to a group of friends — academics from a wide range of disciplines, colleagues from New Orleans and Grow Dat Youth Farm, and co-facilitators from VISIONS Inc. Their collective feedback was amazing, I took it all on, and it drastically strengthened my presentation. Thanks to all contributing their wisdom, and a huge thanks to Austin Zeiderman of LSE for writing a letter of recommendation in support of the award.

New Orleans’ “restaurant renaissance,” chef humanitarians, and the New Southern food movement

Coverage celebrating the “restaurant renaissance” in New Orleans post-Katrina as reported by Munchies/VICE, The Times-Picayune and The New York Times.

Click here to read the final accepted version of my latest publication in the journal Food, Culture & Society. It is available online now and will be out in print April of 2022.

Abstract: In this paper, we situate New Orleans’ post-Katrina “restaurant renaissance” within a context of historical and contemporary racial and gender inequities. This context provides a space for critical consideration of the celebratory narratives popularly attached to the city’s most prominent chefs and their roles in “rebuilding” New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Our critique focuses on the practice of chef “celanthropy” (celebrity philanthropy) and the contradictions often underlying that practice. While we situate this critique in New Orleans, our analysis is more broadly applicable to what Lily Kelting has described as the “New Southern Food Movement.” This movement relies on contradictory tropes of pastoral utopian pasts and harmonious multicultural futures that elide white male hegemony within the food industry, and southern food’s grounding in colonialism and enslavement.

Over the course of my PhD research I discovered the many joys of co-authoring journal articles. While there are challenges, I truly find that the scale tips strongly to the positive side. This collaboration with Catarina Passidomo, Southern Foodways Alliance Associate Professor of Southern Studies and Anthropology at the University of Mississippi, stemmed from co-presenting together at the American Association of Geographers annual conference. I met Catarina while she was conducting her own PhD field research in New Orleans in the early 2010s, and I’ve loved keeping up with her research and amazing work with the Southern Foodways Alliance ever since.

Marshall Institute Grant Award

The Marshall Institute at the London School of Economics recently awarded research grants and I am happy to selected as an award recipient. The Marshall Institute aims to increase the impact and effectiveness of private action for public benefit through research, teaching and convening. Grants are given to empirical research (qualitative and quantitative) and the theoretical underpinnings (economic, social, political, moral) of private action for public benefit.

Project abstract:
As private funding is increasingly circulating in development and humanitarian aid, this project will identify the sources of knowledge that inform, inspire and produce such interventions. This research examines the substantial philanthropic activity in foodscapes and food systems in New Orleans more than a decade after Hurricane Katrina. Many projects in New Orleans have been funded or spearheaded by high-profile individuals, and this research seeks to understand the role that celebrity plays in processes of knowledge production.

Read more about the award and other recipients.

Interview with New Orleans Public Radio: On celebrity philanthropy in post-Katrina New Orleans

Local NPR affiliate WWNO New Orleans Public Radio asked me to speak with them about celebrity humanitarianism in the decade since Hurricane Katrina. I chatted with the fabulous Jesse Hardman near the eco-friendly homes built by Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation.

The interview starts at about minute 10:15 – click here to listen.

I’m currently continuing to explore the role of celebrities and business leaders in aid and development in my PhD research.

Presentation at #EverydayHumanitarianism: Ethics, Affects and Practices conference

I was honored to be selected to present at the #EverydayHumanitarianism: Ethics, Affects and Practices conference.  The convening was coordinated by the research network on celebrity and North-South relations (see their excellent new book here) and took place on the LSE campus this spring.

Our panel was part of the track on ‘Commodification — The Humanitarian Marketplace’, exploring issues in Philanthropy, Brand Aid, Celebrity Endorsement, Micro-Finance, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).