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Food Media: Forging Past, Present & Future Connections
Keynote Presentation of the 2023 Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium
In today’s digitally obsessed moment, we sometimes think of food media as only beautiful images of food on Instagram or the latest viral TikTok trend. But food media is much broader than what beckons from our smartphones, and it has a long history. Food media gathers food images, content, ideas, and stories in various forms: cookbooks, food memoirs, newspaper restaurant reviews and criticism, food art, food films and documentaries, cooking television, blogs, dietary advice, food packaging, advertising, and so on. What’s more, food itself is a medium, as it connects humanity. Food opens up novel, meaningful, and sensory ways of communicating with one another and with the natural world around us. In this year’s symposium keynote, join us for a special conversation with Dr. Emily Contois who will be thinking deeply, across time and media forms, about how food and food media connect us, and why that bond is so important now. There will also be ample time for audience Q&A and conversation, which is warmly welcome.
Moderated by Sue Ellen Christian, Professor of Communication at Western Michigan University

Apr 10, 2023 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Emily J.H. Contois
Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Faculty in Residence @University of Tulsa
Emily Contois is a scholar, writer, and teacher whose research explores the connections between food, the body, health, and identities in contemporary U.S. media and popular culture. She is the author of Diners, Dudes and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) and co-editor of Food Instagram: Identity, Influence, and Negotiation (University of Illinois Press, 2022). As an expert on a wide range of food topics, she’s written for NBC News, Jezebel, Culture Study, and Nursing Clio; been on podcasts like Gastropod, Extra Spicy, BBC Food Chain, and Food Psych; and appeared on CBS This Morning, BBC Ideas, and on Ugly Delicious with chef David Chang on Netflix. She holds a PhD and an MA in American Studies from Brown University, as well as an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University and an MPH in Public Health Nutrition from Univ. of California, Berkeley. She's Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa.
Sue Ellen Christian
2021-24 Presidential Innovation Professor in Communication @Western Michigan University
Sue Ellen Christian is the 2021-2024 Presidential Innovation Professor in Communication at Western Michigan University. She is the author of “Overcoming Bias: A Journalist’s Guide to Culture and Context” (2nd edition, 2022) and Everyday Media Literacy: An Analog Guide to Your Digital Life” (2nd edition, 2023). A former award-winning staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Christian is the recipient of many teaching awards, including the 2016 Michigan Professor of the Year. She teaches courses in multimedia journalism and media literacy and news literacy at WMU. She is the creator and curator of the current exhibition at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum entitled “Wonder Media: Ask the Questions!”, a 14-element interactive exhibition at the museum through 2023. Her current project involves converting the exhibition elements to an all-digital format for use in public libraries.