• AES in Itay
Associate Professor of Sociology



Office: Gerhart House, room 202


I moved to F&M and Lancaster from the faculty of Knox College, where I lived and taught on the high prairie for the first time in my life. My dissertation research looks at US children’s novels, and investigates the possibility that the early children’s book divisions of American publishing companies were making covertly feminist choices.

In 2008 I began a new project in order to (1) extend my interest in cultural production to a globalized context and (2) focus on food products as cultural products. My study, which from the start centered on two specific profit-seeking businesses in Indonesia, initially took two primary lines of inquiry in order to gain insight into the construction of goods and the simultaneous construction of value within markets: one focused on agricultural production, the process by which the foods are grown and distributed; the other focused on cultural production, the process by which the foods are transformed by entrepreneurial firms from simple commodities into high status goods.

From the perspective of cultural sociology, entrepreneurial firms create new meanings and symbolic values on behalf of their products and simultaneously for consumers, who in turn choose from among these values and meanings (and so, statuses) as they shop. Crafted both by Indonesian farmers and global economic arrangements, Indonesian foods exist as pantry staples in Indonesia but are understood as specialty food ingredients in the US. Similar to my dissertation project, which focused on the cultural and economic organizations within which 20th century children’s novels were produced, this project centers on questions about how specialty foods are produced by profit-seeking firms as cultural goods, and how they are then transformed into objects of value by the artisan entrepreneurs who bring them to market.


B.A., Smith College; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Washington


Peer-Reviewed Research Articles:

(2019). The Strategic, Shifting Work of Market Devices: Selective Stories and Oriented Knowledge. Cultural Sociology 13/2: 198-216.

(2018). Rescaling Terroir through Virtual Identity Work and Impression Management. Food, Culture & Society 21/5: 698-715.

(2018). Strategies of Distinction: Aesthetic Materiality and Restrained Discourse. Poetics 67: 26-38. 

(2015). Little Girls on the Prairie and the Possibility of Subversive Reading. Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8/2: 4-20.

(2011). A Novel Approach: The sociology of literature, children’s books, and social inequality. The International Journal of Qualitative Methods 10/4: 307-320.

(2009). When Bad Girls Go Good: Models of the self and reality on Vh1’s Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School. The Journal of Popular Film and Television 37: 34-43. (co-authored with A. M. Holbrook)

Chapters in Edited Volumes:

(2014). The Tension between Gourmet and Everyday: Encouraging consumption while communicating value. In T. Conroy (Ed.), Food and Everyday Life. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

(2009). Democracy for Children?: The social context of American children’s novels, 1930-1950. In R. Browne & L. Kreiser, Jr. (Eds.), Popular Culture Values and the Arts: Essays on Elitism versus Democratization. (125-137). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

(2000). Equity in Heterosexual and Homosexual Intimate Relationships. In D. Vannoy (Ed.), Gender Mosaics: Social Perspectives. (184-193). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company. (co-authored with P. Schwartz)


Courses Taught

100-level Courses:
SOC100: Introduction to Sociology
CNX129: On Blindness and Invisibility 
​CNX191: Con Artists, Frauds, and Plagiarists

300-level Courses:
SOC301: The History of Sociological Theory
SOC355: Cultural Sociology

400-level Courses:
SOC440: The Sociology of Food
SOC471: Intimate Markets