• AES in Itay
Associate Professor of Sociology



Office: Gerhart House, room 202


Having grown up in New England and completed my PhD in Seattle, I moved to F&M from the faculty of Knox College, where I lived and taught on the high prairie for the first time in my life. 

I have spent the past decade studying the production of symbolically and economically valuable cultural goods in the gourmet food industry, and my next major project builds on these interests by exploring the symbolic construction and strategic distribution of human breast milk. This new project also reconnects me with research questions I've had since I undertook my undergraduate Honors project, which explored lesbian women's pregnancy and childbirth choices, identities, and experiences within a range of birth settings and with varying types of maternal care providers across Massachusetts.  It's never too early to start asking sociological questions, since you just never know where those questions might lead!

My previous longitudinal research study—which I am beginning to bring to an end—has centered on two specific profit-seeking businesses in Indonesia in order to gain insight into the construction of goods and value within markets.

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:

(August 2021). Imagining Cultural Wealth: Producer perceptions and potential  value in cultural markets. The American Journal of Cultural Sociology: 1-31.

(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