About

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I have an extensive background in food studies.  I’ve been a cook, an advocate for food sustainability and security, and a culinary anthropologist.  After several years as a professor, I am interested in applying my education and food security backgrounds to the non-profit sector.  Ideally I seek work dealing with local food systems or social justice in policy, outreach, grant writing and curriculum development.

I started in the food world as a cook.   During culinary school I worked in Oaxaca, Mexico in food tourism.  Then, I worked in development at The Sustainable Food Center in Austin, Texas and continued to volunteer with that organization through graduate school.

MichealAmber

My dissertation, Consuming the Maya:  An Ethnography of Eating and Being in the Land of the Caste Wars, was an ethnography describing how foodways are becoming important tools in identity manipulation in a Maya village recently impacted by evangelical religions, wage labor, and tourism.

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My current research interests involve researching how processes designed to promote cultural diversity seem to instead constrain individual creative endeavors.  In particular I am focused  on the impacts of UNESCO’s recognition of the indigenous cuisines of Mexico as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” and the re-imagining of authentic “Maya” cuisine by the tourist industry in Quintana Roo and the greater Yucatan peninsula.

My theoretical area of specialization within food studies is rooted in anthropology with a significant background in gender, identity performance, formation of social hierarchies and conversion theory particularly situated within indigenous Mesoamerica.

Interests:

Food Studies/Gastronomy, Mesoamerica, Yucatec Maya, Identity Formation, Religious Conversion, Gender, Social Stratification, Heritage Foodways

Contact Information:

amber (at) aoconnor (dot) org

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